Here are 11 thoughts about technology in travel and hospitality, as observed through interactions, conversations, and presentations from around the buzzy CES circus.
The future of mobility is connected. That’s without a doubt. And travel has a role to play in this expanded definition of what it means to move from point A to B. Dara Khosrowshahi didn’t leave Expedia for an average challenge — travel is about movement, and the industry must consider how mobility plays into its core value proposition. The reality of autonomous cars, helicopters, and small planes is an existential threat to an airline’s business.
Hotels are complex beasts, and so it’s no surprise that we’ve reached critical mass when it comes to connected operations. A smart building can be run more efficiently, reducing overhead and maintenance costs. Two companies launched smart water gadgets this year, demonstrating how intelligent connectivity is truly going to shift the way hotels build and operate their assets.
One of the most prominent features was a bevy of big brands showcasing their tech-oriented new products. Moen, Schlage, and D-Link, among others, were all exhibiting tech-oriented products outside of their typical known product line. There are already so many choices when it comes to connected devices — these brands have an uphill battle to be seen as tech-forward.
VR is not quite ready for mainstream.
There seem to be two categories of bots at the moment: companion bots and task bots. The companion bot category is actually quite entertaining, and has developed rapidly over the past year. These are robots that might greet guests with a tune while they check in, or snap a photo of an event happening around property. These bots exist to entertain and act as an additional personality.
This was my first time seeing smart luggage in action — no, not the now-ubiquitous smart luggage that will charge your phone, but the new smart luggage that follows its owner. It has sensors in it so that it can avoid people and know where it’s owner is at all times. It just follows along, like a little sentient travel storage companion.
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