This week the travel industry has been talking about futuristic technology, both in-room and online, the Internet of Things, and next-level personalization through the latest CRM technology. We’ve seen an unprecedented change in all areas of our lives in the past decade, but the travel industry is a particularly interesting case which is not slowing down.

An article in the Irish Times about just how far the travel industry has come in the past decade has inspired this week’s must-reads. We’ve seen Biometric passports, online boarding passes and in-hotel apps, to name but a few – the entire travel experience is almost unrecognizable.

Is it time to start thinking about the technology your guests experience whilst booking and staying at your hotel? Read on for inspiration…

How tech changed travel: no more Rough Guides, maps or keys

There can be few areas in our world that have been transformed by technology to quite the same extent as travel. Medical advances have been significant, of course, and the way we consume content is different today than it was 20 years ago but the travel experience today is virtually unrecognisable from what it once was. We look at those changes and how they have changed how we travel.

How Hilton sees digital today and in the hotel of the future

Imagine walking into a hotel room where your favourite TV shows, air-temperature and other preferences are already in place.

Well, according to Hilton Worldwide, which is beta-testing a smart room where “the room knows you and you know your room” this futuristic-sounding experience could be available in its hotels by next year, along with advancements in in-room entertainment.

But this is just a glimpse of how digital, mobile, analytics and IoT technology is being used in the hospitality sector.

Big Data, AI, and strategic investment in customer experience

New advancements in machine learning have made analysing large sets of customer data easier than ever before. Using this data for segmentation to build a 3-D picture of your customers and offer them more and more personalization in their customer journey, almost always increases conversion rates – so it’s no wonder Big Data and AI have become industry buzz words.

Blurred Lines in the Digital Age making for a better user experience

In travel, consumers gather information, compare prices, validate their decisions, and potentially make 140 site visits before booking. This is a terrible user experience, and it’s ripe for disruption.

Consider Amazon. It is both a commerce player that sells products directly, and a media company that provides paid search results.

Next to all the products it sells are sponsored links and recommendations, many of which take you outside the Amazon ecosystem—a concept unthinkable just a few years ago.

The company is still selling products of course, but that’s now in the context of a comprehensive shopping experience. The goal is to meet user needs at every moment – whether they want to browse, shop or buy.

Amazon is a product search engine and a retailer–it’s a new, hybrid model.

We think hybrid models will win because they focus on user needs, not company DNA.

Kayak sees potential with voice technology-assisted bookings

Reflecting the prevalence and sophistication of artificial-intelligence services, Stamford-based travel firm Kayak has quickly expanded its use of the technology in the past two years. Among its latest innovations, it has launched hotel booking with Amazon devices featuring the voice-activated Alexa assistant.