Smart hotels to serve ‘augmented hospitality’ to tourists
Engin Esen – ISTANBUL
The newly emerging “smart tourism” pledges to increase the quality of tourists’ experience with the destination, a Turkish expert has pointed out, while a hotel giant has already planned to pour 475 million euros into this area.
Maud Bailly, chief digital officer of Accor Hotels, briefed a group of journalists in Istanbul on April 15 about the chain’s shift towards “augmented hospitality” service.
“We have made an investment of 250 million euros in the digital transformation of our hotels’ infrastructure,” she told Hürriyet Daily News on April 17 via email.
“We have allocated an additional investment budget of 225 million euros for digital transformation,” she added.
In a bid to “bring augmented hospitality to life,” Accor has started to shift its loyalty program into a fully integrated global platform. This new lifestyle loyalty program will recognize, understand, cherish, communicate with and reward guests, opening doors across 30 hotel brands as well as a collection of bars, restaurants and nightclubs, according to Bailly’s remarks.
As part of the program, Accor and Paris Saint-Germain Football Cub have signed a multi-year partnership agreement.
Through its data collection program, Accor Customer Digital Card, the chain also plans to offer a personalized service to its customers in 4,800 hotels in 100 countries.
Accor reported its revenues in 2018 as 3.6 billion euros with an annual increase of 17 percent. Its net profit group share was recorded as 2.2 billion euros in the same period.
Smart tourism includes experiences which enable tourists to communicate and interact more during their trip, Mustafa Siyahhan, an instructor at Bilkent University, has said.
“A smart tourism destination can be defined as an innovative tourism destination based on an extremely developed technological infrastructure,” he was quoted by Anadolu Agency as saying in a seminar on April 18.
At these sites, the quality of tourists’ experience with the destination will be increased, according to Siyahhan.
Giving an example, Siyahhan said active tourists share their photos on Instagram by using hashtags of the destinations they visited.
Tourists can also use the information about the destinations which they obtained from their smart devices, he added.
In this context, an active tourist is not only the user of the information but also the producer, interpreter and the supporter of the knowledge, he said.