Going the extra mile: How IoT is changing travel and tourism

Explore how IoT is transforming the way we travel in novel and perhaps unexpected ways.

By Perle Systems
April 26, 2023
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The Internet has given tourists and travelers more resources to make informed choices about accommodation, activities, experiences and transport than ever before. Apps and sites like TripAdvisor, AirBnb and booking.com have all but eliminated the need for travel agencies.

Now, smart sensors and devices are making travel and tourism even more digitized at a breathless pace.  Here are some of the ways the internet of things — the global network of devices connected to the internet and each other — can be utilized in the tourism, travel and hospitality industries:

Accommodation and hospitality

Guests can remotely control the environmental conditions in their room (such as lighting and temperature) via their smart devices before they arrive. Machine learning means these sensors can store information about visitors' preferences and use it to prepare the room if or when they return. Conversely, guests can also turn off lights and thermostats when they're not in the room which can help reduce energy consumption, improving sustainability efforts.

According to Intelligent Transport, sensors placed in hotel shuttles can relay location information to guests who are waiting to be picked up, and hotel operators can use this data to plan more streamlined and efficient commutes.

Many of us have made the switch from physical keys to electronic cards that allow guests to enter their rooms, but IoT means visitors can now use smart devices for that same function, as hospitality.net explains. Guests can also use their phones, tablets or watches to check in online and receive access all without needing to go to a front desk or concierge. This can minimize equipment and staffing costs.

Additionally, hotels can create apps that guests can use to place orders and make bookings or appointments. This tech can be used both ways, as staff can update guests about changes to bookings, orders and available facilities.

card, hotel, booking, card, keyApps accessible via smart devices could eliminate the need for front desks.

Travel and commuting

As the Times of India explains, RFID tags attached to luggage can keep owners updated about their bags' whereabouts. This application has benefits for travel companies that can factor this tech into their travel and bag insurance policies.

Sensors in public bathrooms in train stations, airports, sea ports and bus stations can alert cleaning staff when the facilities need to be spruced up, enhancing travelers' experiences. Travelers can also use their smart devices in conjunction with electronic ticketing and identity verification systems to check-in and board without physical documents. This is incredibly helpful considering how often boarding passes and passports are lost.

Sensors on vehicles can communicate information to connected dashboards so that operators don't need to waste time and energy by physically doing inspections themselves. Consequently, predictive analytics based on that data can allow staff to do predictive maintenance, reducing delays and increasing customer satisfaction.

Ports and stations can create apps that travelers can access via their smart devices to receive information about facilities and flights or rides, thereby decreasing the need for support staff on the ground. Similarly, this same tech can allow operators to locate passengers who haven't yet boarded.

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