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Tech-empowered Travel could be the 'next big thing' for Maldives tourism

Mohamed Rehan
29 November 2021, MVT 16:18
A billboard to promote Maldivian tourism in China
Mohamed Rehan
29 November 2021, MVT 16:18

Earlier, discussions were made regarding the popularity of Digital Nomad Tourism and what it truly meant. The central idea behind the concept revolved around technology driven ease providing people to work remotely, so when someone says 'Tech-Empowered Travel' there may be some room for confusion to mix the two.

However, this cannot be further from the truth. Tech-Empowered Travel is associated with, as the name suggests technology. To put it simply, in our digitally evolving world, smartphone applications have become so refined and robust in their features that some of these applications have ventured into brave territories such as real-time tracking of your courier package or calculating the number of steps one talks throughout the day.

Similarly, technology has integrated itself into the travel and tourism industry with innovative products that allow its users to easily book for tourist hotels or other accommodations at the push of a button. Not to mention people are now able to book for resorts, get flight tickets and plan out an entire vacation itinerary through their smartphones with the aid of sophisticated and smart software.

Meanwhile the Covid-19 pandemic forced technological companies and similar firms to put "all hands on deck" to maneuver around the predicament and provide solutions for the consumers that would help them at a time when several aspects of our livelihoods were limited. This resulted in the birth smarter smartphone as well as desktop applications for various needs – one such area of focus was the travel and tourism field. As such a few areas that have observed improvement amid the pandemic and post 2020 include mobile applications providing on-trip notifications and alerts, which is expected to grow in popularity by 44% come 2022.

Other major areas include self-service check-in options at hotels, cutting out physical interaction with hotel personnel – which is expected to increase in popularity by 41%. Another area that has gained popularity is the contactless payment options since the pandemic-laden restrictions resulted in people limiting their cash withdrawals from ATMs.

This means that tourist resorts, hotels or other similar hospitality properties that offer seamless and contactless payment options will be the quintessential go-to venues for travelers who are still keeping a foot back when it comes to using cash or card-machines for payments and transactions.

Contactless payment implies digital transactions or online payment methods, and if the 'currency' used is virtual to begin with, then it may result in further increasing the consumer base among travelers. Meaning the integration of cryptocurrencies as payment methods is another tech-empowered travel move that would attract younger travelers – specifically those in the trading and financing fields related to these virtual online currencies.

Meanwhile, two high-profile Maldivian tourist properties had earlier in 2021 announced on their decision to integrate cryptocurrency as eligible payment methods – namely the Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and the SAii Lagoon Maldives.

Automation is going to be the next phase of the travel industry so, tourist resorts that accordingly will stand a greater chance of attracting tech-savvy travelers who have long forgotten conventional traveling methods and approaches.

This could very well mean that the pantheon of Maldivian tourist properties could excel magnificently, should they invest into policies that promote technological advancements into their respective properties. Among some of the potential areas that these properties could look into is direct and easy booking via home websites, and direct affiliation with airlines to smoothen the overall hotel reservation experience.

A lot of local properties could also explore the potentiality in incorporating smart check-in devices that will present faster access and information about the hotels guests are checking into, thereby cutting down on the welcome tour time. Moreover, the tech-savvy alternatives will also enhance safety for guests while checking in since they do not have to present themselves directly to the reception counter – and amid the still prevailing pandemic, this could be handy.

The bottom line is, tech-empowered travel is going to shape up or even entirely transform the travel and tourism industry on a more holistic fashion. So, the tourism industry stakeholders; specifically, hospitality groups and hoteliers, should consider using the opportunity to stay ahead.

Maldives tourism industry has always welcomed positive changes that have been prevalent elsewhere in the world, and keeping up with the technologically advancing society-at-large means solidified sustainability for the country's strongest economic sector.

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