AI, virtual reality make inroads in tourism sector

A hotel room automatically adjusting to the tastes of each guest, virtual reality headsets as brochures: the tourism sector is starting to embrace new technologies, hoping to benefit from lucrative personal data. In a prototype of the hotel of the future on display at Madrid’s Fitur tourism fair, receptionists have disappeared and customers are checked-in via a mirror equipped with facial recognition. Once the client is identified, the room adapts itself automatically to all demands made at reservation: temperature, lighting, Picasso or Van Gogh in the digital frames hanging on the walls. “Technology will allow us to know what the client needs before he even knows he wants it,” says Alvaro Carrillo de Albornoz, head of Spain’s Hotel Technology Institute, which promotes innovation in the sector. Tracking guests Some hotels already offer such experiences at a more basic level. But the room prototype put on show by French technology consultancy Altran, aimed at luxury hotels, has incorporated cutting-edge speech recognition technology, allowing for instance a guest to order a pizza in 40 languages. “Even the lock is intelligent — it opens and closes via the WhatsApp application on the client’s phone,” says Carlos Mendez, head of innovation at Altran. The mattress is equipped with sensors and records the movements of those sleeping, which could prompt hotel staff to offer them a coffee when they wake up. Generally speaking, hotels are hoping to use artificial intelligence (AI) to get better knowledge of their clients via personal data provided on reservation or… [Read full story]


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