The Impact of Technology and OTAs to the Hospitality Industry

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The importance of technology in tourism and hospitality is at the center of the World Tourism Day (WTD) 2018, providing opportunities for innovation and preparing the sector for the future of work. According to UNWTO’s Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, “harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management, amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda”.

Nairobi Serena Hotel

In line with this, Jumia Travel in a recent Hospitality Report Kenya, engaged the Regional Sales and Marketing Director of Serena Hotels EA Rosemary Mugambi, to understand the impact of technology and online travel agencies (OTAs) to the Hospitality Industry.

 

Jumia Travel (JT): What is the impact of new technologies and OTAs to the hospitality industry in Kenya?

Rosemary Mugambi (RM): The unprecedented rise in the use of technology and advanced Internet of Things (IOT) has had significant impact on how consumers interact with hospitality providers and purchase holidays. In an industry that is now being increasingly driven by memorable experiences, a traveler’s journey starts from the top of the travel cycle of inquiry that is mainly driven by desktop research on the web. This normally doesn’t involve much human interaction unless the consumer is interested in further information- which over time has been owned by the insights from travel sites like Jumia Travel and Expedia.

With websites that allow travelers to make their own booking and payments, human interactions are becoming less and less common and when they take place they are considered valuable. As industry players become more tech savvy, there needs to be a balance between technology and human interaction. It is necessary to keep up with competition and global trends which are stirring creativity and innovativeness, but it is important that the focus of the industry remains all about unrivalled guest experience and this focus is what must drive the technology trends. Creating a more personalized guest experience is an integral part of delivering positive sustainable results. This can be achieved if there’s a right balance between technology delivered service; and the personal touch cannot and must not be taken away.

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