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Redefine Customer Experience by Embracing Digital First Models

Brands that prioritize experience tend to outperform their competitors by achieving benefits such as improved brand preference, increased revenue growth, and high customer retention rates.
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In this digital economy, travelers’ expectations from travel & tourism brands have made a paradigm shift. They expect a seamless, intuitive, and hyper-personalized experience at every step of their travel journey. Travel brands are geared up for this shift and are formulating more personalized services that provide value-driven experiences. A study by PwC revealed that 1 in 3 customers would switch from a brand they were previously loyal to after just one unsatisfactory encounter, indicating the importance of delivering exceptional customer experience. [1]

Brands that prioritize experience tend to outperform their competitors by achieving benefits such as improved brand preference, increased revenue growth, and high customer retention rates. In an era of hyper-personalization, providing a positive experience for travelers has become critical.

Constructing Meaningful Experiences that Matter

Based on their persona, each traveler is unique. From a business traveler to a laid-back traveler, a family with children to a single mother, all want to create precious memories while enjoying a much-needed break.

According to a recent analysis, the global Smart Hospitality market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 29.8% and reach $49.8 billion by 2027. The hospitality service providers may streamline the experience at every touch point, from the time a hotel is booked until check-out and the return home.

Robotics, networking, and analytics are digital technologies that can create an experience-driven and customer-focused ecosystem. From virtual assistants to digital keys, robotic concierges to self-check-in kiosks, from sensors-enabled HVAC Control to cloud-based digital menu apps are some of the use cases already in use globally.   

The Foundational Elements of a Guest Experience

Quality, convenience, sustainability, and speed.

To achieve exceptional experiences, each of the above dimensions must be addressed, including reliability, performance, security, and robustness. When investing in technologies and developing use cases, it is important to consider how they fit into these elements to justify their implementation.

These technologies provide the foundation for delivering a successful and customized guest experience, from mobile-friendly websites, apps, and contactless check-ins to virtual concierge services, Wi-Fi-equipped coffee makers, and even biometric bathroom tiles.

For example, contactless access to rooms through app-based keys or RFID sensors provides convenience and speed while using sustainable and cost-efficient technology. Automated check-in and check-out processes through kiosks or robots offer similar benefits and enhance safety for guests.

Smart Foundation for Smart Hospitality

Smart hotels are built on the premise of advanced digital technologies such as RPA, AI, robotics, big data, IoT, cloud, AR/VR, big data, and analytics.

Smart Connectivity: IoT devices can create a connected ecosystem within a hotel, allowing guests to control their room's ambiance and increasing the ability to anticipate and address technical issues through continuous monitoring and timely alerts.

Smart in-room Assistance: AI chatbots and robot concierges offer guests a Goldilocks experience by providing a wide range of services and conveniences. Guests can schedule wake-up calls, order room service, control IoT devices, hail cabs, report Wi-Fi zones, and more, all from the convenience of their smartphones. Voice commands can also be used to control various aspects of the room, such as the thermostat, drapes, television, and lights.

Smart Personalization: The combination of AI, cloud, and IoT can enable hotels to provide customized experiences for their guests by tracking their past preferences and behaviors. This allows for tailored room settings and personalized assistance through digital concierges. Interactive maps can also provide real-time information on events, places of interest, restaurants, and reviews.

Smart Utility Management:  AI-led IoT devices can monitor utility consumption, optimizing availability based on occupancy and usage. Hotels are implementing UVC light and virus-killing robots for increased disinfection capabilities to address safety and cleanliness concerns. Contactless payment and access control technologies also address high-touch surface concerns, such as elevator buttons and room keys.

Smart Demand Management:  Hotels can use AI and big data analytics to derive predictive insights related to trends, seasonal factors, and demand fluctuations. By proactively monitoring market demand signals, hotels can optimize the distribution of resources and pricing.

Though these technologies help deliver an incredible guest experience, they have their downsides. Without overcoming these challenges, it would be difficult for enterprises to create an outstanding customer experience.

Challenges Faced by the Travel & Hospitality Industry in Delivering Unique Customer Experience

Lack of Pre-travel Communications in the Service Design: As passengers are used to hassle-free travel, they may not be aware of additional procedures at airports such as health screenings and wearing masks, leading to violent confrontations with staff and disturbing the travel experience of others, along with potential fines and public outrage.

Data Breaches: Sensitive customer data, such as names, addresses, and credit card details, is processed in large quantities by the hospitality industry, making it a prime target for cybercriminals seeking to carry out identity theft and credit card fraud.

Fraud Detection: The travel and hospitality industry is particularly susceptible to payment fraud. Scammers often use stolen credit cards to book accommodations or claim the card as stolen and request a chargeback.


Digitalization is transforming the Travel & Hospitality sector, providing growth opportunities through digital innovations. Hotels need to enhance guest experiences through technology to maintain this growth. Enterprises can expect great enhancements in operational efficiencies, optimized pricing options, and a better grasp of in-depth customer insights in delivering the overall customer experience to the next level.




Kiran Kuchimanchi is President, Cigniti Technologies, and heads the Digital Engineering Services group. Kiran is responsible for the company’s digital and technology teams that power its customers’ digital transformation initiatives and long-term growth.

Prior to joining Cigniti, Kiran was the Founder / CEO of RoundSqr, a Data and ML focused company, where he established operations across the globe and drove rapid growth over 4 years. Kiran began his career 25 years ago with a mid-sized software services company where he was responsible for Global Delivery, with a team of over 4000 people. He created a highly engaged team, with utilization over 90%, attrition below 4% and a high client NPS. He was also instrumental in creating the digital strategy, setting up a digital practice, establishing the culture/buzz, and generating revenue.



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