iBeacon technology has witnessed adoption across diverse domains, from retail to education to museums, over the past few years. Although the retail industry has been the frontrunner in deploying beacon projects, the tourism industry has also seen significant transformation by leveraging beacons.
Why are beacons of great value in tourism?
Given the hyper-local and contextual capabilities of beacons, they are of immense value to both travellers as well as players in the tourism industry. Over 70% of the global population today use mobile phones and these gadgets can prove to be very nifty while travelling. Given the proliferation of mobile phones, wearables and the power of beacons, travellers can now discover a host of experiences while they travel – from easier airport navigation to discovering a new city through access to rich digital content on their mobile phones to personalised hotel experiences. Beacons are also of great value to players in the tourism and hospitality industry; beacons with their ability to source customer data around physical locations, activities, time and personal interests, provide a huge window of opportunity to target customers with personalized and contextual experiences in order to ensure business success. For example, given the data collected, restaurants and hotels can use beacons to regain any lost revenue by filling unbooked appointments simply by alerting nearby travelers of deals and offers.
How beacons enhance experiences at airports, hotels and travel discovery
Beacons provide a gateway to ensure a smooth transition for air travellers, right from check-in and airport navigation at the port of departure to the actual travel and collection of baggage at the port of arrival.
Aviation technology firm SITA, reports in its Airline IT Trends Survey, that 44% of airlines will leverage iBeacon technology to improve their services and connections with customers by 2018.
Although the most common beacon use cases today include flight notifications and gate updates, many airports are already using beacons to deliver richer experiences around estimated time to gate, duty free promotions and navigation maps.
Recently, the GVK Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai, launched a new app that includes a number of advanced features like augmented reality and beacons to help simplify the passenger experience. By selecting their flight on the app, passengers can opt in to receive push notifications on their specific flight. CSIA also plans to continue developing the app, to include other services like taxi booking and a virtual walk-through feature, which will allow passengers to experience various sections of the airport on their smartphone.
Hotels & Hospitality
Beacons help provide highly personalised and intelligent services to customers, without adding to the cost of hiring and training new staff.
A host of valuable functions can be powered by beacons, from greeting the guests while they enter the property and communicating route maps to key-less entry and loyalty programs. In addition, through the beacon enabled app, customers can key in their individual preferences and feedback, which will immensely help the hotel in maintaining superior guest relations.
Apart from the most common use cases of beacons in airports and hotels, beacons are also transforming entire cities into attractive tourist destinations. For example, tourists can be alerted about information on the history of the place, transportation schedules, weather updates and public services in multiple languages, and at relevant times during the day.
For example, The DTJax app is designed to offer more information about businesses including restaurants and shops in Jacksonville; The app helps users explore and experience downtown Jacksonville on a whole new, interactive level.
Innovative Beacon Projects in Travel and Tourism
1. Atlantis in Dubai uses beacons to deliver an interactive and personalised guest experience
Atlantis, a luxury resort in Dubai is using advanced technologies like beacons and virtual reality to improve guest experience and enhance its branding.
Atlantis has placed electronic beacons throughout the property that interact with guests as they cross particular points.
In addition, at the Lost Chambers Aquarium within the resort, they have designed a fun and educational mobile explorer game that utilizes iBeacon technology to communicate with guests based on their location within the aquarium. The app allows the hotel to highlight hidden gems throughout the aquarium that may be overlooked.
2. Changi Airport at Singapore leverages beacons to make travel easier
Changi airport in Singapore has installed ground sensors and beacons that will allow the airport to keep travellers informed (via their mobile phones and other personal gadgets) of the travel time to an aircraft gate, waiting time for boarding and other important information. The app is also used to relay information to passengers in different languages.
3. Corethree uses beacons in Netherlands to build an integrated, smart city travel solution
Corethree, a noted technology player in mobile ticketing, recently launched its first beacon- enabled travel app. The app has been specially designed for Syntus – a leading Dutch transport operator.
Corethree’s m-ticket provides a superior experience to its customers by linking their journeys with local offers and promotions based on proximity. Around 3000 beacons have been installed all across the Netherlands, making it one of the most massive integrated travel solutions in Europe to date.
The app also provides additional loyalty reward points to customers who use their m-ticket during peak times.
4. Queensland installs beacons across 13 destinations to attract tourists
Tourism and Events, Queensland has rolled out Australia’s largest tourism network of beacons across the state in a landmark digital tourism initiative to encourage tourists to explore Queensland. About 150 beacons have been installed across Queensland’s 13 tourism destinations at airports, visitor information centres, national parks and other popular tourism attractions.
The beacons will automatically deliver users of the ‘This is Queensland app’ with information about the top things to see and do in any area. The beacons will also be used at major events, to alert attendees on information about the event and destination.
Beacons deliver wholesome travel experiences by integrating the fun, information and functional elements of travel. The tourism industry today is starting to recognize and harness the potential of iBeacon technology and how it opens a gateway to further personalize and enhance the travel experience. However, a key aspect that players in the industry should note is to solve real customer pain points by focusing on relevant solutions and creating a compelling reason for users to download their app.
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