How Australia’s hospitality industry is using tech to attract tourism

As we move into 2024, hospitality’s use of tech is only going to evolve, especially considering that 76% of respondents in a recent study claimed they would be willing to pay a premium for technology features that are important to them. From sophisticated booking systems to virtual reality experiences, we have an exciting year ahead of us. Let’s take a look at how the hospitality industry in Australia is using tech to attract tourism.

Sustainable tech attracts more tourists

Sustainability is a hot topic in the hospitality industry in Australia, mainly because the hotel industry is responsible for around 1% of global carbon emissions.With society becoming increasingly more eco-aware, the hospitality industry has begun making sustainable changes to align with society’s expectations. One study claims that 72% of travellers across the world believe that sustainable travel is an important matter – and 87.32% believe that sustainable travel is ‘somewhat important’ or ‘very important’ to them personally.

Hotels are now implementing systems equipped with sensors and automation to monitor and optimise energy consumption. This not only reduces operational costs but also significantly contributes to a more eco-conscious image, attracting environmentally-aware guests seeking sustainable accommodation options. Some of the most popular transitions include the installation of solar panels, green roofing, energy-efficient HVAC systems and even simple switches to LED bulbs.

As Australia’s hospitality sector adopts a more eco-friendly approach to tech, it positions itself at the forefront of sustainable tourism. With the demand for sustainable travel and accommodation increasing year-on-year, we’re going to see more of Australia’s hotels and restaurants embrace sustainable tech to drive tourism.

Creating immersive guest experiences with VR and AR

Virtual reality is gaining more popularity across several industries, hospitality being one of them. The benefits of XR for the hospitality industry in Australia include allowing guests to explore rooms and facilities virtually before making a booking. 

These 360 tours allow customers to experience an incredibly realistic depiction of what their stay will be like. This helps them make an informed decision before splashing out on a luxury hotel.

Ultimately, VR can help positively influence a customer’s experience of a hotel before they step foot in it. Whether this is through 360-degree virtual tours or rooms, facilities and restaurants, creating AR apps with real-time translations or even providing VR headsets to fully immerse customers in the guest experience.

The Pullman Brisbane King George Square is among the Australian hotels that have implemented VR to guide potential tourists around their hotel.

Smart rooms are becoming the norm

Smart Rooms are hotel rooms that are equipped with advanced technologies and connected devices to enhance the guest experience. These rooms integrate Internet of Things (IoT) devices and automation to allow guests to control various aspects of their environment using smartphones or other devices.

This includes everything from lighting and temperature controls to entertainment systems like TVs and music. Some Smart Rooms even have voice-activated assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant to elevate the guests’ experience further. Beyond enhancing guest satisfaction, the economic boost is evident, with ABI Research expecting 6.4 million smart hotel room devices to ship worldwide. That’s double the 3.2 million smart hotel room devices that shipped in 2022.

Online Booking and Reservation Systems

Yes, online booking systems have been around for a while now. However, it’s safe to say that they have completely revolutionised the hospitality industry. Almost all of Australia’s top hotels and restaurants, including The Capitol Hotel Sydney and Saffire Freycinet, use online booking and reservation systems to make their customers’ lives easier. 

The convenience of mobile room key access, QR code ordering, and seamless check-in/out experiences not only makes the customers’ experiences better but also highlights how the industry is making an active effort to make the booking experience easier and more accessible for everyone.

While this may not sound like the most lavish appeal for tourists, never underestimate the benefits that come with an easy booking system – it gets you closer to your holiday, faster. Accessible tech goes a long way when it comes to securing tech-savvy tourists.

AI and machine learning makes everything easier

AI and machine learning are slowly being introduced into the hospitality industry in Australia for travel data collection and analysis. AI-powered management systems are helping hotels to understand their target audiences better. From here, hotels can predict and deliver the right services to their customers through the following data:

  • Metadata: AI platforms analyse things like location, what device they’re using, session duration and user behaviour to discern patterns and preferences. Hotels can use these metrics to tailor their offerings and promotions to their audience’s needs and interests. 
  • Behavioural data: collecting information like previous bookings, search enquiries (SEO) and email subscriptions. Using behavioural data, the hospitality industry can offer personalised experiences by anticipating guest preferences, optimising online presence through SEO strategies, and delivering targeted promotions based on email subscriptions. This data-driven approach enhances customer satisfaction to ensure every guest enjoys a unique and memorable stay.
  • Social media data: analysing customer feedback, photos, and Reels engagement metrics and comments. From here, businesses gain valuable insights into customer sentiments, preferences, and trends, enabling them to refine marketing strategies, enhance customer interactions, and cultivate a more authentic online presence.

Tourists are seeking out wellness and wellbeing facilities

With there being such a strong focus on wellness and mental health in recent years, the hospitality industry is responding by offering wellness-based solutions to provide the best possible guest experiences. According to a recent Hilton report, 50% of travellers would like to address their physical or mental wellness while travelling. Hotels that provide spa and massage sessions, yoga classes, gym facilities and meditation classes will likely be selected over those that don’t.

It is primarily Millennials and Gen Zs that are looking for trips that focus on building personal wellness, with much of their inspiration coming from social media platforms (mainly TikTok and Instagram).

We’ve likely all scrolled past someone promoting a spa, yoga or massage service at some point on social media, and it’s influencers who are driving this trend. Plus, with the influencer market value increasing year on year, we’ll likely see more hotels adopting them into their marketing strategies.

Brands like Hyde Hacienda Sydney have been using influencer marketing to promote their facilities and amenities for a while now, and it’s only a matter of time before others follow suit.

As tourists begin to look for more tech-savvy and ultimately more rewarding experiences, the hospitality industry needs to keep up with their evolving expectations. Investing in technology that will enhance their experience is crucial to achieve this and remain one step ah ead of the competition. Additionally, with the hospitality industry slowly shifting to more sustainable practices, they may enjoy an increase in eco-conscious tourists looking for more sustainable ways to relax and unwind.

Want to know where to head next on your adventures next year? Take a look at our top travel trends for this year.