hospitality, retail

The hospitality industry is dipping into the new technology pool. According to analysis conducted by Adobe Digital Insights, hotels and other travel services have benefited from deploying artificial and virtual reality technologies to supplement their endeavors — and retailers stand to gain valuable lessons from the strategies.

To collect the findings, Adobe reviewed more than 16 billion web sites for U.S. travel including airlines, hotels, car rentals, cruises and online bookings between 2015-17. More than 2,000 consumers were surveyed over a four-day period in February. Participants ranged between the ages of 18 and 55 with about half of the survey participants falling into the Millennial demographic.

Adobe found that at least eight of the top hotel chains have deployed some type of virtual reality experience over the last six months. This very well might be in reaction to consumer demands — according to the report detailing the results, social mentions regarding travel and AR/VR experiences increased 13 percent year-on-year.

The research found that most of the social chatter surrounded programs that synced with users’ mobile devices. The report specifically called out Princess Cruises Ocean Medallion launch — a wearable device that travelers’ sport for the duration of the trip to cater to their preferences and promote activities that are most in line their interests. The wearable empowers travelers to use the device to purchase items, interact with immersive gaming and entertainment options, locate friends, share dining preferences and have a streamlined check-in and out process.

Retailers looking to improve omnichannel experiences, especially within physical store locations can take a cue from the cruise lines’ new strategy. While shoppers don’t have customized wearables for each retailer, they do have a smartphone most likely.

Brands that share information of former purchases and product research history on platforms available to sales associates stand to bolster loyalty and increase profits. What’s more, basic push notifications and “products you might like” recommendations play to familiar shopper vocabulary. Deploying technology that provides intuitive and authentic experiences that alleviate friction in the shopper experience will improve digital and foot traffic.

Brands might do well to consider alternative methods of connecting with consumers. By examining consumers’ habits and preferences that might fall outside the scope of traditional shopping, retailers are better versed in the holistic person. Debuting a new activewear collection and have shoppers that regularly frequent the category online? Think about notifications that go beyond the status quo update and provide expert workout tips. Organic content that’s in line with the brands’ identity and that addresses the full spectrum of a shoppers’ interests will prevail during the challenging climate.

More from WWD:

Study: Retailers Failing to Meet Consumer Expectations

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