5 pain points for Hospitality and Travel that QA and Testing can heal

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The Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality industry will probably never see much of a lull time when compared to some other prominent industries in the economic sphere. A recent post/report on Hospitality Trends 2019 mentions, ‘According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, global travel makes up 10.4% of global GDP (contributing $8.27 trillion) and has grown 4.6% in 2017. That’s an incredible amount of money being spent on travel.’ In terms of embracing new technology trends and digital platforms, tourism and hospitality sector have been very much on the active mode. However, there are a lot of gaps that the industry is facing while confirming consumer experience as well as engaging users across secure digital platforms.

The report goes on to mention, ‘Since the 2008 recession, hospitality earnings have been steadily growing year over year, with 2017 bringing in $208 billion, nearly $10 billion more than 2016. One cannot overlook the fact that millennials are becoming the demographic with the most purchasing power and that they prioritize spending their money on experiences over objects.’ In this growth scenario and overriding digital exuberance, Software Testing and Quality Assurance will be a key factor to consider and strengthen for harnessing better growth opportunities.

Despite being a pretty old and established industry, the hospitality and travel sector has been more than willing to adopt new technology platforms. Let’s think, can you possibly recollect since how long you have been booking flight tickets and making hotel bookings online? That practically proves the point that the travel and tourism sector has adopted new technology challenges to notch up customer experience.

Incidentally, as per a recent tourism industry report, ‘Projections of the absolute scope of the global tours and activities market are inconclusive, but it likely hovers around $150 billion annually, and is expected to grow nine percent annually over the coming years. Venture capital is flowing into the tours and activities sector, with investors betting on the future of the sector as the next great untapped market in online travel. The business rationale is there; grabbing even one percent of a $150 billion industry would bestow Unicorn status among the many emerging platforms across the industry.’

Technology and the Travel Sector

We can practically club the hospitality and the tourism sector together and likewise determine the changes within this domain. Every new technology and innovation has always been a cherishing factor for the tourism sector, which has been lapped up by the leading and inventive industry players to ‘offer something new’.

A recent news post on business application of AR and VR estimated the growing expanse of the technology, ‘Goldman Sachs estimates the VR and augmented reality (AR) market will reach a staggering $32 billion by 2025. From immersive travelogue experiences to almost-better-than-being-there museum tours, the way VR is changing the world we live in is most tangibly established in sectors like entertainment and leisure.’

A related piece on VR and AR further states, ‘Content for tourism is one of the first categories to really take off in VR, allowing you to experience being there without really going there. VR travel apps can both help you experience a place—or a specific resort, city, museum, hotel or cruise ship before you take the plunge. Or, it can replace actual travel altogether if you’d rather experience a place vicariously.’

Pain points for Hospitality and Travel sector that needs QA support

While all the technology platforms come with a whole bundle of opportunities, what matters is, how can the sector sustain and grow without major crashes or digital mishaps?

Despite all the big games and plans that the tourism industry makes, there are a lot of gaps that need mending. There are multiple threads that converge together to deliver a particular experience to the customer. In this overall game plan even if there is a single glitch, the equation goes for a toss and can result in utmost dissatisfaction and losses.

Deliver End-to-End Experience

Let’s consider that you have booked an international trip via an application that takes care of every aspect of your travel, right from your Visa to the on-ground museum trips. What if the travel partner fails to deliver your Visa even on the day your travel? The worse of all, you are unable to contact your travel partner for emergency assistance while you are on your trip and need some urgent access to your online tickets/bookings to a place.

Hence, the idea is to deliver consistent experience throughout the customer’s travel cycle, which is mainly governed across a digital platform.

Ensuring smoothness in Mobility

Taking a direct cue from the earlier point, the focus has to be on enhancing the experience and delivering services via the mobile platform. In the current scenario, almost 95% of all the travel activities are initiated and managed across the mobile application. As we believe, apps are enhancing and making the overall travelling experience much smoother, right from engaging across google maps, to getting you a cab at your location.

Hence, the focus has to be driven towards ensuring good health of the application – its performance, functionality, accessibility, and security.

Integrating the business processes

Creating an experience cannot be confined to just ensuring a smooth check-in and check-out. It involves constant upselling of services and products. Let’s say you check-in at a 5-star resort, where the room offers much more than the basic facilities. It offers access to spa services, guided tours, gym or fitness centres, and much more that can be left to one’s imagination. While all this is offered under one roof, everything integrates via a technology platform that needs to perform as expected.

Yes, and in more than many ways, that’s a big challenge even for the best in the industry!

Personalization with Socialization

Almost every industry today is struggling with the 2 conceptual ideas of Personalization and Socialization. These points are polls apart, but ensuring their presence in your business proposition is indispensable. Personalized experience comes with services and packages that are customized as per the demographic and preferences of the customers. At the same time, every major or minor player in the industry needs to provide a social vent that enables the customers to share their experiences across social platforms. This is a two-way street, where each party benefits via the social interface.

Creating an experience that is personalized and offering a social vent to share it through the same platform is a challenge that Quality Assurance can ensure.

Offer a Secure interface

Whether it’s about leveraging the Cloud Technology or integrating AI and VR features within the application, or adopting multiple payment gateways. It is highly critical for app developers to offer a secure interface that doesn’t mess up with sensitive customer information. With increasing cybersecurity threats, the importance of Security and Vulnerability assessments will only grow and get trickier by the day.

Going digital and staying upbeat in the digital space has been and will continue to be a challenge for every industry. The tourism and hospitality sector has this humongous responsibility to deliver experiences via diverse modes. Applications and other digital platforms are some key facilitator for delivering these experiences. Quality Assurance, Digital Assurance and Software Testing enable application developers to digitally enable and engage the users.