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Facial recognition and ecotourism will ‘transform’ the travel sector

This is according to Savills’ European Hotels Megatrends report, which revealed how a demand for bespoke experiences is driving tourism innovation.

Facial recognition software will have transformed the hotel industry by 2030, while ecotourism will have become “a way of life”.

This is according to Savills’ European Hotels Megatrends report, which says that shifting demographics and a demand for bespoke experiences will drive innovation in the hotel and tourism sectors.

For business travellers, the report explains, checking in to hotels using facial-recognition technology will become common. And thanks to hotel loyalty programmes storing increasing amounts of information, stays will become more personalised.

This will mean guests being greeted by favourite drink in the mini bar, their favourite film on TV and their preferred lighting level. It’s hoped that such gestures will allow hotels to compete with home-sharing platforms.

Savills also predicted that hotels will “polarise” between online and offline. While most will offer super-fast wi-fi, others will offer a sanctuary to digital detoxers and travellers concerned about privacy.

What most will strive for, however, is eco-friendliness. Hotels – wary that 73% of millennials and Gen Zers are prepared to pay more to travel sustainably – are expected to start generating their own energy, use Fairtrade products and support local communities.

Savills’ European research analyst Alice Marwick said that ecotourism “will be impossible to ignore” by the time it’s become mainstream in little over a decade.

“Those hotels that fail to demonstrate their eco credentials when faced with competitors at a similar price point that do are set to lose out,” she explained. “Given continued growth in social media use, hotels may also need to decide which side of the digital divide they fall on: committing to either providing a fully integrated digital experience or stepping away and offering a reflective, unplugged environment.”

Laura Swain, Stylus’ assistant editor of Food, Beverage & Hospitality, said that by 2030 “guests will expect eco hospitality to be a given and for it to be a seamless extension of their hotel stay, especially at the luxury end of the market. There will also be an appetite for hotels to offer ways in which guests can interact with nature, as this becomes an ever-illusive commodity.”

She added that facial recognition will become a “key” way for hotels to provide a quicker and more efficient check-in process. “This is especially true in the business travel space; however, hotels need to ensure that this doesn’t result in a cold and depersonalised guest experience.”

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