The use of augmented reality has spread across many sectors in recent years. One of the areas of where this technology can find a potential use is the hospitality industry. Though many hotels and travel operators have started using this technology, there is still a lot to be explored in this sector. The hospitality industry can benefit immensely if they embrace this technology to provide consumers with an intuitive experience. So, entrepreneurs in this industry should start taking advantage of AR technology to give their business an edge over others.
Augmented Reality in Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry is a huge industry comprised of different areas. When it comes to the use of AR in this industry, there are varied areas where it can be used. Let us have a look at some of them.
- AR in Hotels
By using augmented reality in hotels, the experience of the hotel guests can be improved. Hotel owners can have apps which can provide the guests with the direction to their hotel rooms once they check in with the app. Features can also be added which might be able to provide the guests with available room services which they can find out using their mobile devices in the reception area.
Staff communication might be made easier with AR. Currently AR headsets help the military to communicate with each other without actually talking. The same technique can be used in hotels.
- AR in Restaurants
Dining is an important part of the hospitality industry. Diners coming to the restaurants can have an interactive dining experience with AR. They could be able to select from different available themes and customize their tables. AR could also help in translating the language of a menu to the ones that the guests could read easily. A multi-media menu could also provide them with the option to see how a dish would look like. Equipped with an AR app, guests can have the best dining experience.
- AR in Transportation
Transportation is one area where the use of augmented reality has been seen to be more than in hotels or restaurants. With AR, tourists can get the much needed assistance when they are travelling across a new country. With augmented displays, the navigation can be easier for the pedestrians as well as for those who are travelling. Directional arrows and virtual paths can help users to find the right direction to their desired destination through proper AR apps.
In many places, buses have digital displays attached to the back of the seats which can be scanned using an AR app and provide the travelers with interactive content.
Applications in the Hospitality Industry
If your business is in this sector, you can try using this awesome technology so that your guests can have the best experience while staying in your hotel, dining in your restaurant or travelling through any mode of transportation that you own. Here are some ways to use AR to get the best out of your business.
- Augmented Display
If you own a hotel, you can have an augmented display for your guests, from which they can see the amenities available in their room or provide assistance in some other way.
In case of restaurants, you can have an interactive menu which comes alive when diners point their device’s camera at any particular product. 3D pictures of the dishes and drinks can be offered using AR.
For transportation, an interactive map of the area with the destined stations or stoppages can be included, which the tourists can access with an AR app.
Videos are the most interactive content which can be embedded in a Point and Show feature of your AR app. You can add a video showing the testimonials of other guests who have stayed in your hotel. For restaurants, you can provide your customers a video showing the chefs in action or testimonials of other diners. The video can be accessed by the users by pointing their smartphone’s camera on an object which has AR integrated in it.
- Sharing in Social Media
It is even better if you can provide the option of sharing the interactive content to your users in social media sites. The AR experience for the users will be better when social sharing can be done right from the AR app.
- Check-in Information
You can also provide your guests with the option of checking in with your app and once that is done, their friends can learn about their location.
- Promotional Offers
Provide discount coupons or send push notifications which the users of the app can avail by using the app. With menu specials or happy hours in the restaurants, your guests will be more than happy to receive the notifications directly in their smartphones.
Existing Use of AR in Hotel, Restaurants & Transportation
Even though augmented reality is yet to be widely used in the hospitality industry, there are a few hotels and restaurants which have started using this technology to provide their guests an interactive experience that will make their stay even more memorable. Let us have a look at some of the players in this industry which have already started using this technology.
- Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn is claimed to be the world’s fist augmented reality hotel. It was the provider of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and featured a host of top athletes of Britain. The hotel paired up with Aurasma to provide its guests augmented views of athletes in action inside the hotel’s lobby, room and reception desk.
- Marriot Hotels
Marriot Hotels had teamed up with Blippar and published an interactive ad in the Wired magazine. The users of the app could scan the ad and see a video which showcased the innovations of the hotel’s chains.
- Omni Hotels & Resorts
This chain of hotels created an app called Omni Live, which the users could download to see videos showing chefs at work inside the kitchen, virtual tours and customer reviews.
- Inamo Restaurant in London
In Inamo restaurant in London, users can select their table top and customize with augmented reality. They are also able to order items from multimedia menus and see live video-feed from the kitchen.
McDonald’s has used augmented reality in different ways in its various outlets. While there is a McMission Augmented Reality App which lets users play mini puzzle games and win prizes, there is another TrackMyMacca app which lets users in Australia view what’s inside their meal even before opening the meal box.
- Taco Bell
Taco Bell used augmented reality to promote its new product Doritos Locos Tacos. With the AR app, users could scan the Doritos Locos Tacos product box or the soda cups to trigger interactive content.
There are hordes of AR apps when it comes to travel. Here are a few of them:
- Departures Switzerland
This is an AR app for public transport in Switzerland. With the help of an AR browser, users will be able to get information about all the available public transports in the area. Even real-time information will also be supplied to the users.
- Tunnel Vision
This app makes riding through the subway of New York City better. The subway map is used by the app to show interesting data. Starting from real-time positions of trains to intriguing facts about the city, the AR app can provide different types of information to the users.
- First Scotland
The First Scotland AR app makes bus rides interesting for the commuters in Aberdeen. With this app, users can view interactive videos from the digital displays which are attached to the back of the seats. Users will be able to see information about the bus services; they can see theatre trailers and even purchase tickets using the app.
Barriers to the Mass Adoption of AR
There are some obstacles of this technology which is stopping its probable mass adoption in the hospitality industry. The lack of knowledge and development can be a major drawback. AR is still considered to be in its experimental stage. Roaming charges which the users of the app have to bear while accessing the information can also be a problem. There is also a problem for travelers to run out of their battery. This makes them rely on paper-based systems to know about transit locations, timings, and more.
The problem lies between cost and power. Even though augmented reality is available in mobile devices, still to realize the actual potential of this technology, power is required and to obtain that power, high cost is to be borne.
Possible Areas of Improvement
To make augmented reality mainstream, it is necessary to work on its development. Check out some possible areas of improvement.
Currently the AR data that is displayed is done through GPS tracking and shown visually. In the future if there is actual engagement with the surroundings, it will be better. Also, data should not just be limited to urban locations, rural areas should also be brought into considerations as people travel across all types of locations.
- Cluttered Displays
A recurring problem in AR is that of cluttered displays. The reason for the display of information in a jumbled way is unfiltered data. This decreases the legibility. If this area can be worked upon, use of AR will become more useful.
- Design Guidelines for Software Creation
By defining a set of design guidelines for software creation, this technology can improve. This will lead to consistency across all the applications of AR and people can use it more easily. A smooth augmented reality world can be created by merging different software.
Augmented reality has the potential to change the hospitality industry and with its rapid development, the technology will change the way in which businesses are conducted in this sector and will soon become an essential part of this industry.
What do you think?
Do you think augmented reality can make it big in the hospitality industry? Would you like to see more businesses embrace this technology so that they can provide their guests with better service? Share your insights in the comments below.
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