In the age of disruptive business models and constant competition, the travel and hospitality industry, like most industries, needs to deliver services in real-time. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a significant shift in the industry with a greater demand for competitive pricing to prevent loss of market share, targeted marketing to build loyalty, optimizing company staff, real-time inventory tracking, all of which require real-time data analysis. Companies must reinvent themselves into agile, connected travel platforms that go beyond the realms of smart phones and other wearable devices. 

Technology advances can enable highly personalized user experiences across a host of devices. For instance, form factors would not be limited to AR/VR glasses alone but extend to other wearables like contact lenses as well. Hearing devices could cater to selective hearing or provide real-time translation. However, these personalized experiences will further increase the need for heavy data management and processing as well as requirements for improved data privacy and security.

Meanwhile, customer preferences for better sanitary facilities, improved travel insurance coverage on trip cancellations, medical coverage, health checks and screening, touchless payments, etc. have also increased pressure on the industry.

Driving change to anticipate your needs

The travel and hospitality industry has risen to these concerns and opportunities in a revolutionary way, with cloud at the center. Here are a few purpose-built solutions targeted to anticipate customer needs.

Personalizing experiences  

Processing data at scale and generating predictive insights can help deliver highly personalized experiences to surprise and delight customers. Towards this, cloud partners like AWS use a comprehensive range of AI/ML services coupled with targeted communications, marketing campaigns, and tailored recommendations across a variety of channels, to deepen brand loyalty.

For instance, McDonald’s says it has enabled a faster, easier, and more rewarding drive-through experience using AWS technology. 

Staying connected 

An IOT suite of products can help achieve seamless connected experiences across a host of devices. Computer-vision technology that analyzes images and videos, aids in identity verification and surveillance during travel. AI-enabled chatbots with natural-sounding human speech capabilities, engage with customers to manage bookings, field inquiries, collect feedback, and deliver 24×7 automated assistance. AWS provides customers omnichannel engagement, over scalable cloud solutions with reliable and personalized customer service.

For instance, Priceline, a leading online travel company, states that it has optimized customer service during 3x call volume increase.

Optimizing operations and IT 

The airline industry uses forecasting for crew scheduling, fleet, and equipment management. Similarly, hotels predict guest inflow, make inventory adjustments, and release dynamic pricing offers. With real-time streaming and data processing capabilities, apps can be built to analyze video streams and live feeds from IOT devices. These detect fraud, which improves security and operational efficiency. AWS’ forecasting capabilities also provide actionable intelligence, based on ML, to help companies meet upcoming demands. It reduces IT costs by offering access to unused compute capacity at discounted prices and providing serverless technologies with pay-for-use billing model. 

For instance, Domino’s Pizza says it has increased the speed of its service delivery by using AWS for predictive ordering.

Reducing carbon footprint

Hotels use smart IOT sensors and automated systems for facility management, energy management, predictive equipment maintenance, and water metering. AWS brings together AI, ML, and IOT devices to make travel more sustainable. By monitoring fuel consumption, AWS provides recommendations that can be used to reduce emissions. Route optimization using AI/ML models reduces flight lengths and therefore fuel use.

For instance, Qantas Airlines cloud-based flight simulator helps to save millions of dollars in fuel costs each year.

The travel and hospitality industry has witnessed a massive slowdown due to the Covid-19 crisis. However, the cloud has presented effective ways to swiftly innovate, deliver personalized connected experiences, improve security, and contribute to a greener environment.

Author Bio



Ujjal Sircar is a technology leader within the Travel Transportation & Hospitality unit at TCS. Ujjal and his team helps enterprises build their digital transformation roadmap to enhance customer experience, increase operational efficiency, and enable digital growth. He along with his team have built solutions primarily for the Travel & Hospitality industry that enable enterprises to remain viable through agility and innovation. In his 20+ years of progressive IT career, Ujjal has assumed various responsibilities which include technology consulting, delivery direction, program management, and agile coaching. He is a distinguished Contextual Master in TCS and has a successful track record of working with leading enterprises spanning domains like Travel, Manufacturing, Life Sciences, and Human Resources.

To learn more, visit us here

Cloud Computing

Imagine booking a room at a small, charming, off-the-beaten-path hotel on the Hawaiian island of Kauai using a popular mobile travel app, only to discover that the room is… haunted!  That’s what happened to my friend Dana. As Dana told it, she went to bed at midnight after a long travel day. But that didn’t go as planned. She struggled to sleep. Then, at 3 A.M., Dana claims she saw a pale, vaporous head of an older fellow floating above her bed, mouthing words she could not hear. (Believe me, Dana’s rather unique customer adventure is worth a blog all its own.)

I haven’t had the chance to travel all that much lately, but when I get back to it, I sure hope I don’t experience what Dana went through. In fact, I’d want to know in advance things about where I am staying that may be a bit off center, like, is the place haunted? 

Wouldn’t it be practical, then, if your favorite travel app can not only give a “your hotel may be haunted” notification, but also provide a bit of history behind the why – without you having to hunt for some random Top Ten blog or Tik Tok video that may not even include your particular hotel?

Does such a travel app exist? Nope, not at the moment.

And yet, perhaps there IS a ghost of a chance that this kind of app will be materializing soon.

When that happens, the reveal could be at the SAP Innovation Awards!  Even now, an SAP customer or partner could be developing such a tool. If so, I can’t wait for this app to be celebrated at a future Innovation Awards show. Honestly, think of how much fun that would be!

In keeping with the Halloween spirit

This is Halloween after all, so indulge me as I share stories about a couple of my hometown hotels with their own unique haunted histories – information not found on any travel app that I’m aware of.

Room 33

In San Francisco’s North Beach district, there exists a small, quaint hotel that was built amidst the ruins of the 1906 earthquake by Bank of America founder A.P. Giannini. It’s one that I used to walk past every day when I worked in the area. Today, it’s a popular place to stay for budget-minded travelers who want to enjoy the neighborhood’s Italian restaurants near Fisherman’s Wharf.

But what is not commonly known is that this family-owned hotel once thrived as a busy brothel during the City’s wild Barbary Coast days. Its former madam, famous for her boisterous larger-than-life personality, still roams the halls of her former establishment, knocking on doors with Room 33 being her favorite haunt. But she’s not alone. A sad little ghost girl has occasionally been seen in the hallways — always reaching for the doorknob of one room in particular. Reason? Unknown.

Room 207

If you’re into classic art deco décor but demand all the comforts of a modern hotel, then there’s a century-old hotel off Union Square that is right for you. But, be warned. Room 207 is where you might encounter one hotel guest who doesn’t want to leave — even though she has long since departed this mortal plain. Reports of doors mysteriously opening and closing, and small objects appearing or disappearing have been ongoing for years. It is thought that the disruptive spirit haunting the room is that of famous playwright Lillian Hellman, who had regular liaisons there in the 1920s with writer Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon. Perhaps the ghost of Miss Hellman is still searching for the elusive jewel-encrusted blackbird, much like Brigid O’Shaughnessy, the fictional femme fatale from the book written by her lover — which, coincidentally, was set in San Francisco.

Across the Fairmont

Arguably, San Francisco’s most famous ghost concerns one Flora Sommerton, a comely 18-year-old debutante who disappeared in 1876. Legend has it that she ran away to escape a pre-arranged marriage to a rich but much older gentleman. So she bailed from her grand engagement party, held at her home across the street from the historic Fairmont Hotel, and was never seen again. That is, until 50 years later. In 1926, the withered body of an old woman was discovered in a cheap hotel room in Butte, Montana — reportedly wearing the same 19th century white ball gown and jewelry that Flora fled in. There were old, brittle newspaper clippings of Flora’s disappearance pinned to the walls of the small, dank flophouse room. It was her. Flora had finally been found. Her body was brought back to San Francisco where she was buried in the family plot. But Flora’s story does not end there. Today, as you approach the Fairmont Hotel on any given sunny afternoon, keep an eye out for what many people have seen throughout the years: the ghostly figure of fair, young Flora, parasol in hand, quickly walking down California Street, then vanishing as she rounds the corner to where her home once stood — and always in that flowing, white, ballroom gown.

There are many more stories to be had about haunted hotels and their spooky history here in the San Francisco Bay Area. And in your city, too, no doubt. But I will have to wait patiently for some future travel app to clue me in on which ones. Maybe I will get my wish at the upcoming 10th Anniversary SAP Innovation Awards 2023, spirits willing.

Happy Halloween!

Mari Kure

Devops, Software Development

The last thing consumers need when they’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from home is to be the victim of payment fraud. With a travel resurgence already well under way, it’s essential for industry organizations to ensure they are offering consumers payment options that are not just convenient, but that also reduce risk and instill confidence with every transaction.

Fortunately, innovative and secure digital payment technologies embraced by the travel industry have made it easy for individuals to safely pay for goods and services — no matter where they are in the world. These payment options encourage consumers to spend without fear of being targeted by fraudsters, which is critical to boost revenue and revitalize sectors as they evolve to meet the shifting realities of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Implementing secure and user-friendly digital payment options builds brand loyalty and ensures repeat business – which is critical for travel industry organizations looking to prepare for a new wave of travel. Here are some of the payment methods that are helping businesses in the industry provide seamless, frictionless experiences for consumers.

Global and domestic credit, debit and prepaid cards

Cybersource, Visa’s global payment and fraud management platform, enables travelers to make payments using cards issued by banks and other financial institutions. In addition to the familiar major cards that can be used internationally, Cybersource, a Visa solution, also supports many national and regional cards, including Aura, ELO and Hipercard (all serving Brazil), Cartes Bancaire (France), RuPay (India) and Mada (Saudi Arabia).

Digital wallets and eWallets

Digital wallets are one of the most popular and well-established online payment methods. They store a consumer’s payment information to enable quick and secure transactions through either a mobile device, in-app or over the internet. Digital wallets typically use network tokenization to secure sensitive payment data and can be used anywhere in the world, making them a highly valuable tool for travelers heading out on a trip. Similar to digital wallets, eWallets store a consumer’s payment details and preload money that they can use to make payments.

Tools for preventing fraud

Travel, particularly when it’s across international borders, can bring with it anxiety and complexity for travelers. To help boost confidence there are many security tools that organizations can leverage. According to the 2022 Global Fraud and Payments Report, credit card and identity verification services, two-factor phone authentication, and EMV® 3DS™ are the most widely used anti-fraud tools across all industries.

For example, 3DS (Three-Domain Secure) technology developed by Visa adds an extra layer of protection to the payment process by enabling issuers to authenticate a cardholder using methods ranging from a one-time password to biometrics. 

While fraud-prevention tools like 3DS are considered the most effective at detecting and preventing fraud, travel companies should also consider adopting other less widely used solutions and techniques like company-specific fraud scoring models or multi-merchant purchase/order velocity monitoring. The latter is a process in which transaction data is analyzed to determine whether certain data points deviate from a consumer’s normal buying behavior.

The bottom line

Travel is back, and the industry needs to make sure they’re keeping pace. Delivering the best experience for consumers who are returning to travel starts with fast, frictionless and safe experiences through contactless payments, loyalty apps, digital wallets, and eWallets. Paired with a recognizable, trusted brand such as Cybersource, a Visa solution, these technologies can help assure travelers they are protected against fraud and give travel organizations a competitive edge.  

Click here to find out why accepting digital payments is now more flexible and secure with Cybersource.

Fraud Protection and Detection Software, IT Leadership