The way we travel is changing all the time, and how we we explore the world today looks very different from the globetrotter experiences of previous decades. A lot of this comes down to technology, and how it’s changing. Think back, way back, to your trips of old: chances are, your suitcase was stuffed with paperback travel guides; you navigated using actual maps, rather than a GPS. You took photos with a camera – maybe even a film camera, rather than a digital one – and had to actually wait until you got home, or maybe to an internet cafe, before you could share them with your loved ones – in person. The concept of adding a filter or a hashtag to a moment captured on camera was unheard of.
Today, the world couldn’t be more different. Contemporary globetrotters are modern nomads that long for off the beaten track destinations and hidden gems, and want to get under the skin of a city, rather than simply ticking off an experience.
Almost every need that we have as a traveller is met using our smartphone. Apps are designed to make our lives easier and our travel experiences more fulfilling. We can use them to book flights and hotels, to read reviews of others’ experiences, to navigate new and exciting destinations, to hail a taxi and, of course, to get the perfect shot – and even edit them – before sharing them with the world. Our smartphones have become a compass and a lifeline, all in one.
The innovation of technology and how it’s integrated into travel extends to hotels too, and this has come along in leaps and bounds – just ask Olivier Harnisch. The CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group has seen firsthand the impact that smartphone apps can have on guest experiences.
When chatting to him about the new native apps designed for Emaar Hospitality Group, it’s clear Harnisch is really excited about the technology.
“We’re pioneering a new digital trend for the sector. Our guests have all the connectivity and convenience they need, right at their fingertips. Whether it’s booking a stay on your smartphone, right through to 360-degree interactive tours. Plus, the apps provide us with real time data help to improve our services.”
You can see technology in action when you visit any one of the Rove Hotels properties in Dubai. The mobile app lets you book a room through your phone and alerts you to special offers. Before you arrive, you can browse the app to learn all about the property and plan an exciting stay, whether you want to know what the facilities are like or, use it to plan your travel from the comfort of your room using 360-degree interactive tours and an extensive image library
When I ask Paul Bridger, Rove Hotels’ Corporate Director of Operations about how the guests are finding the app, he has nothing but good things to say. “The app is turning the traditional hotel guest experience on its head. It puts the control of the guest experience in the hands of the guests themselves – it’s quite revolutionary, when you think about it. And best of all, it makes their experience effortless and hassle-free.
“We want our guests to enjoy spending as much time as they want in the hotels, but we also want to empower them to ‘Rove’ the emirate as much as they please, and these apps will help them do both.”
If anything sums up the modern traveller, it’s hassle free Roving.
Adam H. is a passionate traveller, writer and futurist