Travel and Hospitality are making big waves, with people thronging to popular tourist spots in droves as the Covid19 recedes. With this shift towards the online sphere, how is CDN contributing to the success of new era of tourism and hospitality?
Before the devastating Covid19 hit, travel and tourism was a booming business – accounting for over 10% of global GDP. Indeed, tourism was and continues to be the mainstay for many global economies – such as St.Lucia, Thailand, Hawaii. Spain, Italy, Turkey, etc. However, as Covid19 has evolved to become a watershed moment in tourism history, new and innovative models have emerged, which are expected to become more and more mainstream. However, regardless of how prolonged the comeback becomes, the verdict is unanimous – digital is the future and will be embedded at each of the stages of the tourism value chain.
Social distancing, along with hygiene and health protocols, is likely to stay for a while. Touchless service delivery and tech-enabled products are likely to offer new opportunities and revenue streams for travel and tourism operators. They could indeed be the path to faster recovery for those economies with a significant dependence (direct or indirect) on tourism.
Travel and tourism companies are responding by diversifying their offerings, shifting to more sustainable operating models, and increasing their business’s digital footprint.
For example, Airbnb, the massively popular rental service, which disrupted the hospitality industry by turning the prevalent service model on its head, found itself in quagmires when the Covid19 hit. With its business spread all over the world, the lockdown restrictions across the globe meant that growth projections were tossed out of the waters for any foreseeable future. Airbnb quickly saw an opportunity in the crisis. Within a matter of days, the company completely redesigned its website – it put up appropriate messaging, asking people to shun travel for the sake of containing the virus, and opened a series of digital-based services to cater to the Homestuck people. Called “Airbnb online experiences“, it was launched as early as April of 2020 and offered activities such as bartending and cooking classes, virtual bike tours, Korean makeup tutorials, fortune reading, comedy shows, and drawing lessons to entertain people who were longing to connect with others. Costing from a few bucks to 65$ when it was launched; it was innovative and speedy. It helped AirBnB open a new revenue stream and support its host network when the traditional AirBnB experiences were shut down temporarily.
As Covid19 recedes, the virtual aspect of Hospitality will remain an important component of the business. For example, take corporate events, which were a significant revenue stream for high-end hotel chains. As the pandemic lockdown restrictions are dampening, this lucrative business stream was wholly cut off as companies postponed or canceled their planned in-person events altogether. But as the lockdown extended, webinars started gathering pace as a means of corporate networking. Soon enough, virtual events became the norm, where participants could meet and interact virtually. Now, as leading industry reports indicate, this trend of virtual meetings is likely to stay, even after the pandemic – given how cost-effective, convenient and scalable this event model is. This presents exciting opportunities for hotel chains to utilize technologies like video, augmented reality, virtual reality to cater to the expectations and requirements of the corporates.
However, to be truly successful with this new operating model, where digital is embedded in every aspect of the hospitality value-chain, retailers need to ensure that the digital experience is top-notch and seamless. Cybersecurity is another critical aspect, and the customer’s personal data need to be safeguarded from external threats and attacks. Going digital will create more data points, and effectively managing, storing, massaging and analyzing these data points will be crucial for companies to devise innovative operations and take strategic decisions. Machine learning and advanced analytics serve useful use cases within the hospitality industry, such as customer segmentation, channel booking, devising loyalty programs, workforce management, etc.
For maximizing the potential of digital for your hospitality business, it is imperative to utilize Content Delivery Networks. Content Delivery Networks, or CDNs for short, are referred to as the backbone of the internet. If you are wondering why they are so popular, you need to understand the evolution of the internet to the behemoth that it is today. In the 1990s – the nascent days of the internet, websites and web apps consisted of simple text with few hyperlinks, and they were less commercialized. Today, websites and web apps have become a thousand times more complex – with images, animations, multiple web pages, CSS, videos, AR – everything delivered over the internet. Moreover, the internet has transformed the revenue model, and it is now central to how businesses target and acquire their customers. With so much on the internet to deliver, the traditional client-server infrastructure model is inadequate. Enter CDNs!
Content Delivery Networks utilize a network of geographically distributed and strategically located servers, which cache the high-demand website content at each of these Points of Presence ( or PoPs). When the user interacts with your website and clicks on something for more information, then the content is delivered from its closest Point of Presence, rather than having the request to travel to the original server and back. This shortcut works wonders in website speed when you consider the huge volume and complexity of content that is accessed and surfed today online. A CDN’s benefit, however, is not just limited to cutting down on the round-trip time. A CDN is also highly scalable, which means that you can quickly provision additional services to cater to peaking traffic demand, and then scale out once the traffic ebbs. This can provide significant cost benefits for companies. Previously the organizations would have to purchase expensive servers, deploy the required configurations and burn more dollars in maintenance and upkeep. And when the demand is lower than they have configured for, the additional resources would sit idle and go to waste. A CDN completely changes that and gives your business flexibility and saves costs.
Travel and Hospitality businesses that wish to cater to a broader customer base, through improved online services and digital experiences would immensely benefit from deploying a CDN into their application and website backbone. Such an infrastructure would help increase revenue, enhance customer experience, protect sensitive data, enable real-time identity management, and scale to deliver top-notch and 24/7 customer experiences.
Medianova provides global CDN solutions and cloud platforms, and we are experienced in streaming, encoding, caching, micro caching, hybrid CDN, and website acceleration. With our footprint in 21 countries and 100% SSD-powered anycast network, Medianova is one of the fastest HTTPS secure CDNs in Europe and the Middle East based on Cedexis.