Let’s put the Heart in the Smart

pexels

Artificial Intelligence (AI) to me is daunting. Every time I read and research about AI, I feel like I am entering a maze. I find myself getting pulled into the vortex deeper and deeper, with no way out. Yes, it scares me, but it also excites me at the same time.

AI is not something you can ignore. It is everywhere.

……When you download an app,

…..When you order stuff online,

….When you book your flights and hotels through web portals,

AI is there like a watchdog, keeping track of you through all the data you have entered. This post on AI will be just one of the many I will be writing about, considering the vast amount of work AI is doing through the various applications used within and about the Travel and Hospitality industry.

Thanks to the combination of enormous data stored on the expanding processes and applications of AI, and the ever up-and-coming technological capabilities, we are embarking on a journey where you can expect radical changes in how people get on and off planes, and how airlines get their planes in and out of airports.

__1440x9999.AI-in-Airport

The travel industry has always been at the forefront of technology adoption, either through computerised reservation systems (CRS), online bookings, social media presence or direct messaging. And now with AI being at the helm of things you can expect a lot more personalised online interactions and marketing intelligence to revenue management and ticket pricing.

Emerging Trends for Hospitality Industry - SoftwareSuggest

For instance working through its core model of a digital travel booking website, AI is able to access and collect historical data about millions of fare searches going back several years and create a algorithm, capable of predicting the future price movements seasonal trends, predicting travel choices, manage in trip and post trip needs , special airlines offers and deals.

Today, a traveller has all the information he needs at the click of a button.  Travellers can plan where they want to go, compare options, weigh budgets and make bookings and cancellations.

At the airports, AI addresses more serious issues such as flight disruptions, baggage handling, complex embarkation and disembarkation processes or lost cargo consignments.

Airline travel requires repeated scrutiny of travel documents both at departure and arrivals by different sets of people. Facial recognition technology brings an end to the tiresome paper-bound processes. On my recent trip to Singapore the immigration at Changi Airport got over in a breeze thanks to facial recognition and bio-metrics.

With facial recognition, travelers can seamlessly move through airports, immigration, customs and board aircrafts without the need for having travel documents scrutinized at each step.

Most hotels and resorts rely heavily on delivering excellent customer service to build their reputation and AI technology makes this happen in a wide variety of different ways. For example, a robot concierge service is being offered at some hotels. The robot gives real-time recommendations for visit-worthy sites and attractions and answers customer queries on the spot. A robot can also offer tailor made recommendations and guarantee fast response times, in the absence of staff.

ai hotel2

Hotels and airlines have used AI to sort through customer feedback from surveys, reviews and online polls, in order to build a clearer picture of current opinion. Service Providers who redeem themselves after a bad experience almost always win back the customer trust and get repeat business.

In an industry where time is critical, and information is constantly changing, AI reduces the time taken to complete tasks while improving the accuracy of processes and outcomes.

Models such as Airbnb and Uber are proof of the successful usage of AI in travel and hospitality.

Having little or no human interaction may be the calling card of the future, but let’s not forget one thing here. We are beings with numerous emotions running through our veins. We may adapt to being ‘handled’ by a robot, but only so much. At the end of the day we would however love to see a smile and feel understood.

I believe that technology is just amazing, but let’s never forget to

“Put the heart in the smart”

If you think there are more revolutionary ways in which AI will transform the travel and hospitality industry, please share your views in the comments below. TIA

 

🙂  Madhavi

 

 

 

 

PC:Pixabay ;Techopedia;Airport Show

Is being Insta-worthy really worth it?

image3

The golden sunset was like nothing I’d seen before. An expanse of the sky mixed in with a cocktail of colours -baby pink, magenta, bright orange, yellow, violet and grey. It was a fluid painting in motion.

The dreamy location was the Tanah Lot. A Balinese temple perched high on the rock, facing the wide open ocean.

image1

The setting was perfect with the crashing waves below, and the dramatic colors of the dusk sky in the background, glowing softly with the spectacular light of the slowly setting sun.

There I was, completely mesmerized by the brilliant sight, waiting patiently for the sun to loving merge with the ocean when suddenly; a hand was thrust in front of me.

Holding the latest iPhone, the hand took picture after picture of the sunset, hoping to capture the wonder on a 14-centimetre screen.

I was annoyed and distracted. My moment was broken.

Why did this happen? I asked myself. I wanted to witness this daily and magical ritual.

I wanted to “feel” the moment.

I wanted to stare at the magic of the sun drop its curtains for the day.

I was not thinking of capturing images on my phone to relive it later. No siree!!

image2

I admit that Instagram is just great. And the fact that it is something quick, something that you can just do on the go, is probably its biggest appeal.

While travel companies, agents, hotels, cruise ships, tourist locations, airports and airlines have started to reshape their businesses with visual posts in mind, becoming Insta-famous is a double-edged sword.

But as the Instagram effect continues into 2019, destinations are thinking of ways to fight back–and fight off the teeming hoards of selfie-stick-wielding visitors, specifically to those places which are unable to handle the massive footfalls.

Instagram has gone from something fun we do when we travel i.e. clicking pictures of ‘been there, done that’ to becoming the main reason to travel.

It’s not just about ruining others’ good time, living space and nature; it appears that the quest for the perfect ‘Instagram selfie’ and travel shot is also destroying people’s lives.

image4

A recent study into death by selfies found that 259 people died in a six-year period while attempting to capture the perfect selfie.

Photogenic destinations like Cinque Terre, Barcelona, and Santorini are starting to limit how and when tourists visit in hopes of preserving the landmarks for the future.

Where does this leave us? Travel photos have been around for decades and they’re not going to stop. The responsibility for keeping people safe might have to fall to government and local bodies.

Can pictures or rather instagramming them, do justice to the visual drama, the vibrancy happening in front of us. Sadly the ‘likes’ and the ‘comments’ are ruining the pleasures of “living in the moment”

For as long as humans have experienced wanderlust, travel has always been made sweeter by the tales we get to recount and narrate for family and friends, long after the holiday has been over. But in today’s image-obsessed world, unfortunately we have traded the “art of story telling” into a Insta Story that vanishes after 24 hours.

 

❤ Madhavi

How Hotels can be an Absolute Game Changer When Traveling with Children

legoland malaysia

Image :Legoland Hotel,Malaysia

Here’s the thing about children: They’re completely unpredictable. Situations constantly come up that are totally out of your control and when those situations happen far from home they threaten to ruin your hard-earned vacation.

Too much moving around on tours can literally make them cranky and fussy.

When I travelled with my young children I remember carrying a whole lot of paraphernalia to keep them occupied for the “in between times” of touring and other planned activities as the amenities for them at  hotels used to be relegated to cookies , uninspired children’s menus and maybe a colouring book or two.

Thankfully, young globetrotters today have much more to look forward to: luxury chains are now plying on them with perks like cooking classes with famous chefs, bird-watching expeditions, and other activities and creative gifts beyond the standard run of the mill -stuffed teddy bears.

legoland malaysia 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image :Legoland Hotel, Malaysia

All this pampering by posh properties, other than  the full fledged resorts, are putting oomph in keeping this picky clientele entertained.

But having said that here what Hotels can do to go out of their way to accommodate and please the juniors and their parents by offering clever and meaningful amenities.

  • Providing kids with child-sized robes and slippers, and gifts throughout their visit like coloring books, Frisbees etc.
  • Parents with babies, should be able to and borrow strollers, diapers and wipes.
  • A collection of creative experiences inspired by the destination such as kid-friendly tour of the city’s museums complete with a treasure hunt
  • Elaborate arrangements such as children under five get to eat for free at the on-site restaurants.
  • Family-friendly movies in its theater room, popcorn machines and candy treats machine
  • Toddlers play area and activities for young children such as kite making, shell collecting, and painting.

When you’re taking a vacation with your family, you want it to be just that — a vacation!

four-seasons-hotel-chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image:Kids clubroom Four Seasons,Chicago

Before you leave make sure you have looked at a hotel that has a variety amenities suited for family travel.

phuket-kid-friendly-hotels-centara-karon-resort

Image: Centara Karon Resort, Phuket

Resorts that offer golf-cart access to the beach, and other numerous family-friendly amenities such as kid pool, playground, on-site indoor and outdoor games, walking paths, mini golf, etc can help you enjoy the holiday for both you and your entire family.

Can you think of any other suggestion/ activities/ freebies that hotels can offer to our young voyagers? Do share in the comments section.

Madhavi

 

PC: Google Images

Green Skies

air-aircraft-airplane-728824

Did you know:  Two people flying in an airplane from New York City to Washington, D.C. create a carbon footprint of 472 pounds, while those same two people driving the same distance reduces the carbon footprint by half, to 229 pounds?

Every citizen desires clean air to breathe. As the high-travel summer season kicks off, let’s refocus on the environment, particularly ways we can make our travels a little greener.

While ground transportation is the single largest contributor to carbon footprints in the environment at 16%, Aviation is the second largest even though it accounts for only 2% Carbon emissions.

 Organisations like IATA, WTTC and WEF (World Economic Forum) are playing a stellar role in creating awareness and setting standards; while at the same time aircraft and engine manufacturers are evolving with newer technologies that burn less fuel. For instance; the easiest way to trim the weight off the aircrafts would involve the installation of lightweight seats. Seats made out of materials like titanium and carbon fibre, can weigh almost half as much as current chairs.

Airlines are constantly searching for ways to reduce their fuel consumption and also explore alternative fuels such as bio fuels. Responsible airlines like KLM, United, Lufthansa and our very own Spice Jet among others are testing flights with Bio fuel.

Bio fuels have the potential to bring about a step change in environmental efficiency – upto 80% less emmissions. The bio fuels, which can come from sources like natural oils, seaweed and agricultural waste, and through crops such as Jatropha; recycling household waste, used cooking oil or producing algae, bio fuels that can power aircraft could soon be used instead of jet fuel. This can help reduce planet-warming emissions from aviation.

What is needed now is a long-term multi-stakeholder approach for the further development of bio fuels to be a viable alternative. Only through a partnership of oil companies, airlines, airports and governments can research and development of bio fuels continue to make progress.

Also select airports mandate use of non fossil-fuel equipment, like electric/battery ground vehicles etc.

But along with major organisations we, as travellers, can contribute in many ways:

  • The most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to fly less often. But obviously that wouldn’t help, so the least bit you can do is take a non –stop flight. The more times you take off, the more fuel you use. According to a 2010 report from NASA, about 25 % of airplane emissions come from landing and taking off. That includes taxiing, which is the largest source of emissions in the landing-takeoff cycle
  • Where possible, choose airlines that use newer planes as they are more fuel efficient, offer carbon offsetting, have a sustainability programme, and that are investing in more sustainable ways of flying.
  • Travel light. Each kilo that we carry less, including our own weight, saves 21 Kg of CO2 per domestic flight. So ease yourself at airports, rather than in the aircraft!!

 

Until planes can fly on solar power or wind power (or an equally renewable source of fuel) air travel will always have a carbon footprint.

If you want to do your part, limiting that carbon offsets might be your best bet.

Of course our planet will survive, by possibly knocking all mankind off in a few hundred years, and take rebirth in a new avatar. But for now let us now seriously consider about saving our children and theirs, from self inflicted evils like water scarcity, pollutants, noise and the like.

Do your bit for the environment.

Madhavi

 

 

 

PC: Juhasz Imre from Pexels

It’s holiday time

It’s that time of the year again. Summers are here and can the planning for a special family holiday be far behind? In fact some of the children have already decided where the family will go this year. They are after all the ones deciding the destinations ,aren’t they? While we all love taking the weekend or middle of the work /school days breaks, Summer vacays are a big deal. Like they say there are holidays and then there are the summer vacations.

While some destinations like Santorini and Phuket are done to death by over-crowding, people are always on the lookout for newer and unique places to vacay, places that bring out the storyteller in you.

So whether it’s the lofty peaks of the mountains, or the calm beaches, from adventure holiday spots to the sober quiet walking trails, that fascinate you, travelers will find that perfect holiday spot to quieten their wanderlust.

Listed below are some of the trending go-to places in 2019 in no particular preference.

Egypt – Egypt is emerging as the new art pilgrimage destination. The Egyptian Museum will have everything – bejeweled sandals, embroidered tunics etc. the Nile cruise with sailings of its boutique wooden boats, kitted out with art deco fixtures and leather deck chairs to sink into while gazing at Nubian sandstone cliffs and the teeming ancient tombs and temples of Luxor.

luxor.jpg

The Peloponnese, Greece– Forward thinking visitors are heading to the mainland and discovering the wide-open spaces of Greece. This laidback region has been a destination for wellness and fitness.

Peloponnese

The Scottish Highlands -Think big skies, mind-blowing landscapes, superb food and hospitable people ,the most beautiful and romantic castles in the world – and you’ve got the Scottish Highlands.

scottish

The Turkish Riviera-An area of southwest Turkey, the most stunning part of Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts with its perfect sun, clean beaches, ultra luxury resorts, charming nature, ancient history, good entertainment and nightlife.

turkey

Valle De Guadalupe-Mexico’s wine country. This boulder-strewn bronze sweep of Baja California has been luring wine-lovers and weekending West Coasters for some time. Known as Mexico’s Napa Valley, Guadalupe is a weekend getaway just 2 hours from San Diego and is known for its architect-designed wine tasting rooms.

guadelope

New Orleans -renowned for its distinct Jazz music, Creole cuisine, unique dialect, and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The historic heart of the city is the French Quarter, known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and vibrant nightlife along Bourbon Street.

new orleans

Tahiti-the largest of islands that make up the French Polynesia. Tahiti is a barefoot beach-shack island with smart new places to stay.

tahiti

Namibia -Sharp new lodges in the outback of the outback. With its otherworldly landscapes and elemental emptiness of the desert, of the dunes, of the savage Skeleton Coast, Namibia is famous for dune-climbing, beach-combing for whale bones and spotting seal colonies and Wilderness Safaris’

namibia

Patagonia– Quite literally at the end of the world. Patagonia has epic landscapes and with its increasing appeal being one of the least populated regions anywhere. With its unique wildlife, hiking trails and being a bird watchers delight, adventurers are drawn to the vast emptiness of its desert and the drama of its Lake District.

patagonia

Singapore –Sound and light shows and flash designer shopping malls. Singapore is more than just a stopover city, for its tropical British colonial grandeur and futuristic architecture, for street food in the night markets and night safaris, sundowners in Marina Bay Sands’ rooftop pool, and for its Slings at Raffles.

singapore

Israel– Shiny new trains, airports, and hotels are all catapulting the ancient land into the modern age as the rest of the country catches up with vibrant Tel Aviv.

tel aviv

And of course there are some of the faithful holiday spots in India that are on most people’s summer to-do list. One can always spend a good 4-5 days exploring and relaxing at these below listed hill stations.

auli

  • Manali– Manali is a popular backpacking and one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in India. Nestled idyllically amidst the Pir Panjal & Dhauladhar Range of the Himalayas, Manali has some cool adventure activities and holy places.
  • Nainital– The quaint hill-station is still a very popular hill station in India. Though the list of places to visit in Nainital is pretty long, the Naini Lake and the Naina Devi Temple attract the maximum number of tourists.
  • Mussorie– The varied flora and the lush green hilly lands attract a lot of tourists to the little fairyland. From shopping on Mall Road to cable car rides to Gun Hill, and from Kempty Falls to the Jwalaji Temple; the summer destination has a lot to offer to its visitors.
  • Kanatal– If you are looking for an offbeat summer destination then Kanatal is a quaint village located at a distance of 38 km from Mussoorie. It is surrounded by lofty mountains and is lush green. People who love camping will love this place .
  • Auli– Auli is a great town to be in during the summers. The majestic snow covered peaks and the lush green meadows are the highlights of this town. One can have a good time while indulging in many adventure activities. Enjoy the local sightseeing, delicious local cuisine, and wander around in this quaint town.
  • Shimla– The capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is a favourite summer tourist destination. The cool temperatures make it an ideal spot to go to, as it is easily accessible and have a lot of tourist attractions.

maha

  • Panchmarhi– The only hill station in Madhya Pradesh, Pachmarhi is among the lesser-known summer holiday destinations in India. The decently high hills, forest gorges, stunning waterfalls, prehistoric caves, and rock paintings at Pachmarhi attract a lot of tourists every year.
  • Munnar– A perfect destination to spend your summer holidays in India, Munnar is famous for its salubrious climate, lush hills, and the vast expanse of tea plantations. With a myriad of things to do in Munnar, the hill station from God’s Own Country – Kerala –makes your vacations an ultimate peaceful and rejuvenating affair.

munnar

  • Kodaikannal– Kodaikanal is to Bangaloreans what Nainital is to Delhiites or what Darjeeling is to Kolkatans. Meadows, grasslands, waterfalls, valleys, forests, and lakes of the quaint hill station of Tamil Nadu make it one of the most popular summer holiday destination in India from the peninsula.
  • Ooty– Udhagamandalam, or Ooty, Located in the Nilgiri Blue Mountain hills, is often called the Queen of Hills. The famous toy train takes you through the nearby lush hills. The little hill station also offers a lot of places to visit and adventure activities to its visitors.

goa

  • Goa– Goa is India’s most accessible destination and is eternally popular with tourists from both within India and across the world. It boasts laid-back vibes, some beautiful beaches, and a thriving party scene. Goa remains utterly charming, and fully deserving of its prominent place as the jewel in the crown of Indian tourism.
  • Mahabaleshwar– Perched atop a height of 1,372 m above the sea level, Mahabaleshwar is another ultimate getaway. The breath-taking views of the valleys and mountains, the colonial buildings, verdant forests, sparkling rivers, sonorous waterfalls, and Pratapgarh hillfort have been major crowd pullers. The scenic hill station is, without doubt, an ideal retreat away from the hustle-bustle and the punishing weather of Mumbai.

kodai

  • Darjeeling and Kalimpong are the best entries from the east of India. But what gives Kalimpong an edge over Darjeeling is that it is untouched and less frequently visited by people. Sitting on a ridge overlooking the Teesta River, the hill station is a perfect summer destination owing to its pleasant climate, magnificent views, and proximity to other tourist attractions. River rafting and visiting buddhist monestrey is a major draw in Kalimpong.

These are just some of the places you can enjoy this summer. The world is too large to just fit into a page.

So enjoy your dream summer vacation and make some memories to remember forever!

PS: Don’t forget to carry that camera.  🙂

Have fun

Madhavi

 

PC: Lonely Planet,Getty Images, Viator

 

 

The Journey Begins

bokeh-decoration-desk-819087

 

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Indeed!!! This quote completely sums up the feelings travelling invoke.

The chance to see a new destination, the opportunity to soak up new cultures, the awe on seeing the natural wonders across continents, the mega cities, the remote landscapes, the tantalizing cuisines; travelling is food for the soul if you ask me. There is so much to experience, motivate, inspire and imbibe when you travel.

Welcome to my blog  Tailwinds & Touchdowns – your very own podium to explore, discover and learn about the multifaceted Travel, Tourism and Aviation Industry

I have been meaning to write this blog for a while now. The experiential nature of travel is ideal for sharing, and I am glad I found this platform to do so. I am so excited to creating content that will keep you informed about the various trends and topics related to this industry.

Let’s sit together to hear stories, to be humbled by the history of yesterday, to witness the growth of the industry, to be informed about the policies and regulations of today and to be excited by the possibilities of tomorrow.

Join me, as together we embark on this journey of learning and sharing information, ideas, and news about the travel industry. Let’s inspire, connect, and empower each other and lets educate those young ones who are enamoured of, and interested in making a career in the travel and tourism industry.

Fasten your seat belts and Jet Set Go!!

Madhavi

 

 

PC: Pexels