Revenge tourism boosting economy after pandemic
Exciting technological advances in hospitality sector
The tourism and hospitality sector has had a terrible time in recent years.
Things are on the mend though, and the sectors are not taking things lying down.
We take a look at the international phenomenon of revenge tourism and speak to an industry insider on some exciting technological advances in the hospitality sector.
Tourism entrepreneurs that are part of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) in Cape Town say that “revenge travellers” are boosting bookings.
What are revenge travellers? you may ask.
They’re people who are travelling to their choice destinations because they were barred from travelling due to the global pandemic. These tourists are coming in large numbers from America and Europe.
Mary Rijnberg, who has a role within EO as a recruitment expert for the Africa region and is managing director of upmarket travel boutique business Planet Africa Safaris, says that though this revenge tourism bubble might deflate, in the luxury travel market there has been a shift in travellers looking for more “experiential travel.”
“People are taking their time, staying an extra night and really getting to know a place before they move onto the next destination,” she says.
The tourism and hospitality sector is slowly on the uptick, which is good news for the economy. “We are also seeing a big increase in regenerative tourism, where people want to know that they can make a positive difference and impact on their travels.
“What are lodges doing for local communities? How can I contribute to conservation?
“These sorts of questions are becoming more important and this is definitely a focus area for us, to facilitate this meeting between travel and conscience,” she says.
Technology in hospitality
I spoke to Reginald Sibeko, the MD of Micros, a hospitality technology solutions company. It provides technology that runs guest reservation systems and also provides the technology that runs the back-end in restaurants and point-of-sale machines.
“Now the business is becoming more about additional solutions within hospitality and how we become an end-to-end tech business in the hospitality space,” says Sibeko.
“One of the things that emerged as a solution for the hospitality industry during the crunch of the global pandemic was e-gifting.
“Micros has also launched Isipo, which is an e-gifting platform. The platform is based on a platform developed by CPR Vision Management and widely used in the Asia Pacific region.”
What is Isipo and how does it work?
“Isipo is an e-gifting global platform for hospitality. It’s really about e-gifting experiences. We’ve developed a system where we are saying to our customers, you can create experiences that you sell through the platform.
“For example, as Reggie I go into Isipo and find an experience that has been put there by either a Tsogo Sun or [another hotel] and that experience will cost whatever rand amount. And I can buy that experience and gift it to someone or I can gift it to myself.
“What we’re trying to do with that is we are trying to move the hospitality business from just selling rooms and tables to selling an experience.
“You can create experiences around birthdays, anniversaries etc and sell those on the platform, experiences you can’t find anywhere else.”
Is Isipo live currently?
“The platform is available right now but you cannot see the experiences. Right now we’re recruiting merchants, merchants that will put their experiences on the platform.
“The platform is due to go live on Black Friday, for public consumption. It will be available on Vodapay and other loyaltybased programmes that we are in conversation with.” What other ways are you using technology
in the hospitality industry?
“There’s another product we launched during the hospitality tech connect that we hosted on October 10; in the restaurant space we’ve introduced a smart POS [point-of-sale] device.
“Meaning we’ve taken what is traditionally a credit card machine and we’ve integrated it to talk to our POS and it becomes a two-in-one.
“So it becomes a payment device and a point of sale. A waiter, for example, can walk around the establishment, take an order and the order goes directly to the kitchen from that device and take a payment on that device, close the order and it’s done.
“So those are some of the solutions we are bringing in, and it lowers the cost of hardware in the establishment.
“Another innovation is a hotel reservation system that allows a guest to upgrade their room to a more expensive option at a discount. Another idea is to sell hotel rooms by the hour, which is convenient for travellers on layover.”
How do these technological innovations help township and rural hospitality/tourism sectors?
“Township tourism can definitely benefit, for example on innovations such as the smart POS. Big establishments such as Sakhumzi in Soweto can immediately make use of such innovations.
“In the rural space it will be a bit of a challenge because a lot of the solutions that are being designed rely heavily on internet connectivity. That is the biggest challenge.”
Mzansi Magic: 19:00