Travel & Hospitality Awards | Travel Innovation, Design & Technology 2020 |


Travel Innovation, Design & Technology




Robert Bruce


Katherine Lozell


Marcs Bacera


Stanley Lucas


Brian Anson


David Hyde


Azim Aftab


Aisha Ahmed

Jacqui Irvine

Joseph Wilton

Tasmai Dave


Antoine Jackson

Hafiz Arslan


Adam Cole

Alice Smith

Joyce Lee

Peter Clement

Zach Ford


Jerald Jaime



Criteria 4

Technology Trends 6

Travel with out travelling? 10

Travel & Blockchain: Is there use case? 14

Value of Guest Engagement Platforms 18

WeBee 22

Innovative Marketing 24

3Sixty Digital 28

Top 5 Hotel Architecture 30

Interior Design Bold Minimalist Vs Magnificent Maximalist 34

2 3







Excellence in Service is an important

category, as customer service can

often responsible for repeat diners.

We look for restaurants where

staff go out of their way to please

their guests, those that provide a

It is no question that style and

design is key factor in selecting

our award winners. A guest will

form an opinion about a restaurant

as soon as they arrive, so it is

important to us that all our winners

personal level of service and take make those first impressions

the time to get to know each visitor

so that they might anticipate their

every need. This can be something

as simple as a friendly conversation,

a manager who offers a personal

greeting or a chef who is happy to

adjust based on dietary needs –

but whatever it is, we are always

pleased when we encounter staff

that have been trained in the art of

customer satisfaction.

count. We’re certainly not partial

to a specific period of architecture

– but whether we’re judging a

gothic castle or an environmentally

friendly lodge, the criteria remains

the same. We consider factors

such as architectural features, use

of materials, creation of spaces,

décor and the overall feel. We love

it when we find a restaurant that

tells a story though its interior and

exterior features or offers a design

that is sympathetic to the natural


surroundings of its location.

While the ambience and services

of a restaurant are important, what

really defines it is its menu and the

dishes in it. We pay special attention

to the courses that are available in

the menu and even look into how

it’s set up. Balance of the menu is

especially important. A restaurant

that serves multiple dishes that

balance each other out to give

the customers a perfect meal

experience is seen as an authority.

The cuisine options are taken into

consideration too; be it a local

cuisine or an international one. The

sourcing of the ingredients is an

important factor as well.

In today’s modern age, a restaurant

cannot rely on word of mouth to get

their message out into the world.

As social media has become a vital

part of everyday life, we like to see

companies that go the extra mile

to engage with their customers,

both past and future. Attractive and

informative websites and engaging

and honest content are what we

look for when judging a company’s

use of marketing; how well they

display their services, how up-todate

their content is, how well they

get their brand message across,

and, most importantly, how well

their marketing can tempt us to go

and see what they have to offer for


Diversity is one important aspect

that needs to be taken into

consideration when in the travel and

hospitality industry. It is essential to

have staff that has varying diversity

to ensure that the organization can

properly connect with their guests.

Diversity is taken into account in

terms of gender, nationality as well

as languages spoken among other

factors. Not only do we take the

diversity of the staff into account

but even that of the facilities and

services offered; a hotel or tour

operator providing a better range of

services is preferred over those that

do not.

Location is one of the most

important factors, but also one of

the most subjective, as the ‘ideal’ is

very much determined by the type

of visitor and the type of restaurant

itself. However, there are a few

factors we take into consideration

when determining the winners of

location-based awards. The first

is convenience; that is, restaurants

that are easy to travel to. Many of

our winners in this category are

in convenient locations, such as

adjacent to popular attractions,

close to beaches or found in the

heart of easy-to-navigate cities.

We’re always excited to come

across a restaurant that is, to use

a familiar phrase, off-the-beatentrack.

A restaurant that can offer

something a little different, in

terms of natural surroundings,

can make the difference between

a good dining experience and an

incredible one.

What better way is there to know

about an organization than

by getting first hand reviews?

Customers are the best judges of

any service as they are the ones

who experience them and can

assess whether they were up to the

mark or not. Considering reviews

from hundreds of customers over a

set period gives us a fair idea about

the general pros and cons of any

organization while also giving us

valuable inputs for the other criteria

as well.

The approach taken by the

restaurant whether it be Innovative,

traditional or anything else are

considered when deciding winners.

Values and approach illustrate

the dedication of the restaurant to

deliver a specific type of experience

for their diners. This is evident in the

food, source menu, presentation,

the staff and

4 5

Technology Trends

The remarkable rise of the internet

over the last two decades has had

a profound effect on the development

of new and exciting technology that

has positively enhanced the industries

of hospitality and tourism. In the last

decade especially, the use of Information

Technology in the travel industry has

been pivotal in the reduction of overall

costs and improvement of customer

satisfaction. With the travel sector being

one of the most profitable in the world

and one that is continuously expanding,

it is critical that businesses keep upto-date

with the latest technological

advancements. We have outlined below

three of the most popular tech trends

currently gaining a lot of traction.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Although the term might bring to mind

futuristic dystopian landscapes ruled

by robots that have enslaved humanity,

AI is in fact regularly embedded within

the travel and hospitality industry.

Simply put, it refers to computerised

programs that can learn to carry out

tasks that would normally require

human intelligence to perform. This

has the enormous potential to save

businesses money and effort by

making it possible for tasks to be

performed around the clock in very

little time.

AI-enabled platforms without the

use of dedicated human staff have

become the norm and are currently

part of most online booking systems

in the form of chatbots or virtual

assistants. And given that AI systems

naturally improve their knowledge

base by learning from customers’

behaviour, they can be used to provide

a more personalised travel experience.

And the application of AI in the

travel sector is not confined to the

field of customer services. More

and more companies are using

intelligent systems to automate

most of their onerous data analysis

and management projects and

draw conclusions about business


6 7

Recognition Technology

Recognition technology is currently

taking the travel industry by storm.

Facial and fingerprint recognition is

widely available worldwide and helps

streamline passengers’ journeys and

reduce unnecessary waiting times.

Biometric identifiers are now also used

in some hotels to allow a smoother,

more personalised check-in process as

well as provide access to rooms without

the need for key cards by simply using


Facial recognition can also help

improve overall security protocols by

identifying guests’ identity and allowing

or forbidding access to certain places.

But surely one of the most exciting

functions of recognition technology

is the ability to complete payments

without the need for cash or even credit


Immersive Visual Experiences

Virtual Reality (VR) and

Augmented Reality (AR) are

two trends that have exploded

in the tech industry and are

now also being applied in the

travel sector. They are currently

being used for virtual simulation

of travel destinations and

accommodations- a type of

very realistic ‘try before you

buy’ experience. Recent studies

have shown that enhancing the

pre-booking experience with

VR or AR has shown a 40%

return on investment, making

this a very promising option for

the future of travel. Even more

interestingly, VR can help users

immerse themselves in a digital

environment when, for whatever

reason, they are unable or

unwilling to travel.

8 9

Travel with out


Immersive visual experiences such as

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual

Reality (VR) are the latest creative

additions to the ever-expanding industry

of travel and hospitality. These trends

have come a long way in a relatively

short time in the tech industry and are

usually associated with video games

where users can immerse themselves

in a virtual world and even manipulate

objects and engage in certain actions.

VR hardware has seen a dramatic drop

in price in the last 5 years and this has

started to increase accessibility and


But how exactly are immersive visual

experiences apply to travel and tourism?

Does it work and is it a trend that is likely

to be profitable?

In a recently published Adventure Trends Report,

VR was amongst the most popular trends in the

travel industry, although its development is still

at its infancy. With the need of consumers to buy

‘experiences’ rather than products on the rise,

VR offers a potentially attractive way of allowing

customers a ‘test-drive’ before they pay. Imagine

being able to climb the top of a snowy mountain

or scuba dive alongside manta rays deep in the

Red Sea- without ever having to leave your living


10 11

The industry often refers to the

functions known as the ‘3 Es’:

Enabling, Escaping and Enriching. At its

current state of developing, Enabling

is by far the most obvious function

of VR and it usually applies to the

very early stages of the customer’s

journey. Travellers spend a lot of time

researching, googling images and

videos of particular places but VR does

away with that. Planning ahead using

VR might help reduce disappointment.

Many companies already offer AR

versions of their products, be them

hotel rooms or travel experiences,

that can simply be accessed by the

customer’s smartphone. Escaping

can help customers literally escape

from mundane long journeys and

unpleasant experiences by immersing

themselves in whatever VR has to offer.

And Enriching refers to enhancing the

traveller’s experience once they are

already at their destination.

One of the most exciting possible uses for VR is

to cater for those who are unable to travel. Some

companies are currently experimenting with

attending to the sense of wanderlust of those

who cannot visit destinations far away maybe

due to health or mobility reasons. From a more

ethical perspective, it can even help with overtourism

as customers can visit places without

actually being physically there.

But there are potential downsides as well. VR programs and platforms

can be very costly to develop and implementation and investment

can be a considerable risk given that there is no real hard data about

their overall usefulness or customer popularity yet. And there may a

paradoxical side effect too: if virtual reality can someday provide an

inimitable travel experience without the need to actually travel, how

much of a threat is this to the travel industry? Might it stop customers

from spending thousands of dollars on booking planes, hotels and


It’s early days yet for VR in the travel industry but it’s certainly a trend

to keep an eye on.

12 13

Travel & Blockchain:

Is there use case?

Blockchain technology has

revolutionised the way transactions

are being carried out across the world. To

simplify this rather convoluted concept we

could say that ‘block’ refers to blocks of

digital information and ‘chain’ is the public

database where this information is stored.

The digital information stored consists of a

variety of data including transaction details

(such as date, time, amount paid etc),

and encrypted identity details with unique

identifying codes for each block.

One block can hold thousands of transactions.

Once complete, a block is stored on a

database that is publicly available. Because

of the way it is designed, a blockchain is

very hard to crack and therefore less prone

to hacking. It is decentralised, which means

that no single person has more control over

this information than anyone else. So in

order for a transaction to be accepted, it has

to be verified by every single member that

has access to that particular chain. This is

currently changing the way we think about

information storage and offers a promising

solution to serious security breaches.

Applications to the travel industry

Planning and paying for a trip require the uploading of very sensitive, personal

information on different online platforms such as booking agents, airline

companies or accommodation providers. Information such as bank and

passport details are regularly sent to different online companies and whether

they like it or not, customers place a lot of trust in this process. Only last year,

5 million passport numbers were stolen from a top international hotel chain,

further calling into question our current security paradigm. Blockchain could

potentially make this process a lot safer and more transparent given that this

information is stored in a way that makes it almost impossible to alter or hack

into, so both financial transactions and the storage of information become

simplified and more secure.

Security aside, the aspect of having

a decentralised service means that

there is no need for intermediaries.

Although online booking agents

offer customers to browse through

thousands of hotels or flights,

companies often pay at least

15% commission to be able to be

advertised on such platforms. By

taking out the middle man, service

providers can minimise associated

fees and connect directly with


14 15

Identification and Tracking

Ever had the displeasure of arriving at

your destination only to find out that

your luggage didn’t? Cue endless hours

of frustration, waiting to discover where

your suitcase ended up in. Luggage

often changes many hands especially

during longer trips and Blockchain can

make it easy and transparent to trace it

at all times

Blockchain could also enhance

customers’ identification process during

travel, which is often a time-consuming

and onerous process. This technology

has the potential to drastically reduce

waiting and standing times at airport


It is yet to be seen whether Blockchain

will take over and disrupt the travel

industry as we currently know it.

Judging by how other tech trends have

already started making an impact, it

may not be that long before we see it

change the way we think about travel


16 17

Value of Guest

Engagement Platforms

Customer satisfaction is the

number one predictor of

successful sales revenue. With the

staggering rise of social media over the

last 2 decades, more and more salesrelated

interactions take place on online

social platforms. Traditional telephone

and even email communications are

being slowly phased out and replaced

with more technologically savvy, often

automated intelligent interaction

systems. In this fast-changing online

universe, customers’ complex multidimensional

needs remain the highest


Customer Engagement Platforms

are the newest tech trend arrival set

to revolutionise the way different

types of businesses interact with their


What is a Customer

Engagement Platform?

Also known as Guest Engagement Platforms,

these are comprehensive systems that help

centralise the entire journey of a customer’s

experience, even past the sales point. The aim

of such a platform is two-fold. First, it serves as

a way of optimising customers experience and

offering them a superior service, tailormade

to their specific requirements. Second, it

enhances businesses’ operational efficiency

and reduces associated costs, therefore

maximising revenue.

You can expect a Guest Engagement Platform

to contain a range of tools including email,

chat, social media, calendars and notes. It

is a way of efficiently organising customer

data and can be designed to offer real-time

response to customers’ needs. They have

integrated intelligent tools including behaviour

analysis and virtual assistants that are able to

contextualise behaviour and offer appropriate


Optimising Customer Experience

A business is nothing without satisfied, loyal customers. Engagement

platforms strengthen the bond between business and customer in a

variety of ways.

– they can learn the customers’ pain points and address them effectively

in very little time.

– they can minimise effort on behalf of the customer and make whatever

process smooth and

– they offer a portal of instant response where customers can give

feedback via the platform in real-time.

18 19

Helping businesses perform

better by:

– providing automated data management

saving time and cost

– offering high-quality service across all

domains of a customer’s experience.

Practical Applications

Webee Guest Engagement platform offers

an all-inclusive tool that makes it possible

to interact with guests in real-time during

all stages of their journey. At the click of

a button, guests can do anything from

checking in to their toom without the need

for key cards to arranging for laundry to be

picked up on demand. The App is extremely

intuitive making it easy and stress-free to

use for both staff and guests who want a

smooth experience. Mid-stay surveys is

another function of the app (and one that

is being adopted by many other online

travelling platforms), giving customers

the option to flag up any issues during the

stay and allowing staff to iron out potential

problems so that customer satisfaction

is guaranteed and the relationship is

strengthened further.

Guest Engagement Platforms are

becoming increasingly popular

with many well-known companies

already integrating them into their

existing systems. With the current

pace of technological innovation,

such systems will likely replace

older, outdated forms of customer


20 21

Turkey Tel +


Europe | Guest Engagement Platform

WeBee is a brand new Hotel solution that aims to strengthen Guest

engagement. Specifically designed to take into account the busy rhythm of

modern day life, WeBee does away with the middleman. It is no longer necessary

for Guests to queue endlessly simply to check in their rooms. Remote check-in

and keyless entry are just two of the many technological innovations available.

WeBee makes it possible to interact with guests in real-time during all stages of

their journey.

From laundry requests, to room service and wake up calls, all is done via the App at

the click of a button. Perfect for hardworking business people or tired visitors who

want the smoothest experience possible. The App is extremely intuitive making it

easy and stress-free to use for both staff and guests.

WeBee gives Hotel Managers the

ability to tailor-make interventions

based specifically on their guests’

wishes and behaviours. Guests

can receive targeted offers and

suggestions at any time during their

stay and can modify those using the

versatile platform from their phone,

tablet or desktop.

Satisfied customers leave satisfied

reviews. WeBee mid-stay surveys

ensure that your guest is completely

pleased with the service they are

receiving before it is time to check

out. If anything is flagged-up as

substandard, staff have the chance

to rectify the situation immediately.

This shows excellent customer

service skills and improves the

bond with the guest. Post checkout

guests have the option to stay

in touch via the app, increasing the

likelihood of future engagement.

22 23

Innovative Marketing


Powerful marketing strategies

are crucial to the success of any

business no matter how big or small. They

help identify and target specific audiences

and develop profitable products. The

unprecedented rise of digital marketing has

made it possible for companies to create a

strong online presence by harnessing the

benefits of a multitude of platforms, to both

obtain new customers and deliver services

to existing ones.

The travel sector has a large audience

with the global market generating over

$1.3 trillion annually. Whereas less than 2

decades ago people depended on travel

agents or Teletext and took chances

based on pictures they saw on brochures,

today’s online platforms make it possible

for customers to research extensively

in a relatively short amount of time

before buying. It is a well-known fact that

people have hundreds of interactions

with companies while investigating travel


From all the digital marketing platforms,

social media is by far the biggest influencer

and has changed the way people travel, with

Facebook and Instagram being the Top 2

most used platforms. Both offer a great deal

of user engagement through different types

of adverts, content promotion, live chats and

visual stimulation. Facebook is fantastic for

building brand awareness and ads are highly

customisable to suit the different stages of the

customer’s journey.

Instagram is an equally powerful tool for building a following and many

brands use it to regularly reach out to their audience. In fact, in a recent

study, ‘Instagrammability’ was the most crucial factor for Millennials

on choosing a holiday destination.

Both platforms offer integrated video marketing options and according

to studies, approximately 50% of users will actually act after watching

a video ad.

But irrespective of the platform used, perhaps the most important part

of a company’s marketing strategy ought to be an awareness of the

different phases of the customer’s journey.

24 25

Stages of the Customer’s Journey

Google analysed user behaviour and

identified 4 key ‘micro-moments’, all of

which are important entry-points for

influencing a potential customer and

eventually leading to a purchase

Dreaming: this is the preliminary phase

where there are no fixed plans and

customers are browsing for ideas.

This is quite an influential stage of the

journey and first impressions of travel

brands will really make an impact at this


Organising: with a destination pinned

down, customers are now in the

process of choosing dates, flights and

accommodation. This is largely done

through the use of search engines and

travel brands ensure their website and

products have a carefully optimised

presence in the search results.

Booking: with choices narrowed down, customers are now

ready to book. This is a crucial moment and brands often

make this as smooth a process as possible, with inviting

call-to-action buttons and fast-loading pages.

Experiencing: with the holiday now a reality, this is a more

relaxed but still exciting part of the journey. Travel brands

can offer a variety of options for ‘things-to-do’ while the

customer is on their holiday.

26 27

127 Hampton Rd, Bristol BS6 6JE, UK Tel + 44 117 911 3734

3Sixty Digital

United Kingdom | Travel Digital Agency

We’ve inspired 1000’s of users to book

holidays and travel experiences that they

will never forget. We love the sector and

want to help as many people as possible

find their dream trip. We are here to make

a difference, to drive results, and to inspire.

We create websites and digital solutions for travel brands and launch various

travel products of our own. Our focus is on providing exceptional user

experiences, which, in turn, ultimately drive commercial performance.

Over the past few years, this has led to a number of leading travel brands experiencing

record-breaking years with 3Sixty at the fore. We are dedicated to helping brands

boost website conversion, utilising digital platforms to improve team efficiencies,

boosting travel brand profitability, and for all our clients, helping them produce the

highest revenue-generating performance in their history.

28 29


Inspiring Hotels

Though architectural design might

not seem to be one of the top criteria

for choosing a hotel or resort for most

travellers, for the design-conscious

customer it is a key priority, especially in

the field of luxury travel. More and more

people opt for upscale boutique hotels

and elegantly refurbished properties

instead of regular chain hotel stays.

We’ve scoured the globe to bring you

the Top 5 hottest designs.

boasts floor-to-ceiling

windows, combining

old Chiloé tradition with

modern architecture.

Portions of the hotel are

raised on stilts to cause

as little damage to the

ground as possible

and this gives the hotel

an unusual, almost

futuristic feel.

Tierra Chiloé, Chile

Perched in a prime location on the edge

of a cliff on the island of Chiloé, this

stunning hotel offers unprecedented

views of the Chiloé archipelago lying

just off the coast of Chile. The hotel’s

distinctive architecture is in line with the

stunning surroundings, with a wooden

exterior that is reminiscent of the

traditional churches in the vicinity. The

hotel is situated on green, unspoiled

pastoral hills with spectacular vistas of

the nearby channel. The ground floor

Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo, Monaco

A well-known retreat frequented by the rich and famous, Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo reopened

its doors in 2019, after an extensive 4-year renovation project. The property has retained its

signature Belle Epoch façade, with lavish decorations reminiscent of by-gone eras of the late

19th century. The Hotel now features upgraded lavish accommodation including the new

Princess Grace Suite, an extravagant 2-bedroom property arranged over two floors and featuring

some of the Princess’ favourite items on display. Add to this a sea-facing glamorous SPA and

a range of dazzling restaurants, it is easy to see why this place is a favourite of the crème de la


30 31

Park Hyatt, Bangkok

Bangkok is a metropolitan city rife with

spectacular high-risers offering one

of the best skylines in the world. Park

Hyatt offers a safe Haven high up in

the sky, a protective sanctuary from

the intensity of the urban jungle that

is modern Bangkok. The architecture

of the building is wonderfully irregular,

with the steel exterior forming a threedimensional

figure of 8 with curved

corners while the interior is filled with

free-form elements that exude an

intimate and calming vibe.

Al Bait, Sharjah

Recently named UAE’s

most luxurious resort, Al

Bait combines traditional

heritage elements with

features of contemporary

architecture. This is a luxury

escape that retains important

archaeological findings of the

area as part of its architectural

structure and parts of the

development are over half

a century old. It combines

the traditional Arab feel with

finer touches of luxury, paying

homage to traditional Sharjah

architecture, making this a

very charming destination

in an underrated part of the


32 33

Interior Design

Bold Minimalist Vs

Magnificent Maximalist


The minimalist movement in the field of

architecture started in the 20 th century.

It is a design that is characterised

by austerity and parsimonious use

of resources. ‘Less Is More’ is the

overarching guiding principle. It aims

to retain only essential elements and

do away with anything unnecessary.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is the German

architect first credited with outlining the

basic principles of the movement. He

advocated the use of modern materials

such as steel and glass and promoted

the idea of large, open spaces designed

in strict geometric shapes. This concept

draws attention to the few elements

used and makes them stand out more.

Minimally designed interiors are often defined by simple, often black and white

or at most binary colour palette. Furniture is usually designed in very simple

geometric shapes and monochromatic tones. Spaces tend to be open plan

and without partitions and often feature clever storage solutions. For example,

cabinets and shelves can easily be built in or attached to walls, thus saving space.

Because of its simplicity, minimalist design has gained a lot of popularity in recent

years. There are obvious benefits to this trend. Minimalism is all about ‘trimming

unnecessary fat’ and is therefore beneficial for anyone without much space

to spare. In that way, smaller scale hotels can make the most use of space by

reducing clutter and creating a more spacious interior. A well-designed minimalist

hotel can also bring guests more peace of mind by creating a sense of calmness

and serenity, further enhancing their stay (it’s not surprising that a lot of SPA

interiors are designed with minimalist principles in mind!)

34 35

Treehouse in Sweden is a fantastic

example of minimalist design done

well. Imagine living in a cube-shaped

room made up of mirror that reflects its

surroundings, suspended up in a tree in

the northern region of Lapland. Though

each room has a different theme and

tells its own story, they are all designed

in classic Scandinavian Minimalist

style. With very simple interior design,

this is the closest you get to living with

just the bare necessities.


In exact opposition to the minimalist movement,

the Maximalists are governed by an equally bold

principle: ‘The Bigger, The Better’. Maximalism

has been evident in music, literature and the

visual arts at the end of the 20th century and was

the rather obnoxious answer to the stingy use of

materials and space in the field of interior design.

The movement encourages making the most of a space and utilising

a wide variety of elements and resources. Maximalism uses a bold

colour palette and embraces the idea of excess. Think busy, bright

and textured interiors filled with repetitive patterns and graphic

representations. However, far from it being a movement that promotes

hoarding and cluttering, there is a method to the seeming ‘madness’ of

maximalist interior design. Colours and patterns are carefully weaved

together to avoid messy and intimidating results. Although this style

can be daunting at first glance, once the eye gets used to the busyness,

intricate themes begin to emerge.

36 37

Interiors will often feature some

very unique statement pieces with

a backdrop of a combination of

styles such as Art Deco and Eclectic.

Maximalism is a very emotional style,

often bringing up strong and passionate

feelings, as opposed to Minimalism’s

somewhat sterile vibe. ’Connecting the

dots’ is an expression often used by

Maximalist aficionados and it refers

to ensuring there is a sense of careful

continuity in the seemingly endless sea

of visual stimulation. A stay at a hotel

with a maximal design is in and of itself

an adventure, a potentially unforgettable

experience that stimulates every sense.

Hullett House in Hong Kong is one interesting

example of maximalist style with an eastern

twist. Being the oldest building in the city, the

hotel retains its heritage by integrating historic

photographs, hand-painted murals depicting life

under the Tang Dynasty with an overall Kitsch

aesthetic. Each suite showcases a different

theme designed in a gloriously maximal style.

Still undecided? Fear not. London’s Curtain hotel has designed the first

half and half hotel suite. The room is literally split right down the middle

of the bed and features both styles in equal proportions. Which one will

you gravitate towards?

38 39

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