The Technology Dividend: A Gift that Keep on Giving.
By Vijay Dandapani ~ Hotelier's outlook on NYC, travel and the industry
Wednesday, 17th April 2013
A slew of new apps in the travel sphere look to ensure that the high watermark for the industry will remain a moving target.

That is an outcome that almost always will accrue to the benefit of consumers and travel businesses alike.

While Google's mass-market computer, Google Glass, is one that slots into the "disruptive technology" category considering the potential depth and breath of its promise, relatively more mundane apps are already making the travel dimension more usable and profitable.

Among the foregoing are Grokr a "predictive search and discovery service" built for specially for iPhones. Grokr claims to "remember and give relevant information and recommendations based on personal preferences. Grokr continually understands users' likes, interests, location and brings the right content as needed."

By way of example the app says that "when you search for Taj Mahal you'll get the restaurant reviews if you like Indian, and the musical artist if you like blues." Much of that is due to its ability to dig into social networking profiles sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For a frequent traveler it can quickly drill down to the preferred airline and hotel company as well as the cheapest option.

Google Now does some of that but is not only llimited to android OS but looks positively inelegant compared to Grokr. Also Google Now's output is courtesy of a trawl of its seemingly inexhaustive resources via google search. Among the neat features though is its ability to pick up personal data and alert users to upcoming appointments via 1 of 25 (to be expanded) "cards".

Along the lines of the foregoing is another quality of life enhancer in the form of Kaggle which appears to be a real quality of life innovation particularly in the work sphere. Kaggle provides "cutting-edge data science results to companies of all sizes.

We have a proven track-record of solving real-world problems across a diverse array of industries" from financial services to retail including hospitality although no hotel company was listed on the company's site.The company touts its proprietary "Kaggle Connect" as a whiz-kid tool by which companies can solve complex problems using the best minds in the business by providing a platform.

For hospitality, Kaggle's solutions span areas from inventory optimization, tourism forecasting, dynamic pricing and customer complaint resolution. A hospitality company executive merely has to purchase a "pool of hours" and "post" the data from the firm's CRM database (for example) onto Kaggle connect.

Picking one of several top-flight data scientists who compete to complete the task at hand ensures an optimal outcome. Applied across multiple disciplines it could lead to a revolutionary change that maximizes customer satisfaction and profits.

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city. Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York.

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