Mobility in the Travel and Hospitality Industry

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The competitive landscape is now more cutthroat than ever before. It takes two parts of mobility combined with one part of personalized experiences to reinvent the competitive landscape of today. It is no longer a point to be considered if mobility is absolutely crucial for a business. That is a given. What matters now is the pace at which unique mobility solutions can be executed. So, what is the impact of this mobility revolution on the Travel and Hospitality industry? Let’s have a look!

The Wave of Mobility that Hit the Travel and Hospitality Industry

The Travel and Hospitality industry has openly acknowledged that customer service is key to their business. When on trips, around 97% of all guests and travelers carry mobile devices with them. Travelers take mobile seriously when mapping the outline of their trips—from search and browsing through reviews to getting boarding passes on their mobile devices. The industry has been impacted and businesses are now lining up to get onboard the wave of mobility.

To go with the flow, what is currently required is for businesses to render themselves more customer-oriented by offering novel solutions, analyzing customer behavioral information, and utilizing the learnings to enhance business results. Mobility helps businesses of today stay sharp, be more forthcoming to customer requirements, and make a mark for themselves in the crowd.

More Mobility Equates to More Customer-Friendliness

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Realizing just this, companies in the Travel and Hospitality sector are ramping up their customer service by rapidly adopting many mobility solutions. At the fore of such solutions are Mobile check-in and boarding offerings that allow travelers to save on the time spent standing in lines by opting for mobile check-in and boarding.

Also popular in the market are Mobile Tourist information offerings that work to make the travel experience more exciting by providing accurate and customized information on the destination and its vicinity. Travelers also seem to be attracted to mobile airport lounge offerings that help them unwind, focus their energies on something productive, refresh themselves, or just escape from the pandemonium of airports.

To save travelers the worry of ferreting out information about airport lounges, such as their address, service times, convenience offered, together with valuable digital photographs, and feedback by others. Many companies have already started offering mobile airport guides that utilize technology to facilitate traversing across terminals for travelers.

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Many tour managers have often expressed that they need something to aid them while handling tours for travelers with contrasting viewpoints on the best way to travel. Mobile tour operator solutions serve as deputies to the tour operators to help them offer customized services to their customers.

Badly managed housekeeping has always proven to be bad news for Hospitality businesses. To prevent such mishaps, many of these companies have adopted mobile housekeeping solutions. These solutions enable straightforward and productive operations and more rapid interactions among departments. The mobile concierge solution helps Hospitality service providers delight guests and provide customized services, thereby boosting dependability and profit.

These are just some of the many mobility solutions out there that are faithfully serving the Travel and Hospitality companies around the world. These solutions are ensuring unwrinkled functioning, new profit inlets, and devoted customers. It won’t be surprising if there was an avalanche of such mobile solutions in the near future, bringing businesses and customers much closer to each other than ever before. Here’s to the level of convenience we can expect soon!

 

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A Future without Banks

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It’s not uncommon for people of this generation to hear about the concept of a “bank-less” future. It’s something that is seen as the future of finance by many advocates of the idea.

The recent action plan embraced by the European Commission to establish a Capital Markets Union could well be the precursor for this concept. The idea behind the plan is to enhance the scope of financial markets and thereby, perhaps, bring down the power of banks in general. Over the years, banks across the globe have been facing mounting pressure due to the digital phenomena that has hit the economy. The discussion has now started and is catapulting into newer levels. But, is such a future possible? And if yes, how would it be?

A snapshot of what could be and what is

If you thought you’ll have a bank around when you are ready to purchase a house or car, think again; this may not be the case in some time. The paper-based currencies of today may not be at our disposal to buy whatever we want. The beloved ATMs may not be at our service to churn out money as we need it.

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Remember we used to barter things before currencies were invented? Maybe this upcoming plan could take us back to this previous century. And, bartering could mean that we would not even get precise change for what we are “paying.” This complication in transactions is what banks had eased out when they started issuing currencies, checks, and now debit and credit cards that rendered the entire purchase-and-selling process so much easier. It is worth contemplating that the pioneers of single-click e-purchasing, such as the Snapdeals and Flipkarts of today, may soon establish their own type of “banks” that will slowly oust the kind of banks we are familiar with currently.

Banks and the banking sector have conventionally been run by private bankers and stock brokers. Currently, however, the situation is witnessing a slight change. A doubly strong force is hitting this monopoly of bank ownership as we know it.  First, a new wave of automation is being readied to replace human bankers with software that can perform detailed customer profiling and market analysis to, ultimately, help in making investment decisions. Second, the biggest wave in the investment world of today – aka crowd-sourced investing – is making a dent in the banking landscape.

Non-Banks: A game of unpredictability or safety?

Over the years, banks have been our go-to place for borrowing money – or taking “loans.” Prior to banks, people relied on their kin and kith to borrow money from. As we all know, this usually ends up in fights, arguments, and relationships going haywire never to be mended again. Banks made everyone’s lives easier by bringing loan officers into the picture. They acted as intermediaries who were detached from the personal lives of the borrowers and the lenders. Fair play, don’t you think?

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It’s only after hundreds of years of experimentation that nations around the world settled for currencies that they were comfortable dealing in. In the present day, central banks dominate national currencies and control supply majorly via commercial banks. Central banks, therefore, seem to hold this holy power to increase or cut short supply by adding to and implementing reserve criteria on commercial banks.

So yes, intriguing changes are about to hit the banking sector. But, the question pertinent to the situation is: can the upcoming non-banks replicate the security and simplicity that banks provide us? Further, if the crucial banking areas are acquired by non-banks, will governments still be able to drive the finances of countries? It’s a wait until we get the answers to these questions, but it sure won’t be a long wait, nevertheless.

The investment scene is going to be even more relentless in 2016

 

 

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My team did some detailed analysis on the potential investment scene one can expect to see as the rest of 2016 slowly unfolds. And it’s not going to be anything like the economy expected!

Startups were drenched in investors’ money all of last year. The inconsistently playful stock market, however, is now making the investors work more carefully toward the startups they want to invest in. The total amount that investors would be investing is estimated to drop by a quarter of what it was last year.

So, what are some of the investment trends we foresee? Let’s explore!

Education: Does it matter?

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Will educational qualifications be that important when you evaluate startup founders? That’s a big NO.

Take any successful new venture and it’s probably the baby of a high school dropout. Ultimately, all that matters is the idea behind the company. Is the concept fresh and promising? Then, you’ve just struck gold! The universities or schools the founders attended will not be used as a criterion for judging the potential of the startup either as, in reality, startup ideas are being conceived equally well by the minds of many innovators, be that of an ex-MITian or an ex-IITian.

The fate of the investees

Indeed, many of the startups get acquired within a couple of years. And really, isn’t that the ultimate dream of the founders?

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Some of the startups do stumble and crash. Things to watch out for are overexpansion and blind competition.

Then, there will be those who go public. How do they perform right after that? We’ve seen some pretty dismal performance for most IPO-based companies. So, is it really a good route to take? That’s quite a gamble in itself!

Be your own work of art

Some of us on this planet are too passionate for our own good. Passionate about stuff to do, passionate about stuff to buy…You name it, we are excited! View us from any angle, we do look like normal people. Then why the ten dessert spoonfuls of overenthusiasm?! We are even excited to be excited all the time! Yes, paint me guilty with a wild pink — I AM one of them. I am someone who sees the CEO of her company walk past her and happily chirp out “Hello!!” with a goofy smile. The poor lady probably spends weeks wondering who I actually could be and why I am so enthusiastic every time I see her! But hey, I genuinely can’t contain the excitement (No, I am yet to reach stalker levels). But then again, not that bad a deal sometimes.

Enthusiasm and passion leads to the most extraordinary creations ever known to man. For many, the products of their enthusiasm leave a highly significant mark on people’s mind. These people make a difference.

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The person on my mind as I write this piece is the world-renowned Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. An artist par excellence whose work we yearn to absorb into every pore of our mind and body. He who had a dreamy, magical reflection and an unrestrained ardor for everything “life!”

Since the 1880s, Van Gogh was intent on creating on canvas the magic of “night effects,” which he believed would present a greater drama to the eyes than a typical sunny day. The thought haunted him day and night—he just had to showcase to the world the beauty of a night sky from his perspective.

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The painting did get created in 1889, and what a marvel it was! Van Gogh’s La nuit étoilée, aka to those of us who call our beloved darling instead of mon cheri as “Starry Night,” was an instant hit among art connoisseurs around the globe. Sure, it was a painting he always wanted to make and he HAD to get it out of his system. But what made this particular painting the all-time favorite of all who had the privilege of seeing it? One, as the name implies, it’s all about the stars and the fantasy land it transports you to, as if on an expensive silk magic carpet. You don’t feel a bump, definitely no thud. Even those of you who don’t seem to get that HIGH after seeing the painting just can’t deny the fact that they feel themselves to be a part of that scene…looking up at the star-studded sky, feeling all warm and peaceful within. Yes, one does admire the town structures below the sky, and more so as the dark hues reflecting from them further highlight the mystery presented by the celestial bodies above. Everything about the masterpiece is an enigma and pulls you toward it as you gaze utterly spellbound.

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Unfortunately, Van Gogh had already settled comfortably into a mental asylum by the time he finished perfecting the last stroke of his painting, completely oblivious to the millions of “Starry Night” replicas that were being created outside the claustrophobic prison walls. But, the Starry Night shines on!

We may never really know what led this great artist to commit suicide so early in life. But one thing is for sure, he sure lived his life fully being his overenthusiastic, passionate self. Plus, he left behind his works of art that touch and soothe the soul of millions across geographies.

So, I think it is perfectly fine to live with overenthusiasm and passion. If it makes us happy, who cares what the others think? We will just continue to live our happy lives in our own quirky little way and make people wonder what made us mutate so badly. ‘Cuz in the end, all that matters is life and the way we lived it. And who knows what little masterpieces we may create along the way!

It’s actually irresistible!

I believe there is something magical in everything we touch, everything we see in our day to day lives. And this magic multiplies by at least five dozen when it comes to food.

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For starters (no, we arent talking about the start of a 3-course meal here), there’s the distinct aroma that emanates from freshly cooked food. Who could resist stepping into Pizza Hut after falling prey to its aroma? Yes, it does hunt you down. Even in your dreams sometimes.

Then, there’s the touch. How different do all food items feel to the touch. I love everything from the watery graininess of a slice of watermelon to the gooey I’ll-mess-up-your-hands feel of your favorite Ferrero pastries. I mean, what’s not to like there?

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Now if you get my drift, I know you can do the math about food’s magical effects on our other senses too. But the point here today I’d like to make is the pointlessness of claiming that you are bored of a particular type of food. I just heard someone say “Kanda poha (a traditional and oh-so-yummy Indian dish) should be abolished ‘cuz it’s boring now.” Are you sure you won’t miss it when it’s gone?

Food is truly magical in every sense. If you learn to apply your senses to everything that is served to you as a meal/snack, you will see how wonderful a gift any kind of food is. Trust me, it works. Use this trick and you will never fall out of love with food again. And hey, don’t forget to be thankful for the magic ❇⭐🌟

Why thirst for 360-degree approval?

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Do you seek constant approval from people? Do you want to be liked/loved by everyone around you? Do you put your thoughts, energies and feelings into this? If yes, then could you please take some time off to think why you are so into gaining all-round approval? Why, you may ask. Let me tell you why: It’s just not too healthy.

I am not saying that accepting any kind of criticism from people is unnecessary. No. People who really matter to you – your close friends, your family, your manager – their opinions do matter. Cuz they contribute, in one way or another, to shape you into the person you are. But the one who sits next to you in a train, your cubicle neighbor at work who talks loudly, the team that gossips in hush-hush tones behind you 9 out of the 9.5 odd hours you spend at work? No, their thoughts and opinions don’t actually matter.

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Invest your energy and beliefs into loving yourself, loving your body, mind and soul. Look into your heart and do what it tells you. Work wholeheartedly toward achieving your dreams. Just do everything to make your life happy and fulfilling. Just remember to never hurt someone in the process and you are well on the way to be a better life ninja. Power to you.

The myth called privacy

“Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher get divorced!” “Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise split!”

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And why not spread the news? They are such colorful people!  So, true.

But just look at those couples. They look so happy and perfect together!

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Agreed they are in the film biz but I am sure they wouldn’t be overjoyed about having news of their split splashed across the media. Imagine the pain of separation coupled with the humiliation when news spreads and the media barge in with shameless questions!

I agree we all love these said glossies, but maybe, just maybe, we should let them have their moments of privacy when they are with each other and more so when they split. They are humans too – with real feelings. Don’t they deserve this much at least?

Just eat!

I have always been a health freak. “Oh, is this unhealthy?! I am not eating it!” “Oh, donuts cause cancer? I don’t want them!” (Note: I might make an exception with the latter one on particular occasions). But there was a phase in my life when I decided I wanted a flatter tummy and that, maybe, skipping a meal might do the trick.  Of course, the meal that got picked was breakfast—an easy choice considering the rush we all are in to reach work on time every morning. This was a bit tough on poor Mr. Tummy but hey, who asked him to get bigger than he was supposed to be in the first place?!

So that’s how started a month of skipping breakfast coupled with Yoga (like a Yoda). I am proud of the fact that I could still focus on work despite an empty stomach, but then the tummy size remained the same. And to add it to it, I developed pain in the lower left side of my abdomen. No, things weren’t looking good.

So then, the brainchild of skipping a meal was discarded. For good. Now, I am an advocate of regular exercise and a balanced meal. With this combo, I have actually lost more weight than before, and Mr. Tummy has gone back to being his old, lovable self once again. And now, I know the importance of having a good breakfast. Allow me to share some basic things I learnt from my own experiences (yes, experience IS a fantastic teacher!)

For all of you who love yourselves, it is safe to start falling in love with your breakfast (and those who don’t love yourselves, you better start loving yourselves first). This is one meal that actually helps to accelerate your metabolic rate—and if you love looking fit like me, I know you love to hear the word “metabolism” too. You actually allow your body to feel pampered and happy if you chomp down on a healthy breakfast. The meal’s a mood elevator, trust me on this one. So what should you ideally treat your body with in the form of a morning meal? Something that stimulates your body and provides you with enough energy to survive the day with a smile on your face (Yes, you will need a dose of positivity for the smile bit, but maybe that could be covered in another post). My favorite breakfast picks are brown-bread peanut butter sandwiches, breakfast muffins and muesli with milk or yogurt. Choose something that suits your palate—just ensure that it’s healthy. And don’t forget to fall in love with your breakfast!

Way too stylish: The natural way to go

Style is about elan. Style is about dignity. Style is about intimacy. Style is about intenseness. Style is about allurement.

Have you visited those Egyptian museums? Well, I haven’t. But, that’s not the point. The point is, have you seen the goodies they used to bury with the bodies of the ancient Egyptians? Don’t you think they believed in being stylish, then? Style has always mattered to the human race. I have seen photographs of the kind of head dresses that got buried with some of these bodies. Man, way too stylish for us to carry off. And, probably, THAT is exactly why they decided to carry those items with them when they got transferred to the other side. Why leave it behind for us, when we would not have the guts to use it? Fair enough. The human character has a natural bent toward self embellishment. The ancient Egyptians believed in catering to the said bent.

This is a trait prominent in all of us. Yeah, don’t deny it. You have the need to be fashionable in you too. And, this internal urge to look your best and the desire to don a new look on and off  is the target of the fashion world that churns profits in jillions. Smart, aren’t they?

I know you can relate to what I am saying. I am sure you have an anecdote to share with your friends that will talk about what clamant drives you get every other month to get your hairstyle changed, revamp your wardrobe or even get shoes of another color. I got my hair straightened more than a year back as it didn’t look stylish enough when it was wavy (aah, me!) I don’t say I regret doing it, ‘cuz hey, it still looks stylish. I wake up in the morning and my hair still looks set. Like that of a celebrity. Don’t we all like to look like celebrities in our own little way?! *Cough Cough*

Another urge I am not proud of is this need to raid my favorite mall every month to spend on clothes and other “cool” stuff. I have no idea what I want to buy. I just want to.

Now, I don’t think we can altogether kill this urge to be stylish. All we can do is try and use our older stuff more fashionable and add on to our style quotient. Maybe I can talk about this in my next blog. So, till then, keep it stylish! Keep it alive! And, keep feeding the voracious style demon within you!

Thank you, Comics

We are humans. Mere mortals. Not all of us are born craving for hard-to-comprehend literature. When I was a kid, I used to crave for reading material that made complete sense to me – comics. What did I like about them then? The color and images. Isn’t it surprising that we never found it hard to focus on comics? I admit, I used to enjoy reading my textbooks…but put comics beside them and I would never look at the school stuff a second time. I thank my mom for introducing me to comics and showing me that there is more to books than just “yawn.”

Reading doesn’t always have to be something “that is approved by literature critics.” Read what gives you joy. Pick up anything that is written. Author, no bar. If you are a parent and your aim is to get your kid reading, comics are THE answer. As kids, our mind cries out for a medley of things that keep us happy and…not bored. And let’s face it, comics DID give us the potpourri that we looked for.

If someone argued that comics are impractical and are aimed to entertain just kids, I would throw them off the cliff. OK, I many not be THAT violent in real life, but I may have a mental picture of me doing so. Why, you ask, am I so passionate  about comics? Well, of the many reasons I can state, the top-most in my mind is how appropriate it is to use comics for communication. As someone who handles communication for her firm, I know the importance of communication that is taken seriously by everyone.

If you are still not convinced, allow me to draw up a few more advantages I can think of. Here goes. The complicated technology (which, I admit, is relatively simplified now) that you need to develop videos is not something you require to give birth to engaging comics. Illustrations have a humanness of their own, don’t you think? A characteristic that is profusely attractive compared to camera shots. What’s more, with comics, even if you forget to leave a bookmark where you left off, you could always easily come back to the page and take off on a wondrous journey of fun. The combo of depiction and ideas has claim to more than your attention. It is powerful enough to take charge of your imagination.

Human clans have always had a weakness for stories, haven’t they? Add a pinch of comicalness to those stories, and voila! It’s the perfect dish to cure you of boredom! Yeah, you can thank me later for sharing the recipe.