While the impact of the “Great Recession” of 2008 varied by industry, one sector has already bounced back to pre-market downturn levels – the travel arena.  The reality is that many sectors have yet to fully rebound as others, such as the government contracting industry, are dealing with a second-wave recession.

This is not the case with the travel industry.  The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the travel industry added 7,000 jobs in January, reaching a total of 14.6 million. Much of this growth is due to growth in international travel to the U.S., especially from countries like China, Brazil, Japan and Australia.

In addition, according to the U.S. Travel Association, the travel industry has added jobs at a rate 19 percent faster than the economy as a whole.

So what does this mean when it comes to innovation and hoteliers? Now is the ideal time to invest in next-generation innovations that provide fully personalized experiences for guests. With increased competition in the battle for brand loyalty, the right innovations can provide true differentiation, enhance word-of-mouth referrals and drive additional revenue.

Much of this comes down to a philosophical approach where hoteliers aim to provide a completely frictionless guest experience. This includes leveraging the right data insights to anticipate a travelers needs before, during and after their stays.  It also involves providing travelers with the right information when and where they want it – whether on mobile devices or through traditional desktop experiences.

It is surely a good sign that the travel sector is rebounding at a rapid pace.  With the dark days being potentially behind us, now is the right time for hotels to look ahead and innovate in ways that allow them to stand head-and-shoulders above the competition.