Unlike in the past, hotels are nowadays starting to embrace technology, creating an amazingly automated experience for the visitors. Hotels are increasingly turning into hubs of activity, making IT more imperative to hotel operations and the guest experience than ever before.
Eight Hotel Technology Trends
With more and more consumers embracing new technology, as a hotel owner or operator, you should stay up-to-date on various technology trends, which may influence booking decisions of potential guests. Thus, the following is an updated list of some of the technology mega trends in hotels today.
1. Integrated Mobile Apps
It’s surprising how mobiles have created a lasting sense of immediacy. The ways that you used to interact with your guests is now changing at an alarming rate. Typically, cell phones have transformed the day-to-day hotel operations drastically from check-in options and mobile bookings to room access. The majority of hotel operators are aiming to include hotel-branded customer mobile apps and to deploy mobile key technology in their systems. This will improve not only your guest’s experience but also increase your revenue.
The next evolution of the mobile hotel key transforms it into data on your guest’s mobile device. Numerous hotels have already started implementing this technology, rendering operations more efficient. By implementing mobile key technology, your guests’ security is enhanced since you possess information on the guest with the key.
Many hotel brands have already released mobile apps that enable visitors to locate hotels using location-based technology, as well as to book or modify their reservations. Mobile apps also offer property concierge, account loyalty integration, and pre-arrival check-in services. This simply means that if you are in Washington, DC, for instance, you can receive a message to make a hotel reservation along with location-specific offers.
2. Cloud Computing
As a result of the huge data, hotels are nowadays dealing with in their daily operations; they are forced to turn to cloud computing for storage and easy accessibility. Cloud computing allows you to synchronize your hotel’s systems in real time, as well as update software and management systems instantly.
With the highly enhanced security and data protection offered by cloud technology, more hotels are expected to get on board. Security being the main concern, many hotel tech spending is focused on improving both the payment and data security. However, with the cloud’s unique security amenities, you are guaranteed to get complete data security. According to Cloud Times, cloud platforms offer hotels the following four primary advantages:
- Minimal cost and reduced essential resources
- Quicker deployment time
- Enhanced security
- More accessible data
3. Wi-Fi Infrastructure Overhauls
These days, virtually all hotel guests travel with smart devices. Phones, tablets, and computers are making Wi-Fi a must-have when they check into a hotel.
Since visitors require a seamless internet connection that is devoid of many interruptions, hotels are now aiming to invest in better, faster Wi-Fi infrastructure. This enables your guests to carry out their business and use their smart devices with ease while enjoying their stay in your hotel.
With almost 85 percent of hotel guests wanting free Wi-Fi access during their stay, hotels are now considering shifting from user-pay models. Although installing and maintaining a hotel-wide wireless network comes with huge expenses, many hotels are ready to change their current infrastructure and pricing models. This has led numerous hotels into installing high-density Wi-Fi and offering in-building mobile phone coverage to meet their guests’ needs.
4. Smart In-Room Devices
Another top on the list hotel technology trend is smart in-room technology, according to Samsung. This typically includes smart locks, wireless charging pads, in-room tablets, as well as smartphone-enabled check-in and checkout options.
A Samsung study reported that more than 20 percent of hotels would be planning to invest in smart in-room technology within the next 18 months. These improvements will range from stylish drapes and lighting, smart TVs for an improved viewing experience to virtual reality.
With all these smart in-room devices in place, it’s likely you may even select one hotel brand over another just because it provides the technological amenities you need for a comfortable stay.
5. Social-Driven IT
Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are powerful catalysts that transform the way hotel guests, partners, and employees use technology to interact with the outside world. Most hotels are yet to catch up to that reality,
The social media trend has gained great popularity all over the world at a breathtaking rate and with astonishing impact. For example, in the United States, Facebook is hugely supplanting text and e-mail as the main tool for communicating with friends. Similarly, social media has taken over the business world, mostly as an effective marketing tool. Online forums and Twitter feeds are becoming great sources of insight for marketers eager to know what consumers think.
Social media has come to the rescue for companies trying to get feedback and also adding a platform for advertising using posts and tweets on Facebook and Twitter. Users are also being allowed to take photos and share via Instagram, and the continued social media engagement will see companies and other agencies in the hospitality industry receiving feedback from their customers. The hotel staff, on the other hand, will oversee the response to the customers in real time.
6. Location-Based Services
Though this kind of technology has not faced much development, it has a major impact. There is an excellent remedy in knowing where all the hotel staff and guests are located at all times. There is increased opportunity created in making the guests comfortable and addressing to their needs whenever one arises. The staff can operate efficiently and addressing client needs can be done quickly.
7. Robots and Infrared Sensors
More experience in the future is brought closer with some hotels offering robot services in delivering items ordered through room service to the appropriate door. One hotel, located at Apple’s headquarters, and other technology related companies is using Butler. Butler is a robot that can traverse various floors and deliver items to guests such as toothbrushes and snacks. Apart from helping with the delivery, people can experience digital technology at first hand while at the hotel.
To minimize disruptions, infrared scanners are now being used to tell whether a room needs cleaning or it’s engaged. The tradition of hanging ‘engaged’ signs on the doors for a cleaner to know that a room needs attendance later is changing. Now, you don’t even have to use a phone or knock to alert for room service anymore. The scanners use infrared to detect body heat in a room and tell whether a cleaner can enter a room or not.
8. NFC Technology
You can now communicate within your hotel premises using short-range, high-frequency wireless enabled communication (NFC – Near Field Communication) that gives you, your staff, and guests the ability to exchange data between devices in the hotel. The speed of communication goes up to 424 KB/s, and it is achieved by just enabling contact of two devices. This is good for mobile payments, which are also secure and instant. The guests can use the advantage here to check in, and it contributes to a new trend in smart room keys.
In addition to this wireless technology, something has been added and that is personalizing your experience as a guest in a resort or hotel. Now guests can get advertisements depending on their age and gender. An attendant can also check a guests’ loyalty by how he or she uses the facilities in the hotel. It’s an opportunity for those hotels that want to personalize their guests’ experience.
The Takeaway For The Future
The ongoing wave of change in business and technology offers an incredible opportunity for hoteliers to make strategic technology investments and fully leverage the numerous benefits that come with technological advances.
These are some of the technologies that will enable hotels to distinguish themselves, improve guest relationships, and generate new revenue streams. Technology will completely redefine the guest experience in ways that hoteliers and guests relate to each other, how guests deal with their on-property experiences, and how hoteliers market new products and services to make additional revenue streams and increased revenue per room.