There’s always so much discussion around what’s next in hotel service and technology. The focus on guest experience has intensified in reaction to the rising expectations of global travellers, with new technology and strategies being developed to meet this challenge.
However, the future has quickly become the present. Industry-changing innovation is now upon us and the time has come for hotels to stop planning for them and start implementing them.
Here are the key guest-facing technology features your hotel should be taking advantage of to optimise guest satisfaction.
The ‘Internet of Things’ creates a more seamless stay
The connection and integration between different technologies and devices has been hotly anticipated by most industries, and it provides huge opportunities for hotels.
For a guest, walking into a ‘smart’ room where they can immediately sync and exchange data with every electronic device from their phone is the new height of convenience and efficiency. This is what the Internet of Things (IoT) offers, with experts predicting around 30 billion objects making up the network by 2020.
Already, IoT products like LED lighting, automated curtains, temperature control, virtual concierge, smart TVs, and more are changing the way guests navigate their hotel stay. Even though traditional hands-on hospitality is still valuable, the ability of technology integration to speed-up and simplify certain processes means some of the best guest service is now hands-off.
These new standards won’t be a luxury for long, but a necessity for all hotels.
Mobile functions help automate and optimise the hotel experience
Sensors are already hugely popular, replacing buttons, handles, or other traditional mechanisms to enter rooms or operate devices. Mobile phones are an extension of this, eliminating a lot of physical interaction at the hotel.
Hotels need to take advantage all the features mobile can offer. Being able to check in and out, unlock the room, order room service, and make amenity bookings are all actions guests will be thrilled to perform via their mobile phone.
An even better, 5G, mobile service is on the horizon so hotels should implement a mobile-first approach to service at their hotel and also ensure they have a mobile app for guests to download. Even a simple text message is an underrated way to serve guests.
Many properties, including Hotel Irvine in California, let guests text for just about anything they need, and The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Arizona has a dedicated texting concierge ready to handle any requests.
Guest personalisation goes to a new level with technology
Hotels now have access to technology that can give them an unprecedented amount of data on their guests. Knowing who their guests are and how they behave allows hotels to target and assist them in a much more specific way.
In a survey, 69% of hotels said they plan to track guests’ location, facilities used and preferences to have more success in selling hotel amenities, packages, and extras.
Personal data is fast becoming the number one commodity for hotels. With data comes a wealth of insights, helping deliver a personal touch for every guest.
Virtual reality will create a more immersive experience
While the gaming industry is well and truly entrenched in virtual reality (VR), hotels can also use it give guests a unique way to engage hotels and their destination. Even if it’s as simple as allowing guests to enter a VR booth and trial the facilities of the hotel and the attractions of the surrounding city, the hotel will then know exactly what they’re guest is interested in and generate more revenue by upselling and cross-selling.
Beyond this, entire tailored VR experiences can be offered to guests for them to take from the comfort of their room.
All this is without even mentioning artificial intelligence, another strong progressor when it comes to hotels adopting technology. There are now many service bots employed in hotels to act as concierges and cleaners, making life easier for both guests and staff.