In 2023, the majority of hospitality operators don’t need much convincing that investing in technology is the price of keeping pace with the competition.
While much of this tech operates behind the scenes, where the customer will never see it — think property management systems and other back-office software — today’s savvy travelers expect their hotel stay to be a high-tech one.
5 things to remember as you choose software for your hotel tech stack
Customization and personalization in hospitality improves guest experience
Building a smart hotel? Here are 6 tools you should consider
Travelers embrace the use of mobile devices
Recently, we told you about a Hospitality Technology study in which 76% of survey respondents reported that they would be willing to pay a premium (in the form of a slightly higher room rate) for technology features that are important to them.
Here are a few other key findings from that same survey:
73% of respondents embrace the use of mobile devices to make reservations and interact with a hotel.
91% said they were more likely to choose a hotel that offers free WiFi over one that doesn’t.
73% said they were likely to return to a hotel that offers tech features that they consider important.
Smart hotels provide smart rooms
There are many ways to incorporate high-tech features into the guest journey, from online booking to mobile check-in and check-out. To really wow tech-savvy travelers, however, hoteliers are advised to bring the cutting-edge features right to customers in their own hotel rooms.
A smart hotel room can be defined as a technologically advanced space that uses various sensors, devices and software to automate and personalize various aspects of the guest experience.
Harnessing the Internet of Things
Smart rooms typically rely on a network of interconnected devices and software systems (the so-called "Internet of Things", or IoT technology) that work together to automate various tasks and provide personalized services to guests.
These devices may include sensors that detect occupancy and adjust room settings accordingly, voice-activated virtual assistants that allow guests to easily adjust various aspects of their room, and smart locks that allow guests to enter their room using their smartphone or a key card.
In smart hotel rooms, guests have the ability to adjust factors such as room temperature and lighting to suit their personal needs, often through the use of a mobile app or an in-room device such as a tablet.
Smart electronic devices
We have previously told you about London’s COMO The Halkin hotel, which offers touchscreen consoles in guest rooms. These smart electronic devices can be used to call a staff member, control light switches, adjust room temperature and activate a “do not disturb” mode.
Technology is also revamping room service for the next generation.
At the Eliot Hotel in Boston, for example, guests can use the digital concierge to order room service or extra amenities, or to request the nightly turndown at a specific time.
Use cases for smart technology
Here are a few ways that hotel companies can use smart technology to create an elevated customer experience:
Voice-controlled virtual assistants
A smart room may have voice-activated virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home that allow guests to control various aspects of their room with voice commands.
Smart rooms may have automated lighting that automatically turns itself on or off based on motion sensors, ambient light levels or preset schedules.
A smart room may have automated climate control systems that adjust the temperature based on an individual guest's preference or occupancy sensors.
Smart rooms may have high-tech entertainment systems that include smart TVs with access to streaming services, surround sound and voice-activated controls.
A smart room may have digital locks that allow guests to enter their room using their smartphone or a key card. Some locks may even use facial recognition technology to grant access.
Automated room service
Smart hotels may have automated systems that allow users to order food and drinks, extra towels or other amenities directly from their room using an app or voice commands.
A smart guest room may have sustainable features like energy-efficient lighting, water-saving fixtures, and smart thermostats that help reduce the hotel's environmental footprint.
Smart hotels may have advanced security features like biometric sensors, video surveillance, or anti-theft systems that help ensure guest safety and prevent unauthorized access.
A smart room may be designed to integrate seamlessly with guests' phones or tablet devices, allowing them to stream content or access information using hotel-provided technologies.
Reduced energy consumption lowers operational costs
Putting all of this technology in place may require a significant initial investment, but the advantages for hotel operators are numerous.
For example, smart technology can reduce the property’s energy consumption, because it can be programmed to automatically reduce power usage during certain hours of the day, and to power everything down in a room when guests are not present.
This could help reduce operational costs in the long run.
Smart rooms create upselling opportunities
Smart rooms also create upselling opportunities for the hotel, by making it easier for guests to make a reservation at the hotel’s restaurant or arrange a spa appointment.
When looking for how to improve guest satisfaction, smart rooms can open up even more new revenue opportunities by allowing hotels to offer guests more personalized services and experiences.
For example, hotel operators can use data analytics and artificial intelligence to recommend local restaurants or attractions based on guests' preferences and past behavior.
Creating a unified experience
Consider the various touchpoints that a guest might have with a hotel.
Whether they want to book a massage, make a reservation at the restaurant, book a late check-out or ask for a wake up call, guests need a central place to make these requests.
By employing a centralized platform that’s accessible across various devices, hotels can meet this need while also freeing up front desk staff to focus on in-person interactions as needed.
The BOWO and HOTEZA platforms, for instance, allow guests to access their booking details and any amenities from multiple devices including the room’s television or tablet or the hotel’s mobile app.
This unified experience makes it much easier for guests to make the most of their stay and also reduces the burden on hotel staff — making it a smarter approach that benefits both parties.
A game-changer for the hotel industry
Smart room technology is a game-changer for the hotel industry, offering guests a more comfortable, convenient and personalized experience while helping hotel owners streamline their operations and boost revenue.
As technology and hotel trends continue to evolve, expect smart hotel rooms to become even more sophisticated, providing guests with truly unforgettable experiences.
PressReader has become a key component of tech stacks in smart hotels around the world. Learn more about how we’re partnering with members of the hospitality industry.