7 Smart Hotel Technology Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore
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Staying at a hotel for the first time is a lot like going on a blind date.
It can be stressful, the food can be bad, and oftentimes bare minimum hygienic standards are not met.
That's why hotel owners everywhere spend a great deal of time thinking about how to improve the experience of lodging with them.
One way that hotel owners can elevate guest comfort is through smart technology. Smart technology can offer many benefits to hotel management and guests alike, and with all the recent advancements in the tech world, of smart technology is becoming more of a necessity than an option.
In this article, we'll be covering the most essential smart hotel technology trends for the hospitality industry of today, and what kind of benefits they can bring to the travel experience.
Trend #1: Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Robotic workers are being integrated across many industries, for a variety of reasons. Robotic workers are more reliable, more consistent, and oftentimes more efficient than their human counterparts.
Even within the hospitality industry, where human to human interaction is essential for solving complex problems, there is always space for robots to attend to more menial tasks and even enhance the property's current offerings. So, where can a robot step in to supplement human productivity?
The Robot Butler
24/7 Room service. Need I say more?
Seriously though, imagine being able to provide express food and item delivery service to your guests around the clock.
Our Richie robot, for example, is a robot butler that enables you to provide these round-the-clock delivery services. Richie can ride elevators to deliver items to guests, show guests to their rooms, and guide guests toward hotel amenities.
This is especially important these days, as many hotels have had to cut back on their room service offerings due to the labor shortage.
With robot workers like Richie, not only are properties able to effectively meet their guest's needs, but having a robot or several on your property is a novelty most guests will enjoy. People absolutely love being able to interact with a robot, especially one as cute as Richie.
There are many other roles that a robot can fill in a hotel, as well. Robot waiters and robot bartenders can improve food and beverage service, while floor cleaning robots can take care of sanitation needs.
Robots can be a fantastic addition to any hotel looking to attract more guests, and run a more lean operation. The labor shortage is affecting hotel properties in serious ways. Robots can fill this gap.
Trend #2: Virtual Room Tours
Virtual room tours provide guests with a sneak peek of what the experience of staying at your property will be like.
Creating virtual room tour videos like these not only provides guests with a better understanding of what their experience will be, it also shows them that you are willing to utilize the latest trends in technology to help make their booking decision easier, and their stays more fun.
There are two main styles of virtual room tours, those that are filmed with 360 degree cameras and those that are filmed with a standard camera.
360 Degree Camera Tours
These virtual tours are incredibly immersive, because they utilize a 360 degree camera to provide the tour. This style allows the viewer to either wear VR goggles to view the video, or it enables the user to adjust the viewing angle of the camera while the video is playing on their smartphone or computer to examine every angle of the environment they will be staying in.
While this is awe-inspiring technology, it might not be the right choice for every hotel. Some demographics may find this technology hard to interact with, which might produce the opposite intended effect of attracting more hotel guests.
Guided Camera Tour
With a guided camera tour, a conventional camera is used to film a tour throughout the hotel. With this method, you are able to have greater control of what you are showing the hotel guests. You can use this to your advantage by highlighting particularly attractive areas of the hotel and ignoring less desirable features.
From a consumer standpoint, all one has to do to watch this video is press play. No additional technology or interaction is required. This means that you aren’t alienating anybody who might be unfamiliar with viewing 360 degree videos.
You’re also able to build a better connection between the audience and the people on camera with this style of video, as the employees’ or actors’ appearance won't be distorted by the 360 degree camera lens.
Tips for Virtual Tours
Before filming either style of video, the following should be considered:
Be sure to take advantage of the power of editing to highlight the specific features and benefits that your hotel provides.
Show real people utilizing the features, benefits, and amenities of your property to help viewers visualize themselves taking advantage of them.
Use real employees on the video to create a sense of authenticity.
If you have a stunning view, make sure to show it off!
Trend #3: Smart Air Filters
Devices that use UV powered sterilization technology, like these made by Air Shield, are a great investment for providing a sanitary environment and peace of mind for your hotel guests. Filters like these utilize ultraviolet light to sterilize and clean the air that you breathe as it comes out of the air conditioning system.
These filters are effective against 99.99% of viruses and bacteria, and produce no noise. In an increasingly health conscious world, these filters can be a great selling point for potential hotel guests, and can increase guest satisfaction.
Trend #4: Mobile Room Keys
One smart hotel technology trend that seems inevitable is the integration of mobile room keys.
A mobile room key is a digital key and lock system for hotel rooms that allows guests to unlock rooms with a smartphone via bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC).
Mobile room keys make sense from all angles, and that’s why they’re “at least a consideration for 95 percent of hotels nowadays, whether it’s new or retrofits”, according to Barbara Kryzwoszanski, senior product manager of systems for Dormakaba. So what are the benefits of mobile room keys?
If most guests are able to unlock their room with their phone, it eliminates the need for plastic waste caused by going through tons of plastic magstripe keycards. This is especially important for travelers who are increasingly eco-conscious.
Mobile key cards, on the other hand, offer significant security improvements for hotels and guests. These security improvements offer peace of mind to your guests, and allow them to sleep soundly knowing that their rooms are well secured.
Trend #5: Chatbots
Chatbots are a fantastic piece of technology that can be utilized by hotels to both reduce the administrative load of your staff and assist guests who are perhaps shy about speaking up if there is a problem. By providing an artificial intelligence powered chatbot that is easily accessible to guests, common questions can be more easily and quickly answered.
AI software can answer frequently asked questions day or night. If the AI software isn’t able to answer a guest’s question it will instantly connect them with an employee from the comfort of their hotel room.
These ai systems can be especially useful for guests who are perhaps introverted by nature, or who do not speak the hotel staff’s natural languages. By using these AI chatbot systems, hotel guests are more easily able to access what they need without the need for additional staff to meet the guest's needs.
Trend #6: Digital Check-In
Imagine you’re a traveler who has spent all day in a hectic airport, probably caught a layover, and spent your flights stuffed in a tiny seat with no room to move around. What’s the last thing you want to do when you get to a hotel? Wait in line! Well, with a digital check-in system in place, guests can skip the line and head right to their hotel room upon arrival.
This will not only be a relief to guests weary from travel, but it will also allow your hotel staff to focus on more important things, such as assisting customers with specific issues. Staff members will see their work load significantly reduced, as they will spend less time looking up reservations, charging credit cards, and assigning keycards for every guest. This is a win-win for both staff and guests.
Trend #7: Streaming Services
Did you know that streaming TV viewership in the US has surpassed cable viewership as of August 2022? According to one study, about 34.8 percent of viewing time happens with internet services, while 34.4 percent of viewership went to cable. It's clear that streaming is the preferred choice for most travelers.
When thinking about accommodations for your guests, it’s important to consider this data. Streaming is not only gaining popularity, but it also provides more viewing options to hotel guests. Additionally, investing in streaming services makes sense financially, as they are often more affordable than their traditional TV alternatives. Because of this shift in preference, now is a great time to switch over to streaming, or at least provide your guests with that option.
At the end of the day, whether you’re on a blind date or you’re the owner of a hotel, putting in effort to provide a great experience sets you apart from the competition.
Taking advantage of the latest smart hotel technology trends not only shows your guests that you’re willing to go above and beyond to provide comfort, it also shows your employees that you’re willing to invest in smart technology to make their jobs easier.
Did you like this list? Do you have questions about introducing robots into your hotel? Simply hit the contact button in the navigation bar and a friendly member of our team will reach out to you shortly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is smart hotel technology?
Smart hotel technology is equipment and technologies used in hotels to improve guest experience and streamline daily operations. These smart hotel applications can improve communication between hotel staff and hotel guests alike. These smart technologies can also help reduce a hotel's environmental footprint with smart energy management. Oftentimes, iot-connected devices are leveraged in order to create smart hotels. Common examples of smart technology used in hotels include voice control for in-room features, smartphone check-in, and mobile room keys.
What are the features of a smart hotel?
Features of a smart hotel include state of the art technology and characteristics to allow for an improved experience. These smart features are usually data driven, and allow hotels to gain insight into certain aspects of a stay at their hotel. Common features of a smart hotel include voice controlled room elements, functions controlled through smartphones, and energy efficient maintenance for their properties.
How is smart technology used in the hospitality industry?
The hospitality industry is rapidly adopting smart technology used to improve guest experience. Hotels and other businesses in the hospitality sector are starting to use automation solutions, iot tech, and solutions to collect data that helps improve customer services. Smart tech like these helps hotel staff to easily make repairs, but it also helps management deliver a better experience, which guests also greatly appreciate.
What are the technologies used in the hotel industry?
7 Smart Hotel Technology Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Virtual and Augmented Reality Room Tours
Smart Air Filters
Room Access Through Smartphones
Chatbots and Mobile Communication
What makes smart technology smart?
What makes technology smart is its ability to communicate and establish interconnectivity with other smart technologies over the web. Through intelligent connection, “smart” components make it possible for you to accomplish several tasks with just a few clicks and make use of data to understand how improvements can be made.
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Timothy Tanksley is the marketing director of Richtech Robotics and a former member of the technical team. From childhood onwards, Timothy has tinkered with robotics and automation and loved every minute of it.
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