- the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.
Love it or loathe it…there is no getting away from technology these days, it has become so advanced that humans now depend on it in every area of their lives. Whilst some may worry about this fast advancement, for most, they see technology as a way to drive efficiencies and improve everyday activities.
For the hospitality industry, future technology is mainly geared towards improving the guest experience in hotels, and its currently undergoing a huge transformation, with companies such as Airbnb changing society’s perception of what a hotel is. According to recode.net, Airbnb alone reached nearly 7% of the industry’s revenue last year, with the amount of business trips booked also tripling. Combining this with people being less loyal to certain hotel chains, traditional hotels are having to come up with new and innovative ways to make staying with them as enjoyable and hassle free as possible.
Here are 4 technology trends coming in the very near future…
#1 Smart Everything.
‘The future’s bright, the future’s orange’ we were once told. Whilst the future definitely is bright, one would argue the future is in fact ‘Smart’.
Smartphones are now such an integral part of our lives we can’t live without them. Our homes are becoming smarter by the day and this trend will most definitely follow into the hospitality industry.
We have already seen hints of this happening with the arrival of ‘smart doors’ in hotels (allowing guests to skip the check in and use their phones to unlock the door), but this is just the beginning of the ‘smart revolution’ with the major chains such as Hilton having already committed to the roll out of “Smart Hotel Rooms” in 2018.
A fully integrated “Smart Hotel Room” will put you, the guest, at the centre of everything so the room can be personalised to your exact taste. It will already know what room temperature you like to sleep at and will adjust automatically. Perhaps you wanted to watch some television? The room will know your favourite programmes without you having to ask and your favourite beverage will already be in the fridge, ready to be enjoyed with the lighting set just how you like it.
Room service can be ordered on your phone and in the future, it won’t be a human delivering it to your door….
#2 Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Once the stuff of futuristic films and dystopian nightmares…. the advancement of artificial intelligence means robots are now a very real thing and have slowly been rolling their way into the hotel lobby since way back in 2014.
Johnny 5 is alive and moving into 2018 and beyond, being serviced by these helpful little robots will become ever more common as the industry implements robotics to not only keep operating costs down but also improve the customer experience and increase satisfaction. This new electronic workforce can help with almost every part of your stay – from handling and storing luggage to delivering room service (most likely ordered through your smart phone or your voice activated smart room).
By using technology not dissimilar to that of driverless cars, Robots will also able to take care of the housekeeping for hotels, which is good news for the hotel owners as Housekeeping is their highest variable cost, and housekeeping attendants have the highest injury rates in the service sector.
But before you worry the robots are taking over…don’t fret! They won’t fully take away the need for a human element, but will be used as a supplement to help reduce the high costs involved.
#3 Data… Making it Personal.
Data – the oil of the digital age and a commodity that can wield great wealth for those know how to use it. This new commodity is in high abundance thanks to smartphones and the internet becoming ever more integrated into our lives. Everything we do – from where we go, the food we order and the things we search online for is stored and then distilled to offer an individual, personalised service.
Hotel guests are becoming ever more demanding and their expectations have never been higher, so like most companies, hotels will rely ever more on data to maintain existing customers and win over new ones.
Data in its rawest form can be quite intimidating, and hotels are learning how to understand this information so they can use it to its maximum advantage. Using data, hotels will be able to offer tailored, targeted advertising to consumers as well as use their own data capture to prioritise high spending customers and up sell products.
For business travellers, although they may not spend a lot when on their trips, they can be frequent and tend to have a much higher lifetime value, so using business travel data to ensure they have a great customer experience is paramount and hotel staff will be given access to client data prior to the stay so they can make informed decisions on things which will increase the customer experience.
[Note: For those who are reluctant to give this information to multiple suppliers, if you have a good travel management company (TMC) in place they can act as a centralised place to store all your important information and pass only the relevant details on when making bookings.]
#4 Virtual Reality
Like robots, Virtual Reality used to be confined to futuristic films such as ‘The Matrix’ and ‘The Lawnmower Man’ and whilst it has taken longer than most thought to take off, Virtual Reality is here and doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon, with analysts predicting it will be a 150-billion dollars or (one hundred eleven million, eight hundred nineteen million GBP) industry by 2020.
Coming in the near future, hotels will be able to offer guests a virtual reality tour of their hotel from the comfort of their own homes in a bid to lure guest back from the ‘gig hotel economy’ to traditional hotels. Once in the hotel, a Virtual Reality information desk linked to an Artificial Intelligence concierge service can provide a guide to locations and events, with guests being able to use VR to visit far away paradise locations without having to leave their room.
With VR becoming more and more common, Hotels will be able to offer their guests experiences only limited to their imagination.
What do you think about the advancement of technology in hotels? Are you ready for Virtual Reality and to be served by robots when booking your business travel? We’d love to hear from you! Just leave a comment in the box below…