Is technology the future of hotels?
18th November 2022
Hotel technology has advanced tremendously since the 1900s when it was common to have just telephones in hotel rooms.
But what are the current trends of technology like now?…
How is technology and customer expectations impacting on what hotels are doing?
Since new technologies are constantly emerging and customer preferences are continuously changing, hotels have to regularly reorganise and reinvent themselves (Tuomi, Tussyadiah and Stienmetz, 2021). Technology is essential in hotels as it is proven to enhance guest satisfaction (Cobanoglu et al., 2011).
Marriott Hotel is a popular and reputable hotel chain which offers a mobile app to check-in, chat with a hotel host and access your hotel room key via iPhone or Apple Watch. You can utilise their Meeting Services app, which speaks various languages, allows you to manage your bill and access service requests.
Hilton Hotel has introduced a new digital key share which allows up to four additional guests to share the digital key through the Hilton Honours app. Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton is another exciting technological feature. It allows you to easily book and select which connecting rooms you would like.
Technology is causing increased competition between hotels to introduce the most innovative technology to satisfy customers. It could mean that some hotels may go out of business if they are not evolving and following the most recent technological trends.
What could the future of technology look like?
It’s exciting to think what the future of technology in hotels will look like. A personalised service will be a key aspect for the future of technology. According to Guestline (2019) and Saul (2022) the hotel of the future will include:
- Artificial intelligence and voice-controlled rooms, imagine being able to just chat to your in-room i-concierge to draw the blinds or ask for room service.
- Digital glass used to offer personalised imagery in glass or turn the glass walls opaque. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to personalise the décor in your hotel room?
- A wireless hotel will be implemented with invisible technology, e.g., glass TV that is personalised to the guest with their favourite films and shows.
- As technology develops, robots will appear more in the future of hotels. There will be robots that show empathy and interact with guests and ones that don’t, depending on the preference of the customer.
Technology is an efficient method hotels can utilise to stand out from their competition, increase customer loyalty and be successful. Here are some interesting advantages of using technology from the perspective of hotels and customers:
Issues with using technology in hotels.
Although technology can provide a range of benefits, here are some issues regarding technology implementation in hotels:
- Support and service of software.
- Human interaction may be a preference over technology.
- Safety issues.
- Privacy concerns.
- Loss of jobs.
Here are examples of times when advanced technology failed.
Japan opened its mainly robot-operated ‘Henn na Hotel’ in 2015. With 243 robots in a mixture of areas, after only four years, it removed more than half of them and decided to employ more human workers instead because:
- Several complaints from customers and staff.
- Robots unable to answer basic questions.
- Failed to reduce costs.
- Disruptive behaviour.
- Often broke.
Capsule hotels are popular in Japan. They are cheap. However, they are proven to be hackable. With limited security and iPods that control everything, hackers can control each room’s lights, temperature etc. Not ideal for those who want to stay the night.
Using technology the right way.
Here are some useful solutions that hotel managers could use to overcome the challenges of technology:
- Introduce predictive maintenance, by using sensor data to identify trends which are wasteful or hazardous, the maintenance staff would be able to solve the issue before it results in higher costs for repairs.
- Have a regular cybersecurity training program to ensure the workforce is well-trained.
- Have cybersecurity measures: firewalls, anti-malware and network monitoring.
- Card information and anything personal should always be encrypted and then erased.
- To not rebuild everything in one go, one step at a time, introduce and enlarge the innovations and strategies, that way, they can be easier to control and would be less overwhelming to employees or customers.
- Flashy is not always better, hotel brands should not always follow the curve to impress guests or investors, as lovely as it would be to have room service robots because competitors did the same, how helpful would it be when the property website has not been updated in years, and the CRM technology is absent.
There is no limit to the human mind; the only limit would be how willingly we accept these changes and innovations.
So…as a final thought
What is your opinion on what the future could hold for hotels? How do you find the idea of technology steadily evolving within hotels? Leave a comment below.