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.
As a f&b assistant within a hotel chain I found this article very interesting. I think that finding the balance between useful technology and still enabling employee motivation is becoming increasingly difficult for hotel managers to decipher.
As a hotel employee, increasingly I am seeing an increase in customer demand for a more personal approach to hospitality. Where do you think the balance is? And is technology more appropriate for different types of hospitality over others?
Thank you so much for your response. It’s interesting to hear your view on technology in hotels and the challenges around it. We agree that there is an increase in customer demand for a more personal approach to hospitality. Regarding the balance for it, many hotels are currently adopting technology (i.e., apps, smart room keys, chatbots and contactless payments) but also having the customer service facing interaction of reception being open 24/7, having staff around the hotel to help and alternative options for those who would rather not use technology. Therefore, there is that balance and option for customers to decide whether they would like to use technology or not. We think that technology is appropriate in all hospitality settings as it is proven to be an effective method to enhance the customer experience and provide a personalised service. From your point of view as a f&b assistant, do you think technology will become more dominant in the future?
I enjoyed this read. I agree that hotels should continue to use technology but also have that human presence that some people like.
Do you believe that hotels could become entirely AI and technology based in the future?
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog! We believe that hotels may be entirely Al and technological based in the future as technology continues to develop and there is a significant increase in demand for technology. It does all depend on customer preferences as some prefer to utilise technology and be contact-free, whereas others like the human presence and not using technology in hotels. It will be exciting to see what the future holds. What do you think the future of hotels will be like?
This is a really interesting blog with some great points! It is great to hear some examples of hotels who have already incorporated technology into their hotels. I agree that technology is definitely going to appear more in hotels in the future and customers may benefit from the convenience of using technology. However, should we be more concerned about the loss of jobs? Will this mean the remaining staff are over-worked/stretched to cover more departments?
Thank you very much for commenting on the blog; it’s intriguing to hear your opinion on the future of technology in hotels. We think that at the moment, the hospitality industry is looking for more staff which is why some hotels are using robots to help the hotel labour crisis. However, the future in terms of staffing in hotels is uncertain as technology continues to advance; it could be that it adapts so fast that there could be a loss of jobs. Currently, many hotels are running with an interpersonal and technological approach to accommodate the different preferences of customers. It is vital that, as hotel managers, we evolve to the changes that technology brings. An interesting website related to this is: https://www.hospitalityinsights.com/content/can-robots-solve-hotel-labour-crisis. Would you prefer a hotel to offer both technology and an interpersonal approach or just be solely based on technology?
that was a good blog to read! it’s really interesting to read about hotels and technology since technology is really taking over in this generation. But will it only be on specific tasks or departments? what if there will be loss of job offers because IA has taken over the tasks humans do.
We are happy to hear that you enjoyed reading our blog! Currently, we believe that technology is being used in hotels to make specific departments of a hotel more efficient. For example, having predictive maintenance, which uses sensor data and helps inform maintenance staff of wasteful or hazardous trends. Similarly, using remote check-in/check-out is beneficial to manage staffing needs, alerts staff when guests arrive and enables them to be in different hotel departments. You can find more information here: https://www.hotelmanagement.net/tech/10-ways-smart-technology-reshaping-hotel-industry. At the moment, we think technology is being used to make hotels and staffing more efficacious rather than causing a loss of jobs. On the contrary, the future of hotel staffing is unknown, but if technology continues to evolve rapidly, it could have an immense impact on jobs. Do you think technology will influence the number of jobs in the future?
This was quite an interesting read. I would honestly find it fascinating to see how hotels grow with the changes in technology in the future. It could be hard to evolve with robots and it may be expensive, but I guess only time can tell.
We appreciate you commenting on our blog! We’re glad you found the blog interesting to read. We agree that it is intriguing to see what the future holds for technology and the challenges around technology implementation in hotels. We hope this blog helped you better visualise the future of technology in hotels!
Statistics were very interesting to see and did not know that about hotels in Japan! We’re definitely going hybrid, but won’t ever go full tech.
Thank you so much for commenting on our blog! We are glad this blog informed you with new knowledge on technology in hotels. It is fascinating to hear that you think that hotels won’t go full-tech. This is common with hotels as many are running with a technological and interpersonal approach, but it is exciting to see what the future of technology holds…
I really enjoyed this read. It was interesting and it had some great points. Hotels should continue to make use of technology but they aldo shouldn’t forget about human interactions and how important they are.
We are glad you enjoyed reading our blog! It is interesting to see that you think hotels should not dismiss human interactions when using technology. We agree and think that hotels are based on customer service and human interactions, so it is important that hotels do not dismiss this when utilising technology.
I liked this blog. It was very interesting. The hotels should use more technology, but also have same human employees, because human interaction is important.
Thank you for your response; we are happy to hear that you found the blog interesting! We agree with you and believe that having both technology and human employees in a hotel is critical to have that balance and meet the different customers’ needs.
As someone who completed their placement in the hotel industry this is a really interesting read. Introducing technology in hotels can be a massive benefit and can help you to work more efficiently, however I don’t think technology could ever completely replace human interaction especially when dealing with complaints and problems
Thank you for your comment on our blog. It is intriguing to hear your opinion about how technology can be beneficial but cannot fully replace human interaction. Nowadays, many companies have the option to talk to an A.I. when it comes to minor complains and problems. Although not as easy as talking to a person, it did help by reducing the waiting time for customers and made it faster too. During your placement, did you encounter any issues with using technology?
Very interesting blog with many valuable insights. Technology in hotels and hostels are definitely a contemporary topic to talk about, especially when guests nowadays want their experience at the hotel be quick and painless. They want convenience. From my personal and professional experience, technologies are extremely useful: WiFi in guest rooms, smart locks on doors ans 24/7 service. Using IoT technologies will offer smart rooms with many state-of-the-art technologies, which will enhance and personalise the experience of the guests. It will also improve smart energy managmenet, allowing to save money. The questions are: whether these technologies, robots and AI will make the guests feel safer, will it actually save money without hurting the quality, and whether they will be able to catch up with and exceed constantly changing people expectations?
We are happy to hear that you found our blog very interesting! We agree with you that technology is useful for improving the guest experience in hotels. In current times with covid-19, technology is an important element in keeping guests safe in hotels. For instance, having contactless check-in reduces face-to-face contact and long lines, keyless entry eliminates touching the lock or the card and a digital concierge is helpful for providing a personalised service. A useful link for this is: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4110047.html. Although technology can cause issues such as cybersecurity breaches, it is essential that hotels manage this problem. This can be done through keeping on top of the systems and updating them often, i.e., using cloud service daily, having weekly server backups and following these up with quarterly and yearly backups.
We think that if hotels invest in the right technologies, it will reduce costs, e.g., smart energy management systems can reduce hotel energy costs by up to 20%. Likewise, having predictive maintenance, mobile room keys and smart room service are all efficient methods of technology that can improve the customer experience. However, investing in robots may be less effective as shown by the examples of the hotels in Japan mentioned in the blog, they failed to reduce costs and caused issues with hackers. Regarding robots, we feel that at the moment more people would rather have human interaction over this as it does not offer the same service and can be proven to be inefficient. We believe that hotels will have to evolve rapidly to keep up with the latest trends of technology and customer expectations. This could be quite hard and costly for some hotels that have only just caught up with the recent trends and customer demands, to then catch up with the newer trends. Do you think that there needs to be an improvement in terms of the safety and reliability of technology in hotels?
A very informative blog!
I especially liked how you put keywords and phrases in bold.
As technology is advancing, I believe that the hospitality industry need to make relevant changes within their organisations so they keep up with todays trends. However, I don’t believe robots are necessarily needed to the extent of them being empathetic. As a consumer myself, I would rather deal with a person face to face, for instance if a problem occurs- rather than a robot who is programmed with a script.
Thank you so much for leaving a comment on our blog! It’s fascinating to hear your view on how hotels need to keep up with the latest technology trends. We agree with you on how important face-to-face interaction is in hotels especially if a problem occurs. As a consumer, do you think technology is a useful and important aspect of the hotel experience?
Thanks for the question. I do believe technology is useful in hotels, for example for checking, key cards, table service etc. Consumers can use online websites such as booking.com and hotel.com to get the cheapest deals on the same hotel rooms.
Thank you for your answer, Jessica; it is very insightful! Your view on technology being useful and how booking.com and hotels.com are helpful for finding the best deals is an interesting point. It is important that hotel managers keep up with the newest trends of technology, including those you mentioned above, to gain a competitive advantage.
What a well written article and quite an interesting read as well. Seeing how the hotel industry is currently shifting from old standards and norms towards more modern and innovative approaches, I believe that such change was bound to happen eventually. Though there is quite a concern regarding the safety of the customers or travellers, but there will always be room for improvement.
We are glad to hear that you found the blog interesting to read! We agree with you that there is a concern for safety of guests in hotels and there is a room for improvement. It is vital that hotels implement methods to keep guests safe. For instance, cybersecurity breaches are common in hotels so it is of upmost importance hotels tackle this by keeping on top of their systems and updating them often.
Such a fascinating read! I loved the hand-created infographics- they brought the article to life.
We are glad you found the blog helpful and that the infographics helped to visualise the blog better. We hope this blog provided you with more information around technology in hotels and what the future could hold for hotels.
I really enjoyed your blog and it was very interesting to read! I believe that technology can help hotels to improve their services but it needs to be carefully considered that technology can cause some negative impacts.
Thank you so much for engaging with our blog! It’s fascinating to hear your view on technology in hotels. We agree with you that as hotel managers we need to address the issues with technology in hotels to provide an excellent customer experience and be successful.
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