Comfortable accommodations, ample amenities and stellar service still form the cornerstone of the guest experience. What has changed in recent years is a growing acknowledgment from hoteliers that technology can upgrade and enhance every aspect of that experience. Here are some of the technologies coming in 2018 that we believe will have the biggest impact on hotels next year and in the years to follow.
The physical key has largely been replaced by the keycard, which will itself soon be superseded by digital keys accessible through mobile devices. This technology eliminates the issue of lost keys, and introduces a lot more flexibility when it comes to switching rooms, extending access or managing housekeeping. Mobile keys also promise to upgrade security and to brand a hotel property with a cutting-edge, forward-thinking image.
Digital Assistants and Concierges
AI-technologies like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are already bringing the concierge experience into the home. In 2018, these technologies will increasingly be integrated into hotels to give guests on-demand service. Instead of having to wait for an expert to be posted in the lobby or call down to the concierge from their hotel rooms, guests can access information and insights from almost anywhere at any time via AI-powered apps that provide relevant information (or contact the appropriate employee if they cannot answer a question or request).
Connected Hotel Rooms
The trend of using connected devices to create “smart homes” is also making its way into hotels. In 2018 and beyond guests will have greater levels of control over how their room is personalized in terms of temperature, lighting and audio/video options. This control will be accessible through either tablets in the room or through smartphone apps. We all know that customization is important and that no two guests are the same, so this technology will allow guests to customize their experience exactly to their liking.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
We are already seeing AI enhance the overall guest experience by automating the front desk experience, handling guest queries and service requests and even acting as robotic room service attendants. This trend will only expand and accelerate in 2018 as hotels rely on AI to improve both back-end and guest-facing processes. Expect to see a number of pilot programs launched in 2018 that are designed to test the effectiveness and guest tolerance to an increasingly robotic hotel staff.
Most people would prefer to send a quick text than waste time calling someone. Hotels are picking up on this preference and are beginning to offer the option to text at a variety of guest touchpoints. This streamlines the connection between a hotel and a guest while requiring less human input to deliver quality service and support. Plus, text conversations can be saved and analyzed to generate valuable insights, allowing hotels to gather even more customer data.
Now that virtual reality has become both affordable and accessible, it’s possible for hotels to leverage this technology to make powerful marketing statements. In 2018, guests will have the ability to take a “virtual tour” of more hotel properties in order to asses the ambiance before booking a stay. Virtual reality also creates an opportunity to enhance the activities and amenities within a hotel.
2018 promises to be a transformative year for the hospitality industry. However, success is not dependent on the adoption of every tech trend. Rather, success depends on identifying the technologies that have the biggest impact on operations and the guest experience, and then implementing them in a thoughtful way. The right technology will not only make things more futuristic, but also make things better.
RoomKey PMS is making next-generation property management systems smarter, stronger, and simpler too. Rely on our proven solutions to maximize opportunities in 2018 and beyond. Contact us for more information.
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