In this age of instant information, technology has become a necessity for the hospitality industry. Guests want instant information with regard to room availability, rates, reviews, hotel facilities etc literally at their fingertips, a.k.a their SmartPhones. To keep up with their guests requirements, hotels need to ensure that they substantially increase their hotel tech spending.
According to HT 2016’s Lodging technology study; hotels across the globe plan to spend 54% more on technology this year with the main priorities being payment and data security, improving technology in the rooms, bandwidth and mobile engagement.
The best news is that this investment is actually beneficial to the hotels in the long haul. The technological trends shall enable to the hotels to make great improvements as well as savings for their property.
Top Technological Trends:
Increased Focus on Payment and Data Security
With cyber crime increasing and evolving at an alarming rate, hotels are ensuring that they invest heavily in payment and data security. As compared to 2015, hotels intend to increase their budget in this particular aspect by 25%. Hotels want to assure their guests that they have secure payment gateways for any online and mobile transactions as well as sophisticated online security to safeguard personal information about their guests.
Introducing ‘Smart’ Rooms and Facilities
Flat screen TVs, wireless chargers, docking stations, automated lighting and temperature control… these are the demands of the millennial traveller. They want the rooms as well as the conference facilities of the hotel to be technologically savvy. This is why according to 2016 Lodging Technology Study, 22% hotels’ are allocating capital to Room Control Devices and 16% to Smart TVs.
The Pottinger Hotel in Hong Kong goes the extra mile and provides a Smartphone in all their rooms with free mobile data and IDD calls to selected countries. Guests can use the phone to navigate across the city during their stay at the hotel, and the phone also has details about certain promotions for their guests as well as local details about the city.
According to HTNG’s Blake, the biggest priority for a guest is that the hotel’s WiFi should work efficiently and be free. The bandwidth needs to support; the multiple tech devices of the guest in the room as well as across the property, ‘Smart’ room facilities, tech savvy conference gadgets, hotel’s management system and so on.
Globally, hotels are improving their property’s bandwidth so that their guests can use the internet whether for business or pleasure without any hiccups.
As mentioned in our previous blog – How mobile devices are influencing the future of hospitality, mobile devices and smart phones are part of the complete hotel experience, right from making reservations to checking out.
At Starwood, Hilton and Marriot hotels, guests can use their Smartphone’s as mobile keys to open their hotel room doors and to access guest-only areas. At Virgin Hotel in Chicago, guests can use them to control room temperatures and lighting, and as the TV remote control.
Latest trends include mobile kiosks for check in and check outs, as well as offering concierge in the pocket, where guests can access local information via the hotels app.
Mobile engagement is extremely underutilised and has great potential for hotels to increase their revenues. Hotels can use data from their guest’s Smartphones to offer special offers to them as well as upsell the various points of sales at the hotel.
Mobile engagement enables hotels to provide a personalised experience for their guests by being updated of their preferences and creating special packages as per their taste.
Starwood hotels are using Bluetooth enabled beacons to create personalised experiences, they place beacons near the entrance of their properties, so that as soon as guests enter the hotel, the concierge can greet them by their names.
Technology is forever changing and it may not always be possible for hotels to stay ahead but they should attempt to walk hand in hand with the latest trends. Integrating some of the above trends shall enable hotels to be easily accessible online, upsell their various points of sales, offer personalised service thus resulting in guest loyalty, reduce their carbon footprint by having more e-options rather than printed collateral, and much more, all resulting in better profitability for their property. It’s a complete win-win situation.