Is your hotel tech-ready for current times? Check out these top five new technology solutions reshaping the hospitality industry
Aditya Sanghi Founder & CEO, Hotelogix Like in any other industry, in the hospitality sector, significant changes in guests' needs and business environments have always led to the emergence of newer technologies. Not only this, but such
Founder & CEO, Hotelogix
Like in any other industry, in the hospitality sector, significant changes in guests’ needs and business environments have always led to the emergence of newer technologies. Not only this, but such disruptions have also accelerated their implementation. We look at a few of those technology solutions from two perspectives – from the hotel operations point of view and their usefulness when serving guests efficiently.
Here are a few operationally imperative and guest-facing technology solutions that will witness rapid implementation in the years to come.
#1. Cloud-based Hotel PMS
It is not new. It has been there in the ecosystem for quite a long time now. But hotels need it the most, especially in the post-pandemic era, to fuel growth that has been stagnant in the last couple of years. Today’s hospitality entities, including independent, chain/group, resort, and boutiques – all have realised that on-premises solutions restrict their growth by not –
· Helping them add and go live with new properties (for chain/group brand)
· Reducing the cost of software ownership
· Letting them access information on the go
· Enabling them with better control over property operation
· Offering comprehensive end-to-end process automation
· Assisting them in understanding guests’ needs
· Allowing them to work with third-party solutions
· Aiding them in selling more online
· Helping them with business-critical reports for better decision-making capabilities
#2. Mobile-enabled contactless tech
Hotels have to offer what their guests want from them. And today, the essential thing guests want is – contactless services. Hotels have already started allowing guests to check in, unlock rooms, control in-room amenities, chat with hotel staff, raise service requests, make payments, and check out – everything using their smartphones. We have already seen a surge in the adoption of this piece of technology application.
#3. Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) has drawn the attention of hotels. It is about leveraging the power of computer-generated simulations of an environment to allow future guests to submerge and experience the hotel and nearby attractions. It is enabling early adopters to sell their USP to attract more bookings. Some of them are in the process of upgrading their websites with such simulated clips. It is undeniable that VR can help hotels attract more guests as a marketing tool.
#4. Artificial Intelligence
With Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered tools, hotels can now observe and learn guest behaviour. AI can enable hotels to roll out promotions based on their guests’ past purchases. Not only this, but a few leading hotels have also already implemented AI and voice-activated controls to allow guests to optimise room conditions, including lighting and HVAC. We have also seen rapid adoption of AI-powered revenue management tools to set optimal room rates as part of a strategic pricing decision.
Hotels use this area-based sensor technology to send virtual room keys to their guests. It tracks the location of guests via their smartphone Bluetooth to send welcome messages. It lets hotels send useful promotional information to upsell non-room items and other amenities based on their guests’ location on the property. By setting up beacons at the bars, gyms, gift shops, lobbies, and restaurants, hotels can track where their guests spend their time on the property to roll out offers, discounts, and rewards accordingly.
All the technology mentioned above can positively impact the hotel’s overall performance. These technological advancements have become more critical to hotel operations and guest experience than ever before. According to many industry reports and our observations, it won’t be wrong to say that all of them have the potential to become mainstream and will see mass adoption by 2030.
Digital transformation is vital to reshaping the guest experience
Today’s hotel guests have become much more demanding than ever before. And there is nothing wrong with it when they have several options to pick from? One simple online search allows them to see multiple hotels offering more or less the same facility in the price range they are ready to spend. This is where digitisation can help hotels meet guests’ changing expectations to win their loyalty. Most importantly, it helps them stay ahead of their competitors when attracting more guests.
Let’s explore a few areas where hotels have managed to influence guest experiences positively.
Almost 90% of guests today would like it when a hotel allows them to check-in, upload personal details, unlock the door, raise service requests, make payments, and check out using their smartphones. It doesn’t only save guests’ time which is again a “wow” factor for them, but also saves time and improves the efficiency of the hotel staff. And then ultimately, it helps hotels fulfil their obligations towards offering contactless services to their guests.
Data-backed customised offering
Guest data is the single source of truth that hotels must gather to gain valuable insights across the entire guest life cycle. This can happen with the adoption of CRM solutions and a cloud-based Hotel PMS with a guest history module. It efficiently helps hotels analyse their guests’ personal information, service availed during their past stays, preferred check-in/out time, and many more. Such solutions are rampant as hotels leverage them to communicate with their patrons, offer customised services, re-target existing guests, etc. This is important, as over 50% of guests believe tailormade promotions based on past purchases will improve their experience. And apart from serving guests, customisation enables hotels to generate incremental revenue.
Many hotel brands have placed voice-activated digital assistant tools in guest rooms, including Google Home and Amazon Echo. Through this, they are enabling their guests to control room lighting, HVAC, and place room service via voice command. In this case, guests have no switch or button to press or dial. For over 60% of guests, it improves their
experiences when hotels allow them to control room amenities and raise service requests using such tools. For hotels, it offers numerous scopes to enhance the marketability of their offerings while removing language barriers and improving staff efficiency with top-notch time management.
The list doesn’t end here. There are many more ways for hotels to embrace digitisation to ensure first-rate guest experiences. Some of them are robots, wearable devices, virtual reality, digital menus at in-house restaurants and even a simple yet powerful Wi-Fi connectivity. Hotels should even pay attention towards cybersecurity to protect guest data through digitisation. This, too, will enhance their overall experience. It is simple, hotels must rely heavily on digitisation to offer their guests what they want from them. Because this is all about HOSPITALITY.