A robotic butler opening the door for you. A hotel room’s lighting and temperature controlled by voice commands. This all may seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, but those kinds of advances are not that far off in the future.
Technology has greatly affected the hospitality industry and has particularly impacted hotels. Hotels have needed to adapt to address the needs and demands of contemporary, digital-savvy travellers. The Covid-19 pandemic has also had a major impact on how hotels function. Technology can be used to make hotels safer and more COVID-19 friendly.
Across the globe, “smart hotels” have become more and more popular. A smart hotel is a hotel that plugs into the Internet of Things to create a better temporary living experience. Smart hotels need to accommodate for increased layers of connectivity that travellers have gotten used to. They must include new ways of engaging with guests.
In the past travellers may have worked through a travel agent to book a room or relied on walk-in reservations. However, the modern travelling experience, from booking to checkout, is expected to be perfect with very little chance of human error.
Hotel operators have embraced the idea that running a hotel is not merely about providing a place to stay, but also about providing luxury experiences. To do so, hotels need to access technology that can speed up service, personalise the guest experience, build hotel resources, enable maintenance and improve employee productivity. Such as systems that can streamline check-in to allow guests to skip the front desk and go right to their rooms.
For example, technology can turn rooms into smart hotel rooms. The technology in hotel rooms can enable the guest to adjust the room temperature and lighting, and guests can even stream their favourite shows through a remote or smartphones.
In times of COVID19, interactions at the front desk can be minimized. Another aspect of the ‘smart’ hotel comes from the innovation of the booking experience, as hotels take cues from airlines to offer the ability to select a specific room before arrival. A mobile check-in service also reduces contact between guests and staff.
One thing is clear, no matter how long it takes, technological advances are coming to the hotels and soon smart hotels will no longer be merely for sci-fi movies.
Article updated for the 2021 context. Read the orginal blog post here