When one says “high-tech” or “bleeding edge”, the hospitality industry will probably be not the first association that jumps to your mind. After all, what can be particularly innovative in the industry that has been around since forever? Nevertheless, however conservative it may be in some respects, the hotel industry does not and cannot ignore the new technological solutions that come to the market. While the core remains the same, these innovations have a potential of both enhancing and ultimately transforming the experiences we are all used to. So let us take a closer look at some of them.
1. Virtual reality
While this technology is still far from perfection, many hotels already use it: as both a novelty attraction and a function that helps their guest make a choice and in general improves their experience. For example, by going through a VR tour of the hotel building, people considering choosing your hotel can see with their own eyes what it will be like to stay there. Tours of individual rooms will help them select an option that suits them best.
2. Augmented reality
Augmented reality is one of the most exciting hospitality trends of the last few years, although its applications remain fairly simple. However, they already range from simple recreation (e.g., allowing guests’ children to see themselves in the company of Disney characters or allowing them to redecorate their environments virtually) to really useful features (like interactive wall maps providing additional information about different locations when viewed with the help of a special app).
3. Intelligent property management systems
While many high-tech innovations adopted by hotels are aimed at guests, what remains under the hood is just as, if not more, important. Introduction of intelligent property management systems is an essential part of digital transformation all businesses that want to remain current have to go through. Application of such hotel management system software allows you to improve the running of your properties in many ways that are not immediately obvious for outside observers. For example, they can avoid overbookings of particular room types so that you both mitigate your losses from no-shows and cancellations and minimize the occurrence of situations when there are more bookings than available rooms.
4. Internet of Things
With the Internet of Things quickly turning from a marketing concept into reality, hotel industry, of course, cannot overlook the manifold opportunities it opens. While sufficiently smart rooms still remain more an exception than a rule, it is obvious that the future lies in this direction. Very soon, things like rooms opened with keypad codes of smartphone apps instead of keys, voice-activated controls, smart TVs, lighting and mirrors will become the norm for the majority of hospitality brands.
5. AI-based pricing
More and more hotels opt-out from manually controlling the price of their accommodations in favor of delegating this task to AI. By analyzing huge swathes of historical data, AI makes a forecast of likely demand and dynamically changes prices for different types of rooms to optimize the hotel’s revenues. Sufficiently intelligent AI not only frees up the time of managers who previously had to perform this task but also does this job better because it is able to make more precise predictions.
As smartphones play an ever-increasing role in our lives, hotels can leverage this trend to their advantage by building the entire interaction between themselves and their guest around these devices. Ideally, a guest should be able to find a hotel, check available rooms, choose the one he/she likes, book it, pay for it, check in and check out without ever interacting with the hotel’s staff or representatives. Many clients – especially younger ones – value their independence and the ability to do everything via their phones. Meanwhile, the hotel saves the time of its employees and streamlines the entire process.
7. Emphasis on cybersecurity
Cybercrime has been an issue ever since computer technology became more or less widespread, but over the last few years it reached catastrophic proportions – it seems that every month we hear about yet another major security breach, leak of sensitive information or an epidemic of ransomware infection. Hotels have to be particularly careful in this regard, because they by definition store huge amounts of personal data, and clients are particularly vulnerable when they are separated from the environments they are used to. Phishing, darkhotel hacking and other threats grow more and more common. There is only one way of dealing with the problem – investing in cybersecurity and making it just as important part of your concerns as providing an optimal customer experience.
Hotel industry, just like all the other spheres of human activity, has to evolve with time and start a digital transformation, to keep up with the ever-changing lifestyle of clients – and these tips will help you stay ahead of the curve.