The hotel industry is growing worldwide rapidly with high & good outlook of occupancy which includes the revenue per available room and also the average daily rates. Even more, by 2018, the total hotel revenues are expected to exceed half a trillion USD. Yet, the managers working in the hotel industry always face with constant challenges how to attract larger number of guests (millennial travelers and backpackers) in a time of ever changing guests’ preferences and an increased demand for tailored-made services. Technology companies and hotel brands alike are working to crack numerous problems that come with bringing innovations like voice control into the hospitality environment at scale which in turn will make your hotel smart and you can render amazing in-room experience via Artificial Intelligence. But there are many challenges, like meeting the needs of hotel owners and grappling with the limitations of consumer technology, that are still being worked out. Guest privacy, as well, looms large as an uncertain aspect of this technology revolution.
At Hilton Worldwide, experimentation with AI-backed voice and chatbots are an ongoing focus as more smart guest rooms are deployed! In the hotel realm there’s no one-size-fits-all technology solution yet, but the company is making progress on improvements for both the guest experience and behind-the-scenes hotel operations which includes various every day tasks like managing your staff. To meet escalating guest expectations and to make the rooms smarter, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology this year, according to HT’s 2018 Lodging Technology Study. Their biggest priorities for technology spending, in order, are: payment security, in-room experience, bandwidth allocation, and mobile engagement. Guests want modern technology and associated amenities in their hotel like key-less entry, and a hotel manager should provide them to make their stay more comfortable.
The term ‘smart’ or intelligent room basically refers to a hotel room with a microprocessor operated station that monitors pivotal parameters for normal functioning. Basically, it includes supervision of temperature, movement of the guests in/out of the room, few sensors and alarms, etc. To achieve greater efficiency, such room stations are connected to the central computer, which provides centralized control not only on a single room bases, but rather on a set of rooms, floors or even the entire hotel.
Did you know by optimizing energy consumption in hotels, you can bring major savings and improve the hotel’s bottom line. Since energy consumption is one of the largest operating costs in hotels, the smart management will enable more efficient control of hotel’s expenses saving up to 30%. Another important issue in hotel business is security. With RFID cards that has security codes, safety in a hotel building can be guaranteed. Security level is increased by alarm signals and are instantly sent to the monitoring computer which is already connected via IoT.
In addition, a modern control system goes step further in the field of energy efficiency improvements and the decrease of hotel operational costs. These modern systems usually come under the short name of HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), and can provide additional services towards accumulation of any unused energy, such as the hot water, the temperature and lighting control in the unoccupied rooms, etc.,
Also, Damien Perrot, senior vice president of design solutions for AccorHotels, told Skift that the company is testing technology that uses voice activation and and the Internet of Things to make the hotel room experience more accessible and personalized. Hilton, however, plans to use the Hilton Honors program in its connected in-room concept via member profiles, and Marriott is also considering doing something similar with its own Internet of Things guest room.
Loyalty will certainly play a major role in the development of these new high-tech rooms. Without a loyalty tie-in, it would be much more challenging for hotels to have access to customer data that allows them to personalize the individual guest experience. Another important facet of AccorHotels’ smart room concept is its commitment to accessibility for guests with disabilities or reduced mobility. That means wardrobes with sliding shelves and rods for easy access; TVs that swivel 180 degrees; adjustable bed heights; and bathrooms with easily adjustable shower heads, shower seats, and height-adjustable sinks, as well as grab bars that double as towel rails.
Chatbots will play an important role in rendering smart rooms at the hotels! Artificial Intelligence (AI) is dramatically changing business, and chatbots, fueled by AI, are becoming a viable customer service channel. Truth to be told, all these things are making a hotel room smarter! The best ones deliver a customer experience in which customers cannot tell if they are communicating with a human or a computer.
AI has come a long way in recognizing the content – and context – of customers’ requests and questions. By adopting chatbots, a hotel can efficiently cater typical guest requests, especially the more routine ones (a request for more towels, reporting a maintenance issue, ordering room service) or when accessibility for taking such requests needs to be on a 24*7 basis. In the hotel context, chatbots afford much of the functionality that mobile apps provide, because they don’t require guests to hunt-up and install an app; they are actively running on the hotel’s website or similar platforms.
There are some human actions and even judgments that machines can replicate using robotics and cognitive technologies, Statista says. Such systems can help hotels automate repeatable tasks—not only to improve efficiency but also to free up the frontline team to engage in more high-value tasks that machines cannot accomplish. The laborious task of blocking rooms, for example, can be automated quite easily using a trained algorithm or “machine”. Doing so will free up the front desk agent to proactively reach out to arriving guests to ensure they’re received with the friendly smile that we mentioned earlier.
Also, unlike the old times, you can control your room remotelessly! Move over, keycard lock: today’s guests are already enjoying the convenience of keyless room entry. It’s a simple as holding an authorised mobile phone (or watch) near the door’s sensor. Bluetooth, wifi, or another proximity-sensing technology does the rest. No more lost keys, and no more ongoing expenses for lock systems. Once inside the room, your guests will naturally want to settle in and make themselves comfortable.
Adjust the climate control, draw the curtains or adjust the shades, look at the room-service breakfast menu, see what’s on television, change the mood lighting, and then maybe ask the concierge a question. Thanks to advances in Smart Home Technology, your guests can do all of this and more with a single, sleek tablet device. Imagine watching TV in the bathroom mirror during your stay. This is already a reality at several luxury hotels across the globe, where guests can watch high-definition TV in mirrors, usually while enjoying a bathroom, sauna, or swimming pool.
With implementation of a smart room concept, one may accomplish the following objectives: Reduce the consumption of energy and water; Smooth and harmonious operation of all devices; Maximum convenience and comfort to the room occupants, including security of the guests and supervision of their belongings in the room; Increase of the reliability and quality of services; Improve hotel staff efficiency based on constant reception of new and most reliable information, regarding the status of the room parameters; Develop an "environmental awareness" among guests and operational hotel staff, etc.
Have you ever heard of floating suites? No! In an effort to offer something new, hotels and resorts across the world are offering guests the opportunity to stay in a suite on the water. These floating suites give guests a 360-degree view of the nature surrounding the suite, with large windows and access to amenities like fishing and tubing. Currently, floating hotel suites are available in Maldives, Panama, Bora Bora and Dubai, among others. If you'd prefer to be beneath the water, underwater hotels are open for business in Dubai, Zanzibar, Maldives, Sweden and Florida. An award-winning concept for a future hotel allows guests to stay on catamarans that connect to the dock when not in use, and they can travel around the immediate area.
Since we are talking about smart hotels and rooms, we can’t skip iBeacons! Tomorrow's hotel may become an even more personalized experience with data-driven iBeacons helping deliver customized stay experiences. With the new technologies, businesses and hotels can interact with consumers through instant iBeacon-driven chat features and push notifications. Offering weary travelers things like a happy hour special as he or she passes the vicinity of the establishment is bound to become one of tomorrow's newest personalized customer connections.
Hotel properties are increasingly focusing attention on the bathroom, intent on creating a spa-like experience that serves as a selling point to travelers. This includes oversized jetted tubs, waterfall showers and large, fluffy towels. When building new properties, some hotel chains will expand the bathroom to create a more open feel and include features such as his and her sinks, a separate shower and a bathtub. Unfortunately, as hotel bathrooms increase by as much as 50 percent, rooms will shrink significantly in size.
So, now you know that your hotel rooms are smart or not! The time is continuously changing and demanding better innovations than before! Schedule a demo with us and we will tell how can you make your hotel smarter via IoT and AI-enabled voice and chat-based services.