The secret of any successful hotel operation is not to simply meet the needs of your guests, but to anticipate them. In that spirit, we present the top five hotel technology trends that you can anticipate in 2018 (today’s blog will feature trends #1 and #2, Friday’s blog will feature the rest).
1. Smart Hotel Rooms
As homes continue to get smarter, so do hotel rooms. Plus, as smart technology and connected devices continue to go down in price, hotels will start adopting these technologies more quickly. And this will go way beyond installing more smart TVs.
“Companies are largely focusing their efforts on maturing what’s already out there by increasing accessibility to next gen iterative devices and expanding functionality,” says Larry Mogelonsky, owner of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited. “We’re seeing this for smart TVs, which have better prices for larger sizes with each passing season, alongside more robust integration with other nearby electronics, more advanced internet-based services and interesting new uses beyond their traditional placements in the guest room.”
There will also be an increase in personalized guest room climate control and lighting, among many other things, all of which can even be conveniently controlled by a hotel-branded mobile app. One company, Telkonet, developed their EcoSmart platform to give hotels the ability to leverage connected devices and an insight-rich dashboard to provide intelligent energy management platforms that reduce energy consumption and create immersive, engaging guest experiences. This helps hotels save money and ensures a customized guest experience.
Tablets and Doors
In-room tablets, such as those designed by Crave, offer endless options for delivering content, functionality and control to hotel guests. Crave tablets can deliver anything from a simple directory replacement to a full range of innovative digital guest services. These tablets can be used as a TV remote control, alarm clock or digital hotel directory, as well as provide information on spa packages, special promotions or messages from the front desk.
The first sign of a smart hotel room, however, is a smart hotel door. As physical key cards are used less and less, expect to see more guests entering their room using their smartphone and mobile key. Thanks to companies like OpenKey, hotel guests now have the ability to access their room (or fitness center, business center or pool area) through the OpenKey app or the hotel’s own mobile app. Along with the convenience of not having to carry another card, lost keys (and any associated replacement fees) become a thing of the past. In addition, this innovative technology gives guests the option to check-in and access their rooms through their phones, giving your front desk staff more time to focus on more impactful ways to improve the guest experience.
2. Virtual Reality
In selling any hotel – for business or pleasure – a physical tour is always more effective than simply looking at pictures on a website or in a brochure. As virtual reality technology becomes more mainstream, potential visitors will be able to understand exactly what your hotel “feels” like. Through interactive technologies – virtual reality and 360° experiences – potential guests can virtually visit a hotel’s guest rooms, conference rooms, restaurants, spa or fitness center.
The online travel industry is embracing these technologies, as well. Companies like YouVisit have built their website (and their business) around enabling hotels to offer interactive 360° experiences on smartphones, computers and virtual reality headsets. Even Expedia announced earlier this year they are investing in technology to offer VR tours within their hotel room listings.
What’s So Special About Your Hotel?
These technologies also become perfect vehicles for showing off what’s special about your hotel. If you’re eco-friendly, you can give a virtual tour of your rooftop herb garden. If you have a spectacular ballroom, you can present every detail – with music. The Mansion at Casa Madrona, for example, has created a printed brochure using augmented reality technology that can be scanned to completely immerse the viewer in their high level of luxury.
To see and experience the OpenKey mobile key technology in person, as well as products and services from many of the companies mentioned in this blog, you can find us at the 2017 Hotel Experience Conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City – November 12th and 13th, 2017 – where current and future hotel technologies will be showcased. Attending this conference is the best way to keep up with the latest hotel technology trends – and stay ahead of them.