How to Automate Your Hotel and Excite Your Guests

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As the travel and hospitality industry continues to move towards a more automated future, hotel owners and managers are adapting to keep up with the latest hotel technology. Those hoteliers who want to believe hotel technology isn’t changing the way guests interact with hotels need only look back a few years to see how the online travel agencies have disrupted the booking model that existed for decades beforehand.
Hotel technology is evolving faster now than at any time in the past, making great strides towards improving the guest experience on property. From keyless room access via smartphone to voice-activated in-room assistants. The following ideas can help turn any hotel into a truly modern technological accommodation.
Keyless Guest Entry
Lost keys and deactivated key cards are among the most common reasons for hotel guests to visit the reception after check-in. As much as guests hate to stand in line to check-in, it seems even worse to have to do it more than once.  To resolve this, well-known hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton have already implemented mobile keyless entry, allowing guests to check-in, access their room, and check-out using the branded mobile application. 

In addition to generating a more pleasant experience for guests, implementing mobile keyless entry reduces the line at the front desk, freeing up employees to assist and interact with customers to improve their stay experience. Mobile keyless entry is one example of using new hotel technology to reduce costs while increasing customer satisfaction. 
Connected Devices & Voice Activated Assistants
While AI (Artificial Intelligence) is not a term commonly associated with the hotel industry yet, an increasing number of establishments are moving forward with voice-activated in-room technology.
Aloft Hotels is an example of a major hotel brand who is piloting the Alexa voice-activated assistant in guest rooms.  With Alexa, guests can get the weather forecast, daily news, play music and control the room lights and temperature, all without leaving the comfort of their bed.

Other hotels are taking a different route by providing in-room tablets or portable devices with similar room control capabilities.  Often these will include the ability to order room service as well where available. 
While both alternatives are certainly appreciated by today’s guests, voice command technology is more likely to be used and mentioned positively in guest reviews of a property.
Intelligent Concierge Services
Reducing the amount of times a guest needs to contact the reception during their stay is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to increase customer satisfaction. Leading hotels are quickly understanding this and making conscious efforts to incorporate technology that helps facilitate it.
One form of that technology is the in-room smartphone solution called Handy – a mobile device that is pre-loaded with local tour and sightseeing information as well as internet access and free international calling.  Handy devices are prominent in Asia but facing resistance from hotel guests who choose not to use them since the screen tends to light up the room at night while the devices charge. 

Other hotels are experimenting with technology as both guest service and entertainment such as dinosaur-shaped robots that can be found at the Robotel in Japan.
We live in an exciting time where hotel technology is fundamentally changing the way guests experience and interact with lodging providers.  At the same time, it’s more challenging than ever to be a hotelier and figure out what new hotel tech makes sense for your environment and guest demographic.  Trending hotel technology like mobile keyless entry and voice-activated in-room assistants are certainly leading the charge of adoption in hotels worldwide due to the universal nature of application and predominance of use in both the personal and professional environments.

Read a previous OpenKey article

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