The last few years have seen significant changes in the hospitality industry. Along with weathering a global health crisis, the industry has also seen rapidly advancing artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. With all this, hospitality looks very different than it did even as recently as 2019.
Along with changing health and safety standards – as well as staffing challenges – hotel technology is evolving. It’s working to keep pace with guest expectations and help streamline hotel operations. With so many new and emerging innovations, which products and systems should you be paying attention to? Which of today’s biggest trends will have the greatest ROI, and where are the easiest wins for your hotel? We’ve compiled a few of the travel industry tech trends that we’re most excited to see in 2023 and beyond. These updates and upgrades address current challenges for small and independent hotel brands. They increase energy efficiency, reduce staffing requirements, and improve customer service.
Contactless services will become even more prevalent
Contactless services enhance public health and safety while increasing convenience for guests. With mobile check-in options, guests can bypass the front desk and head directly to their rooms. SMS capabilities for in-room services further streamline the guest experience. To implement more contactless features and services, hotels are adopting technology like Digital Key that enables guests to use their smartphones as their room keys.
Along with contactless check-in and mobile-enabled guest services, contactless payments will be more prevalent in 2023, as well. With advances in identity verification, paying via guests’ mobile devices is becoming easier and more secure. This is just one more way that contactless technology can reduce stress at the front desk and streamline the guest experience.
Smart rooms will get even smarter
From their thermostats to TVs and vacuum cleaners, your guests are accustomed to living in smart homes. Hotels around the world are embracing the same technology that makes people’s domestic lives easier – in their hotel rooms. Smart hotel rooms have programmable thermostats that can be set to guests’ preferences to optimize the room environment while saving on energy costs. Smart TVs can connect to guests’ streaming services accounts. Room lights can be programmed to turn off automatically when rooms are unoccupied. Essentially, smart room technology can significantly improve the guest experience and reduce overhead by personalizing each guest’s stay and optimizing energy use.
Expect to see more hotel mobile app adoption
According to Hotel Technology News, a 2020 survey found that 80% of hotel guests said that they would be willing to download a hotel’s mobile app. Today, around the world, more than 6.5 billion people own smartphones, and app adoption is even more common. And, with features like mobile check-in, Digital Key, and access to special offers, guests are even more likely to download your app for their stay. With all these benefits, hotel apps are an easy win for small and independent hotels.
Facial recognition and biometrics will enhance convenience and security
Guest safety is a top priority for hotels everywhere. With this in mind, some hotels are implementing facial recognition and biometrics identifiers. These technologies will help easily verify guests’ identities without forcing them to go to the front desk to show their ID. This kind of technology is being implemented on guests’ phones to verify their identities for mobile payments. Among other uses, hotels are also adopting biometrics to verify guests’ identities when entering secure locations.
AI-powered automation and chatbots will unburden hotel staff
Along with mobile check-in and contactless services, AI is helping alleviate hotels’ stress around staffing shortages. For example, AI chatbots can assist guests with many common requests – such as wake-up calls, towel service, and room service orders. These would traditionally be handled by front desk staff, but technology removes that burden. By automating some services, hotel staff are free to handle guests’ more personalized needs. This type of technology also has the potential to “learn” guests’ preferences and provide more customized service to returning guests. For example, returning guests could get automated offers for previously-used spa services or meals at your hotel’s restaurant.
Travel technology is at its best when it improves hotel efficiency while enhancing the guest experience. Technology that enables contactless services – like Digital Key technology – is an easy win for hotels looking to reduce overhead. At the same time, it makes life easier for guests, making it even more valuable to hotels. Mobile apps, biometrics, and AI-powered automation all have the power to reduce staffing needs and costs. We’ve already seen many hotels around the world embracing these technologies, and we expect to see even more in 2023 and beyond.
Want more info on how your hotel can benefit from Digital Key technology? Schedule a demo today.