Staying ahead of the curve with technology trends has become an important aspect of almost any type of business, and when even supermarkets without cashiers are becoming a reality, it is not strange to expect that even the smallest hotel business would have to overhaul their approach to doing business if they plan on staying relevant in this age.
Any smart hotelier will tell you that the competition is growing at an increasing rate, and that even companies that do not actually possess any actual rooms, can be quite successful if their business model is well defined. Changes in demographics are forcing innovation at a pace that has never been seen before, and we all agree that, nowadays, you either get on with the program or get off the train.
Free soaps are simply not enough and introducing technological advancements such as hospitality software that could benefit not only your customers, but hotel owners and staff as well - these are a priority. So, what are some of the technologies that will come to dominate the hotel landscape in the future? For such a prediction, we will not even have to look very far:
1. It's Mobile Phones All the Way Down
Let's face it, our smart-phones are constantly with us, in our hand, and making use of that is only a natural move. Why shouldn't your hotel introduce digital keys that can use NFC technology that is built into every mobile device and use that as for everything - from check ins, payments to serving as room and facility keys? Not only will this allow better tracking of where each customer currently is with the phone's GPS, but you will see what facilities are used and when. This technology has already been in use for quite for some time, so it is cheaper than ever to introduce it to your business, for your convenience and those using your services.
2. Automation Never Tires
The benefits of hotel management and automation software are well-known. They allow you an immediate insight into everyday processes that happen, how to optimize them and create a truly "smart" experience that will put you in control.
Most of the data gathered this way will help you analyze costs and show you how to increase your ROI - in turn increasing the efficiency your hotel runs at. This starts with the process of booking itself and ends with generating receipts and invoices for your customers when they leave.
This also includes software solutions such as a Hotel Channel Manager that will make sure the room availability is synced across all platforms, such as your apps, different specialized websites (online bookings), travel wholesalers etc. Manually managing such a big number of channels (a number that is only growing) can only lead to errors, reimbursements on your part and a negative customer experience.
Therefore, hotel managers need to start moving away from old systems and move on to new, modern systems that offer better integrations and accessibility, not to mention the latest technology and features that are based on current trends and needs.
3. Environmentally Friendly
Increasing customer satisfaction without being wasteful is a big problem hotels face. Energy costs with all these improvements are also on the rise, and in order to shift to more sustainable practices, some measures will have to be introduces.
The same automated software we've mentioned in the last paragraph will also be designed to consider whether a room is heated or cooled based on the physical presence of guests. This information can be taken via different sensors that in no way endanger privacy, such as passive infrared sensors, or based on the position of the guest's mobile phone.
Furthermore, this will create an illusion of a perfect welcoming experience. When a guest comes into a room, the light will turn on, as well as the TV, while the AC has predicted that the guest is approaching. This can create a lot of savings for you; and despite seeming like a much more luxurious experience, it will actually be a more economic (simply put: cheaper) experience for guests.
4. Vocal Experience
It is only natural to think that all the rooms will have voice activated commands in the future. Guests will be able to use simple commands that are already in use such as Hey Siri or Alexa, to turn off the lights without having to leave the bed.
Not to mention that this will allow a much more seamless integration with hotel management. Do you have a problem? A request to talk to the staff? Too hot or too much light? Just say the word and the thermostat will reduce the heating or draw the drapes.
This might not seem like a big step, but it is a step in the right direction nonetheless. This only creates a better experience for guests, and as you well know, that always translates to a bigger profit for hotel owners.