We, humans, have a tendency to simplify everything in order to make our lives easier and work faster and more efficiently. In this technological race, we have very successfully made our homes digitized and as an extension, our hotels too are rapidly getting technologically advanced. Internet forms the basis for this. Everything is within our reach now or we can say in our pockets, purses, and hands in form of our smartphones. A smartphone can be easily programmed to become a room key with the help of an app and similarly become a remote control for various gadgets namely television, temperature control, curtains, lights, concierge services, room service, and even kettles among others that may be operated by a single device or even by voice command.
Hotels are slowly opting for exceedingly advanced technological devices to help guests with a pleasant and memorable stay and to get repeat clientele.
Amazing technology: check this video:
The good thing about most of these changes is that they can be implemented with ease requiring minimal changes to the already existing infrastructure and hardware. Technological advances in the guest rooms and even public areas can lead to greater guest satisfaction ratings as most services that traditionally required manual assistance by hotel staff can now be taken care of by a tap on the screen.
This may also help save a lot of revenue by the hotel by ways of manpower costs, energy costs, and fewer food wastages. Keeping in mind the last year that marked major upheaval globally guests are now even more comfortable and welcoming to less human interaction while expecting the best service possible. Some of these advancements are already in practice by many hotels while some may seem like technology from the futuristic era but will soon become a reality which the guests will expect.
1. Contactless Hotel check-in:
- Check-in via phone app – Guests just need to download an app and can check-in by filling in their details in the app. Room allocation can also happen on the phone and room access is enabled on the smartphone itself instantly making it safer for the guest with minimal surface contact in the public area. It saves a lot of plastic and/or other material like metal or wood used to make room keys traditionally saving costs and resources.
- Smartphone enables room access – Room keys are enabled on smartphones at the time of check-in and can be activated on more than one device to accommodate all guests staying in the room. It can also be used to provide access to other public areas which require member-only access like lounges, clubs, pools, etc. Some hotel chains have already started using smart keys like Radisson, Sheraton, Park Plaza, Fairmont, etc.
- Access thru app – The hotel app can also be used to track guest movement through the hotel which reduces paperwork and lines at restaurants, coffee shops, swimming pools, gyms, etc, where guests have to mention their room number to receive service. It will also help with the billing process which happens in real-time and guests can also track and monitor their spending during their stay in the hotel. Additionally, Portable streaming devices like an Amazon Fire Stick and numerous OTT platforms allow guests to use their own subscriptions or devices to stream the content of their choice in guest rooms. Alternately, hotels can rent fire sticks and subscriptions to guests who can be logged out on check out.
2. Smart TVs
Television sets can act as more than just entertainment centers. They can be used to provide information about the hotel, its facilities, menus of various restaurants and also provide information regarding the city, its attractions, etc. This will save a lot of paper which is used to make brochures and menus with the added advantage that information can be updated more frequently without incurring additional costs or fear of wasting resources.
It also makes the guest feeling safer with fewer surfaces that may be contaminated with unknown viruses, like menus, brochures, and things made of paper are not easy to decontaminate/sanitize on a regular basis / daily.
Additionally, Portable streaming devices like an Amazon Fire Stick and numerous OTT platforms allow guests to use their own subscriptions or devices to stream the content of their choice in guest rooms.
Alternately, hotels can rent fire sticks and subscriptions to guests who can be logged out on check out.
3. Wireless charging devices
Chargers are soon taking the first place among things that tourists lose while traveling, earlier the spot was taken by cameras and shades/glasses. Hotels can provide easy access to wireless charging ports in guest rooms as well as public areas like lobby, business centers, and lounges for easy access.
4. Motion sensors
Motion control lighting and air conditioning can be used in public areas as well as guest rooms which will help save a lot of electricity when areas like guest room corridors, lounges, gardens have no guest or staff movement.
5. Thermal sensors
Can help save a lot of electricity and related costs? These can be used in guest rooms and activated upon check-in so that the air conditioner works when the temperature of the room rises above the set temperature. Additionally, these sensors can be attached to guest room drapes which can close automatically when sensors are triggered due to temperature rise through the window.
6. Smart remote controls
Guest smartphones can be programmed to act as universal remotes for various devices in the smart guest room where one phone can control many devices namely television, lights, air conditioning, drapes, music, etc. Alternately, hotels can use universal remotes for various devices which in turn will save resources like batteries and the need for multiple remotes.
7. Information on your palm
A traditional binder containing information about the city, hotel services; restaurants, room service menus, spa services, and area recommendations, etc can be a harbor for numerable pathogens that can be hard to clean regularly. However a tablet is easy to operate, clean, charge, update, and can carry all the information, can act as a universal remote control, and can also be used to order room service or even play music.
By using soundproofing technology hotels can successfully minimize noise from traffic, airplanes, or loud music, which means no more noise complaints and also that minor repair work in guest rooms can happen at all hours without disturbing guests in neighboring rooms and readying the room as soon as possible after repairs.
9. Voice-activated controls
Slightly upgraded/modified smart speakers, like Amazon Alexa, Google Home can be used to amp up the guest rooms to assist guests with requests like making restaurant reservations, ordering room service, or connecting with housekeeping or concierge.
10. Smart mirrors
High-tech mirrors can help save time by combining a TV screen and a mirror, enabling guests to multitask like watching news, sports or weather while bruising or shaving or even request hotel services via a concierge-style function.
Check this video:
11. Video chat with staff
With a quick scan of a QR code, communication systems or tablet or smart TV can allow guests to talk, text, or video chat with hotel staff in real-time. Guests don’t need to walk down to the front desk and staff can answer questions or handle requests quickly and effectively.
Prof. Amreesh Misra
Head of School, School of Hospitality Management,
AURO University, Surat, Gujarat