The omnipresence of technology is bringing some exciting new trends to hospitality that we can’t wait to see put into action in 2019. As one of the least innovative industries and yet highly customer-facing, the hospitality industry is slowly seeing the need (and customer want) for increasing technology.
In addition to improving customer experience, new technological solutions also contribute to the improvement of inner operations and management. From staff having their very own digital assistants to offering personalized hotel rooms, here are some of the coolest trends that await us in 2019.
1. Digital Assistants in a Business Use Capacity
Although voice processing and speech recognition became available in the 1990s, it still couldn’t process or deliver natural speech patterns which made usage difficult and affected user experience.
Since then, we’ve now got Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Samsung’s Bixby and Microsoft’s Cortana as the main digital assistant contenders.
You can give out commands to schedule meetings, book travels, voice queries all the while preserving your natural speech pattern.
The hospitality industry has caught on to the rising trend of voice recognition technology and is incorporating them into their offering in three ways:
- Booking & Ordering – On websites or booking pages, there’s no need for longer drop-down boxes or code, instead, users should soon be able to speak their needs and this be picked up by the location from their end. It saves time, energy and is much more user-friendly.
- Customer Services – Digital assistants may become part of hotels the same way they do in our homes. They can integrate seamlessly in a hotel to offer guests a new innovative level of service. Controlling room temperature or light settings with their voice as well as order room service or choose from a list of additional purchases, all without having to call or click a button.
- Daily Management – Digital assistants aren’t just to benefit customers, but staff too. Daily tasks, like taking food orders, scheduling room cleaning, staff rota organisations, or internal memos could be handled by digital assistants. This will leave the staff with much more time for relevant guest interactions and ensuring everything is up to highest standards.
2. Personalised Hotel Rooms
A personal touch is the most important one in the hospitality industry. Many resorts and hotels are incorporating high-tech solutions that enable guests a fully personalised experience during their stay, with the ultimate aim being that the room feels like home as soon as guests connect their devices. This means that guests will have access to their documents, music, and streaming services, and they will be able to control environmental settings such as room temperature or lights.
The Hilton hotel chain is at the forefront of integrating personalisation options with their Connected Room experience, which enables various room controls through their mobile Hilton Honors app. The guests will have the options to set their preferences even before they arrive at the hotel, so the room will be fully tuned to them once they enter.
3. Robotic Cleaners
Automation has taken the world by storm, and it’s currently sweeping (pun intended) through hospitality too.
It has even reached the kitchens, with automated orders being just the start, and the latest development being robotic cooks doing the brunt of the work. However, over 50% of consumers are not fond of this trend and would rather not be served by a robot. There is no replacing the human element when it comes to cuisine. On the other hand, more than 80% of them are sure that robots will be cleaning restaurants soon.
This trend is already present in hotels, who are seeing a surge in robotic help with cleaning operations. While many consumers already have a Roomba in their homes, the robots helping in hotels are a bit more advanced. Maidbot as an example – named “Rosie,” has LIDAR detection to efficiently avoid obstacles and is fully autonomous in operation.
The Radisson Blu Hotel in Delhi employs a fully automated pool cleaning robot that not only does its job exceptionally well, but also uses fewer chemicals. While it can do most work on its own, if there’s a spot that requires extra attention, it can be controlled remotely too.
4. Biometric Data Analysis to Suggest Travel Destinations
Biometric data has become a standard in many areas today, with many mobile phones and notebooks having face-recognition software and fingerprint scanners. Hotels have also embraced this technology to personalise experiences for their guests.
When a guest is recognised as soon as they enter the hotel or restaurant, their overall experience is improved, which will make them more likely to return. Oracle has conducted an extensive research on customer preferences toward new technology in hotels and restaurants and found out that:
“31% of restaurant guests and 41% of hotel guests will be more likely to visit an establishment with greater frequency if they are recognised by an employee without having to give their name or show a loyalty card.”
The truly revolutionary way to use biometrics in the hospitality industry goes toward knowing what the guests would enjoy most even before they are aware of it. Accor Hotels has introduced Seeker, an installation that suggests travel destination based on behavioural analysis. Seeker records and analyses heart rate, skin responses, brain waves, and behaviour to stimuli presented through its LED panels, waterfall, pillars, and a video board. The installation then suggests perfect destinations based on those responses.
5. Efficiency Wearables
According to Oracle’s research on technology trends in the hotel industry “Hotel 2025,” smartwatches and fitness trackers have become as prevalent as mobile phones. While currently wearables are used to describe smartwatches and bands only, the term actually encompasses any type of accessories that can be fitted with computational capabilities.
One prediction states that wearable tech will be a disruptive change in hotel management. Staff schedules and training would be done through wearable tech, with other predicted uses being guest access to hotels, guest orders, payments, and staff access to workstations.
Some hotels are already implementing wearables, where guests can opt for a wearable device instead of a key card and access the hotel and their room with a simple wave of their wrist. Some hotels, like Westin, even offer sleep monitoring wristbands to ensure their guests get good sleep.
Hotel Alessandra in Houston, Texas, has adopted wearables for staff management and improved their hotel operations efficiency. Staff can be notified about tasks that need to be done much quicker, improving their response times.
It’s amazing to see the extent of technology’s effect on the hospitality industry and we can’t wait to see more innovation developed for the industry in the future.