The hotel industry 4.0: digitization remains one of the central topics to which the hotel industry must respond! Technological developments, globalization, and automation of processes bring advantages: improved processes, more efficiency and employees gain time for the care of guests. One reason why we long for new technologies is the growing expectation that we get answers and solutions always and everywhere. In our last article, we have written about trends that are gaining ground such as digitalization as a business strategy, digital guest communication and artificial intelligence (AI). In Part 2 we present four more technology trends in the hotel industry for 2018.
Hoteltrend #4: Voice Control / Voice Assistant
Voice control is a new trend to watch. Players in the hospitality industry are already looking for ways to integrate it into their customer service and test how language assistants affect customer journeys. For example, they use Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple’s Siri as digital concierges in their hotel. Thanks to artificial intelligence, guests are given answers and information without having to pester the reception staff with questions. The voice-controlled assistants not only have the potential to change the travel industry, but every other industry. They help to simplify, fasten and facilitate processes and procedures.
Hotel Trend #5: Service Robots
Last year we already dealt briefly with robots in the hotel industry. Artificial intelligence will again play a major role in 2018: service robots will increasingly be equipped with AI and can not only bring baggage to the room but also serve food and drinks, accept payments or take guests to specific locations. They can even talk and interact with people – human-like robots look after guests and inform them like a concierge. This minimizes the waiting time for the guest on the one hand and the workload of the personnel on the other. However, human employees should not be completely replaced by hotel robots; instead, they free time for more demanding activities and personal care.
Hotel Trend #6: Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer just a gimmick. Although VR is not the very latest technology on the market, it is only slowly arriving in the hotel and tourism industry. Some companies use VR, for example, to sell travel destinations or to offer guests a “virtual tour” through the hotel before booking. Combined with Augmented Reality (AR), many new sales opportunities and marketing strategies will arise for hoteliers in the coming years (just think of the “Pokemon Go” phenomenon). Although VR and AR are no necessity for hotel operations, they open up new ways for the hotelier to market offers and services.
Hotel trend #7: Internet of Things
The Internet of things (IoT) brings the smart home experience closer to the hotel industry. Technologies such as sensor-controlled thermostats, lighting, digital room keys and streaming services in the room are no longer a vision of the future. This grounds in the fact that we always carry our mobile devices with us and rely on them: No matter whether we use our smartphone as a travel guide, the tablet for streaming movies or take the laptop on our business trip. The devices and accounts are connected to each other and work together through the web so that the stay in the hotel becomes even more comfortable. Hoteliers should check the possibilities of the Internet of Things for their own business.
2018 promises to be a year of technical change in the hotel industry. However, success does not depend on following every trend, but rather on identifying the right technologies that have the greatest impact on your business and on your guests.