One of the most important technological trends within the hospitality industry today is the rise of smart hotel technology. This technology has the capacity to benefit both hotel owners and guests, potentially improving financial results and customer experience.
The world has tended towards a substantially individualized order, and people ask for more. They want personalization instead of standardization. Easy and quick access and user-friendly designs are essential to enhance the experience itself. Property managers are now in search of new strategies to respond to these ever-changing demands. The concept of smart hotels is specifically designed to satisfy these newly emerged needs of guests.
In this article, you will learn more about what a smart hotel actually is, why smart technology is becoming so important, and what the various plus points are.
What is a Smart Hotel?
Briefly, a smart hotel makes use of internet-connected devices capable of communicating or interacting with one another. This is sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) and means that even ordinary devices can send or receive data, making them «smart». The ability for these devices to communicate with one another allow users to control multiple devices from a single control point, such as a remote control, smart phone, tablet or smart speaker.
Mobile applications create a platform in which hotel guests have access to any service just by a click. Having a smartphone is the only condition to get registered to the system.
What Are the Benefits for Hotel Owners and Guests?
The entire smart hotel concept offers benefits to both accommodation owners and guests. In particular, it can save owners money on energy and maintenance costs, by providing guests with an improved customer experience and a far greater degree of personalization. By integrating smart features hotels are providing a modern travel experience that’s stress and hassle free. The added bonus to these tech advancements is that by optimizing comfort, accessibility and convenience, hotels can reduce waste and improve their environmental impact.
Here are the benefits of smart hotels for owners and guests:
- More sustainable accommodation and cost reduction
One of the biggest advantages of a smart hotel room, from the perspective of a hotel owner, is the improved sustainability available. This is primarily linked to energy saving possibilities within the rooms, which can be aided by the automation that the Internet of Things offers. For instance, light bulbs can be set up to automatically increase or decrease in power, based on the levels of light in the room at the time. Similarly, heating can be configured to automatically maintain a certain temperature, with radiators cutting out once that temperature is achieved. All of this then leads to lower energy bills.
- Advanced security of guest, staff and property
A smart hotel solution removes every possibility of manual intervention, amplifying your usual security to the next level. Every corner of your hotel is under the strict scanner, ensuring there is no compromise with the security and safety. Incidents like theft, poor service delivery by staff or anything that spoils your guest`s experience can be solved instantly, with a centralized, secure, and user-friendly smart hotel control interface.
- Improved personalization
As an example, TVs can be remotely set up to refer to guests by their own name, a central control point can be used to set conditions within the room. Through IoT technology, the various devices can then automatically create those conditions.
Additionally, smart TVs and smart speakers can provide guests with the ability to access their own accounts on services like Netflix and Spotify. This along with allowing them to control the conditions within the room makes clients feel as though the trip is specifically catered for their needs.
- Easier access to information
For customers, another major benefit of smart hotel technology is the ability to gain access to information. This could mean a guest using their voice to ask a question and then receiving an intelligent answer. Devices can also be connected up to other hotel services so a customer may be able to use a smart hub to access information about restaurant availability. This can be connected to the restaurant’s booking system.
- Remote management/room controls
Guests can use smartphone app to lock the hotel door, open the curtains, turn on the TV, control the lighting and control the temperature. This state-of-the-art feature makes the experience of staying within the hotel more fun and convenient for them – resulting in higher satisfaction and potentially guaranteeing that they stay at the hotel again.
Examples of Smart Hotels
Yotel in New York, NY – Robotic Luggage Storage
Space in New York City is at a premium, which often translates to a price tag. Located in Hell’s Kitchen, Yotel tries to reduce the cost of a nightly stay by providing space-efficient rooms they call cabins, which feature full-size beds that can be stowed away during the day. To make the check-in process more convenient, Yotel has touch-screen kiosks instead of a front desk staff. If you arrive too early for check-in, you can store your luggage using the Yotel’s friendly robot. You can explore the city and upon return, a crane arm retrieves your luggage from the locker after you input the corresponding code. Yotel is using robotics and artificial intelligence to delight guests while making the most use of its small space.
Wynn Hotel & Resort, Las Vegas, NV – Voice Controlled Room
This resort is the first to implement Amazon Echos in all of its guest rooms – in the summer of 2017. By using their voice, guests will be able to open the curtains, turn on the lights, activate TVs and control the temperature of their rooms as soon as they walk in. The Echos at the Wynn will be pre-set to these commands, so guests won’t be able to use any of the Alexa commands that require a personal account associated with the device. Wynn is considering adding more commands to its Echos in the future.
Aloft Hotel, Cupertino, CA – Robotic Butlers
Aloft in Cupertino is in the heart of Silicon Valley, and it’s no surprise that it’s implementing high-tech features to optimize hospitality for guests. In addition to keyless entry via the Aloft smartphone app and an Apple TV in every room, Aloft employs a robotic butler called Botlr (who certainly looks the part with his built-in bow tie). It delivers towels to you pool-side and is available 24/7 should you want a midnight snack. Forget to bring a toothbrush? Botlr can get that for you too. This frees up Aloft’s front desk staff to attend to more pressing guest concerns, while providing convenience and a sense of control to guests.
Renaissance Midtown Hotel, New York, NY – Digital Concierge
The main feature at the Renaissance Midtown Hotel is an interactive wall called the Discovery Portal. To use it, guests can step onto one of the circular holograms projected on the floor that pertains to a certain category (entertainment or dining, for instance). Motion sensors easily detect where guests stand and then display a number of options that they can select simply by gesturing. In essence, it’s a virtual concierge. The Renaissance Midtown Hotel also offers an in-person concierge service named The Navigator so that guests can get in-depth information on what they’ve found on the Discovery Portal. To top it off, the hotel has a unique «living wall» that displays different New York scenes and artwork depending on the season, making the hotel experience feel dynamic and different as the seasons change.