Hotel technology is fundamental to improving the guest experience, saving time and even money. Hotels must be ready to adapt in order to remain competitive in a constantly changing market where guests will come to expect technological advances to enhance their hotel experience.
For hoteliers, technology proves an important tool in order to streamline operations, automate processes, help with marketing, improve cybersecurity, and help reduce carbon footprint, among many other uses.
In order to stay on top of the most important trends for 2021, we’ve compiled a list of 15 important hotel technology trends that will help you understand and adapt to the future of the hospitality industry.
Hotel technology trends and the future of the hospitality industry
As technology continues to move at a rapid pace, hotels must be capable of adjusting to this new way of life and adapt to meet trends. Furthermore, millennial travelers, the most technologically literate generation, are gaining more and spending power and come to expect technological advances incorporated in their customer journey.
Technology can help provide a state-of-the-art hotel experience, improving service, increasing retention levels, saving money and helping to boost revenue and direct bookings. These advances can help you beat out the competition and attract new customers. So let’s take a look at the trends to watch in 2021.
15 hotel technology trends to watch in 2021
Here we have compiled a list of 15 hotel technology trends to keep an eye on. This is by no means a be-all and end-all list, but it’s important for hoteliers to keep track of these tendencies to be the best they can be. It will allow you to keep surprising your guests with innovation while at the same time streamlining your own processes behind the scenes.
Artificial intelligence seemed like it was years in the making, but now it’s here and it’s here to stay. Hoteliers now rely heavily on artificial intelligence to make better-informed decisions about prices and demand, and to interpret guest data in order to apply more effective marketing strategies and tailor-make packages to fit the guests’ needs.
AI hotel tools can also be used behind the scenes to make operations run more smoothly, by handling repetitive tasks and answering frequently asked questions so that your staff can focus on offering the highest quality service.
With the advent of technology also comes the risk of technology breaches. This is where cybersecurity comes into play. Hotels handle a lot of sensitive data and therefore represent a threat from cyber attacks, such as phishing, ransomware and DDoS attacks.
Hotels must have protocols in place such as frequently changing passwords, using a VPN when accessing the hotel network from outside the hotel, and having a guest network in place so that hotel guests don’t connect to the same network as the one your hotel staff uses on a daily basis.
Nowadays there’s an app for everything, so guests, particularly millennial travellers have come to expect a hotel app to customize their experience. With an app, customers can easily manage their booking, make virtual payments, take a virtual hotel of the rooms, check in and out of the hotel room on their own, and contact hotel staff via chat. It’s also a great way to reconnect with guests in the post-trip phase, through push notifications.
Technology has also come to play an important role in the room. It is designed not only to facilitate a unique experience, but also can prove to be a great money saver for hoteliers.
In-room technology can range from occupancy-based sensors that can reduce energy costs through motion detectors or thermal sensors, which detect when a room is unoccupied and shut off the power. These sensors can also be used to control lighting and implement water-saving when the room is occupied. In addition, LED lighting can also provide huge energy-saving costs and also has a cool effect in the room.
Smart Hotels are those that use technology to make a unique experience and in turn, also make their own lives easier. Smart hotels can implement technological advances such as voice control, facial recognition, and mobile control so that guests are in charge of their own experience. With certain technologies, guests can control the lighting and temperature inside the room, start a bath, turn on some relaxing music and even check in and check out. Smart technology is more sustainable and can help reduce operating costs and energy use.
With thousands of guests passing through a hotel monthly, there is a huge database of big data readily available that can be used to make better sales and marketing decisions. This big data can be collected and interpreted in order to manage revenue, identify specialized offers that will appeal to different target groups, and help make decisions that will positively impact the guest experience.
Virtual reality is a great marketing tool that helps increase the time spent on your site – as well as conversions – and can therefore positively impact your organic rankings in Google. You can provide a virtual reality tour and 360-degree video of your hotel facilities and rooms, which is incredibly beneficial during the booking process. It helps retention rates because guests know what to expect so you are less likely to have disgruntled customers.
Hotel operations have never been easier. Thanks to technological advances and Mews’ hospitality operations platform you can control reservations, revenue management, front-office operations, and housekeeping, all from one platform. This streamlining of the hotel operations process is one of the greatest advances technology has provided the hospitality industry. By applying different technologies to your hotel, staff can efficiently run the hotel and easily monitor performance.
Chatbots are without a doubt essential to any hotel’s marketing strategy. They can assist customers and answer frequently asked questions 24-7, as well as drive direct bookings. Powered by AI, chatbots can take care of the most common requests and transfer guests to the appropriate department without having to have a telephone operator on staff.
Metasearch technology is the future of bookings, with the ability to increase bookings by as much as 180%. Metasearch engines such as Google, TripAdvisor, Skyscanner and Kayak serve as an important competitor research tool for users to compare prices and help drive direct bookings to your website.
Mobiles represent the future of hotel technology. Beyond apps (discussed above), mobile also proves an important tool for streamlining processes such as check-in and check-out, without having to interact at all with the front desk. It can also make service quicker, allowing guests to register before they arrive. For this reason, it is now more important than ever that your hotel’s website is mobile-friendly as many last-minute bookings are made from mobile.
Marketing via text message or Whatsapp
The power of text messages should not be underestimated. While text messages are old news, using them for marketing purposes is becoming more and more popular. It’s a good way to reach your regular and potential guests directly. You can inform guests of promotions, deals, last minute offers without pestering them with phone calls. Conversion rates can increase and it proves a powerful tool for building relationships with guests.
Nowadays, even your smartphone has the possibility for facial recognition. This technology can be used to give a technological edge to the customer’s experience. You can offer facial recognition as a way to access rooms, or the front desk can use it to recognize their guests in order to tailor their services and treat VIP guests with special perks.
Booking technology is constantly changing and helping to improve the booking process, including different software, meta search, and online booking integrations for your website. Furthermore, there are many tools that can be used to help track users and retarget them to direct channels.
Hotel technology can be implemented to improve the user experience throughout the whole customer journey, both online and in person. Online, you can use big data and different hospitality-specific tools to make better-informed decisions based on artificial intelligence and metrics. Implementing the use of new technologies can not only improve the customer experience, but also save you money while giving you an edge against the competition.
Keep in mind these 15 technologies that will help make your life easier as a hotelier by streamlining repetitive tasks and taking human resources away from certain activities that can be easily managed by technology.
Staying on top of the trends will help you better understand what customers will expect in order to continue to innovate and provide exceptional service using the newest technologies. All of this ultimately helps to increase customer retention and satisfaction while at the same time boosting revenue.
3 May 2021
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