Technological development and the internet itself is playing a big role in shaping the future of the hospitality industry. Customers today (especially millennials) are accustomed to the fluidity of self-service applications like online bookings and ATM’s, waiting in long queues at the hotel front desk would be the last thing they would like to experience. As a hotelier, it is hard to predetermine decisions which will yield a better-looking balance sheet. Here are seven examples of modern day tech that prove to make the guest experience better, the check-ins faster, provide better security while increasing the revenue.
More hotels are moving towards self-service hotel kiosks, front desks are being integrated with, or replaced completely by these machines. It might seem a bit odd at first, but looking at the results of this application of self-check-in kiosks, it is evident that people are finding it way easier. A kiosk works in a way much like a smartphone, only with the fact that it is programmed for very specific purposes like quick registrations and displaying information, a guest can fill up the registration details using the touchscreen or just use their smartphone to do the same job remotely. All the kiosks are connected to a central server or the main computer that automatically updates the guest status and other information in the database.
Because there is no absolute need for a human to be involved, the chances of errors creeping up in the system are practically zero per cent. The interface is programmed in a manner which detects errors even before a guest makes it. For example, if a guest inputs the wrong registration number, he/she is already asked to correct the mistake, the whole process of detection takes up only a few seconds as opposed to a manual search, saving a lot of time and eliminating chances of queues building up. The best part about automated receptions is the flexibility, guests can choose their preferred language to input details, this works out very well with foreigners who do not speak the native language.
Digital room keys
It is common in hotels for the customers to lose the key provided to them, partially digital locks can be reprogrammed but sometimes the entire locking system has to be replaced, an unnecessary chore for the staff and a nightmare for the guest. Digital room keys take help of the wireless connectivity built into smartphones like Bluetooth and NFC, just like some of the self-check-in the kiosk. The computer program randomizes the key after use every day, to unlock, your smart app should have the required code for that particular day.
Customers like the fact that they do not have to carry anything else than their smartphone, just walking up to a self-service kiosk and tapping their smartphone on it, becomes really convenient when out on a holiday. Together as bundle hotel automation proves to be a very fluid experience. It is very secure as the key changes just after the booking expire, preventing copy of a digital signature on a card or a lock pattern.
Centralized hotel management
Next comes the security of the structure itself. Building management systems provide a single point of control and monitoring of the building, which is connected to the same server or main computer of the hotel and can be accessed from one of the computers or smart apps on mobile devices. The whole system acts as a complex matrix consisting of energy meters, water tank level sensors, STP, security sensors and more, the software automatically detects if something is not normal. External equipment such as elevators can also be integrated.
BMS works completely in the background, alarming immediately if a fault arises. Having a single point of control means you can have all the information at your fingertips and act quickly if a situation arises, preventing any losses.
Motion sensors seem to be gimmicky but the reality is quite the opposite, these sensors together with switch nodes, actuators, LED drivers, light sensors, server software, smart apps and more contribute to make the guest experience even better while saving a significant amount of energy. This makes the lighting, shades etc fully automatic and reduces the number of switches in a room.
The complete assembly targets the highest electricity consuming appliances, the primary examples being lighting, air conditioners, fans etc adjusting each of them for optimum energy consumption without compromising anything on the guest experience. Energy efficient motion sensors also help decrease consumption by placing them in aisles, elevators, sitting area and more.
Perhaps the oldest trick on the list but super effective at the same time. With good planning and creativity, social media can provide tons of marketing while spending almost nothing. Many hotels, or businesses even, try to make a good impression through social media but fail. Consistency is the key to success in such a competition, try to get customer reviews, reply to them, post interesting content, memes sure attract millennials but never overdo it.
Having an active social media helps attract a lot of customers, reviews help in spreading what the customers liked about their stay.
Smart apps and hotel tablets
Some hotels have started using apps or tablets that can control lighting brightness, room temperature, television and more. The system works through a wifi connection which acts as a medium to transmit data, the sensors and nodes do the rest of the work. The application of hotel tablets or smart apps is limitless, personalized apps can display nearby points of interest, different services and recreational activities provided. A guest can set his/her desired preferences according to which the room can be arranged the lighting can be set and much more.
Guests really like this feature as it allows them to experiment with every changeable aspect of their space. Hotels can communicate with the help of text messages attending to their every need.
With the implementation of automation and smart apps, there is a lot of information that can be used. For example, a guest selects the option to go to the spa which is in your hotel through the smart app, employees at the spa can send back info about the when his/her turn is, to avoid queues, the software can calculate at what time the room will be empty and for how long. When the guest checks in the spa using another self-check-in kiosk, another employee can check the supplies such as toilet paper, water bottles etc in the room, making sure the guest is not short of anything.
The information is readily available, it is up to the creativity of your team how you can use it.
You might not go ahead and buy these right away (we do not recommend doing so either, research before you conclude what is best for your business) but, with the help of this article, you surely would have understood what is out there, where the path is leading to and what to expect in the near future.