Written by: Cristina García
Technology has radically changed the way we live. Today, consumers don’t think how life would be without the technology, which we didn’t have 20 years ago. But this dependence is real. Phobias appear, we stress if we forget our mobile, we make everyday online purchases, etc. By now you already know the scope of new technologies. But what about its reach in the hotel industry? Do you really know how it affects your business?
It is not surprising that the hotel industry has been introduced more and more in the world of new technologies. Thus simplifying the way in which travel consumers plan their holidays and improving the general tourist experience during the stay. And as expected, this has led to a change in the development of infrastructure, business strategies and staff management. Do you know the latest technology trends for hotels?
Wi-Fi is a must, a service that today hotels should be prepared to offer. One of the first questions that your establishment guests will ask is regarding the Wi-Fi password. They take for granted that it is a main service, since most tourists carry their Smartphone (or any other mobile device) with them and want to be able to be connected.
In fact, guests expect that the Internet connection doesn’t have too many interruptions. What does this translate into? Into an improvement in the hotel infrastructure, allowing all areas to have a decent connection that satisfies their customers.
At what cost? It depends on your business, obviously. Many chains have started offering free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, as an indispensable service. Other hotels cannot afford to stop incorporating a payment method, but it has to be rethought that the quality of the service is very important.
Today there are communication and automation systems that allow these operations. Airlines and many airports allow you to check in online to avoid long queues at check-in counters. A breakthrough no doubt! Now imagine that this applies to your hotel.
With an App guests could check in comfortably and select one of the available rooms based on the accommodation they booked. In addition, these systems for loyal customers could collect useful data. Information is power and personalization of experiences, the best way to use it. So, being able to give a personalized welcome is as possible offline as online. And the only thing guests would need is a mobile device.
If you need real examples, look at Starwood Hotels & Resorts that since 2014 is offering this option to Starwood Preferred guests. And also Hilton Worldwide, which offers its HHonors members the ability to check in and pay.
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a wireless technology that enables data exchange between devices at close range. And although it has more applications, the mobile phone payment method is without a doubt the most widespread among the uses of NFC technology.
The convenience it provides is undeniable, because you only need to bring devices to NFC readers to transmit payment data. In fact, it evolves in such a way that it is on course to be the payment method of the future. And you only need a Smartphone!
While Google implemented this system in the United States, in Spain, this payment method with NFC technology came from the hand of payment system companies like Visa or MasterCard with the use of Contactless cards.
We know we can still find hotels with classic door keys. But for those that use magnetized cards, in some cases, we are witnessing how they are replacing them by armbands with the same function, much more comfortable for the guests.
How many times have guests in your establishment forgotten the key inside the room? The last thing we think about when we are on holidays is on that card. For this reason, if the guest should wear a bracelet that identifies the regimen he has reserved, why not use it as a key? It is a 2x1 that not only simplifies the experience of these customers, but also that of your employees.
Now, we can go one step further. As we talked about digital check in, we can also talk about digital keys or smart room keys. With a system that not only allows guests to open their room, but also is the key to other information such as: food preferences or room service requests. With an App the guest can be self-sufficient.
The robotic revolution is here. Some hotels already offer futuristic experiences with robot-waiters. Although it is not for everyone and human contact is still important in the hotel industry, we can see that these artificial intelligence systems are taken into account in different sectors of tourism. In fact, chains such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts already include Savioke Relay robots in their guest experience, to bring small items and snacks. Isn’t it fantastic?
With technology, the way we interact with the world around us has changed. Although the concept of virtual tourism enters into debate, the fact is that the virtual reality or VR allows to present the information of tourist products and services in a different, much more striking way.
Whether as a previous experience of leisure travel or as part of a virtual tourism experience, VR is going to be a new technological revolution and perhaps call to change consumer habits again. And it has infinite applications, from the virtual routes by museum, excursions by safaris, to visits to remote ages and celebrations of events in digital environments.