The hotel industry is changing – and changing fast. Now, more than ever before, leading hotels are pushing back boundaries and using innovative ways to improve the guest experience and woo return bookings. But what are the top trends in service innovation? We take a look at the five biggest ways to improve your guest experience and keep your bookings on track.
Technology and the various perks that come with discovery and innovation, are the biggest givers. Hotels now have some truly ingenious ways to revolutionizing the way they do business. Travel industry innovations range from robotics and AI, to virtual reality tours, security and smart rooms.
Smart hotel rooms
As our homes become increasingly integrated technology-wise, it stands to reason that hotel rooms should be leading the way already with this latest technology. The rooms can be set up to suit each customer’s preferences. These include dimmed lights, temperature settings, lights that turn on when guests get out of bed, air conditioning, voice activated curtains and locks as well as main light switches. Light switches actually seem to be the first port of call for smart rooms, as many hoteliers find guests are confused by in-room set-ups and finding the correct lights for the bathroom and bedrooms.
Based on client preferences an algorithm can allocate rooms in a quiet area of a room on an upper floor. The slightly dimmed light feels cosy and warm. The temperature is just right and even the humidity is set to a degree they feel comfortable with. Additional sensors in the room can further increase the comfort. For instance, a sensor can tell when guests get out of bed from bed and automatically activate little guiding lights, making it unnecessary to look for the light switch in the dark. The available technology already provides vast possibilities to set the perfect atmosphere, tailored to exceed client expectation.
Smart room sustainability
Another reason why smart rooms are a good idea, is sustainability. A system that is refined and automated, is also energy-saving. Once the initial investment is made, hotels make savings energy usage. Not only does this streamline bills, its also better for the environment. Eco hotels are enjoying a spike in terms of trending – so this is a good selling point.
Smart rooms are also about convenience for the guest. Devices like Alexa are already being installed as standard in some high-end hotel rooms. This enables guests to make enquiries about where to eat out, local services, weather forecasts and more.
Yes, a Jetsons as it sounds, we are now on the technical edge of robotic servants managing guest experience. Indeed, Botlers, as they are called, are already being used in a number of exclusive properties, to carry out simple tasks, and to free up other staff so that service can be improved. The Botlers do meet and greet, take simple requests for refreshments and manage tasks such as removing laundry from rooms and delivering room service.
Currently they have the wow factor. But it remains to be seen of these technical innovations will become popular enough to replace actual staff. Once an investment has been made though, one can see the attraction for hotels. A member of staff you can rely in to work around the clock, who never gets in a bad mood, won’t make a mistake and doesn’t need a salary. In terms of trends, one could even see Botlers becoming so commonplace in, that trendsetting hotels in the future might employ human staff as a high-end luxury service…
Virtual reality tours
Virtual reality tours, and VR technology, is also an experimental reality for some properties – and is expected to become far more widespread over the next five years. The VR platform enables guests to try before they buy when looking at visiting certain places. This tech is also great if the hotel has sister properties and offers VR walk-throughs. You can literally visit an entire property through the VR tour, without ever having stepped out of the room.
As VR isn’t a commonplace technology in households at this time, it’s potential won’t be reach for several years. However, imagine that you can simply plug in a head set and take a tour of resort three thousand miles away? Virtual reality will revolutionize the travel industry because customers will have the option to virtually try before they buy. Those properties unwilling to invest in such tech, will inevitably be those that get left behind.