Tech Thursday: Inside the Latest Hospitality Technology Innovation
Next generation hospitality technology is already changing the way we feed guests, market properties, and even enter rooms. Here are some ways to use hospitality technology innovations and stay on the cutting edge of the latest trends.
16 Creative Ways Hoteliers Can Incorporate the Latest Hospitality Technology Innovations
Learn how to use these cool tools, apps, and supplies.
1. Mobile Door Keys
What It Is: Phones are replacing plastic cards as a way to access hotel rooms. All guests have to do is download a mobile app and keep their phones or devices handy. Because key cards have a history of being hit or miss (demagnetization, getting misplaced, etc.), this hospitality technology innovation elevates the guest experience with a more convenient tool they are already accustomed to using.
How to Use It: Update your system using tools like OpenKey or any other secure provider. And if you like the environmentally friendly aspect of this trend but don’t want to give up your card system, try switching to wood fiber versions (they’re waterproof and reduce plastic waste).
2. Online Review Monitoring
What It Is: Most customers will interact with your brand in some way online before they contact your hotel directly. That includes seeing your social media, finding your hotel in search engine results, and, yes, reading review sites. The best way to handle reviews (both positive and negative) is to respond to them quickly and correct any pending issues as soon as possible while customers still care enough to possibly update their comment. Tools like online review monitoring give real time updates across all possible platforms so you can provide better service faster than ever before.
How to Use It: Hotel social media managers and guest service departments can collaborate on the task of addressing requests, doing additional research, and updating customer files as needed.
3. Custom Travel Itinerary Apps
What It Is: Big hotel chains are getting into personalized tech, which includes tools that help customers make more informed choices during their stay. These apps can list things to do both on and offsite, create a nice visual of the itinerary, provide concierge-worthy recommendations, and even serve as a direct booking platform for guest self-service.
How to Use It: If live events are an important part of your marketing strategy, you can easily promote your get togethers through your own itinerary app to fuel attendance.
4. Tech-Led Vegan and Vegetarian Dining
What It Is: Go beyond dietary preference and restriction notes to bring millions of U.S. citizens dining solutions they crave. Plant-based food science has come a long way, and enterprising hotels now offer guests vegan or vegetarian menus. Some brands have even gone as far as creating vegan suites and vegan spa packages.
How to Use It: Even if you can only offer one delicious, veggie-based entree at a time, implementing small changes over time can help you keep up with popular lifestyle practices.
5. Customer Service Texting
What It Is: Most guests (about 67% of them) would rather text strangers than call them. Which is why customer service messaging programs are trending in hospitality tech right now. Brands like the Shangri-LA are already finding success with customer based texting since its addition to their services only a few months ago.
How to Use It: WiFi texting is great for hotels that accomodate mostly international clientele. You can either adopt a popular third party service (like Shangri-LA did when they chose to partner with WeChat) or add the feature to your hotel brand app.
6. AI Virtual Agents
What It Is: Robots will not be replacing your front desk agents any time soon but they can offer assistance for central reservations. The programs on the market today can autonomously answer customer questions (with a high level of user satisfaction), reduce labor associated with low ROI interactions, and help your team focus on revenue related tasks.
How to Use It: Streamline operations with tools like Hotelequia or the newest solution from RLH.
7. Personal Voice Assistant Usage
What It Is: If your rooms come with a voice assistant, you should consider allowing your guests to use them in a new way – by connecting them to their own personal accounts. It’s a move that has called data security into question in the past, but brands like Westin say the change has been a hit.
How to Use It: The reason why guests are so excited about this trend is because it makes their hotel rooms can feel more and more like a home away from home. Even if you don’t offer voice assistant technology on your property right now, you can still keep this basic principle in mind when designing future spaces.
8. RFID Bracelets for Self Service
What It Is: These technology enhanced wristbands are already being used by many resorts and attractions but smaller, independent hotel brands are also making the switch. They assist guests with check-in services, securely store payment information for cardless transactions, and help valet attendants provide better service too.
How to Use It: Most RFID bracelet providers for hotel chains offer custom branding, so take advantage of this marketing opportunity the same way you would with a key card.
9. Franchise Solutions
What It Is: Project management platforms are being used by brand name hotels to streamline the franchise purchase and ownership process. Not only do these tools ensure uniform service and branding across all properties, they also offer powerful search features as well as a library of information franchise owners can access at any time.
How to Use It: Even if your hotel isn’t a franchise, you can easily use your hotel management platform to better educate staff leaders with updated and accessible policy tools.
10. 5G Connectivity
What It Is: Move over other high speed internet options, shiny new 5G is here and it’s ready to help guests download content and transfer data exponentially faster than ever before. This will become increasingly more important as hotels continue to adopt the latest technology innovations like the ones mentioned above. And, it’s important to note, fast internet is one of the biggest reasons hotels get (and keep) their 5 star reviews.
How to Use It: Take a look at your 5G options (there are more available on the market than ever before). If you still can’t find one that suits your needs, take a closer look at your hotel connectivity landscape.
11. Facial Recognition
What It Is: Facial recognition technology is being used to scan hotel guests’ faces and create personalized room key cards. It makes checking in a lot faster (in 3 seconds some reports say) and simpler for everyone involved. It can also be used to automatically open doors and pay for amenities or services.
How to Use It: This hospitality technology innovation is especially important for brands looking to deliver a magical experience. If you’re not sure that your guests will be receptive to the addition quite yet, set your staff up in the system to help them access certain property areas and practice checking each other in or out.
12. Lifestyle Brands Starting Hotels
What It Is: Companies like Equinox are getting into the hotel game, offering luxury accommodation with wellness focused practices that involve the latest technology including chat bot workout reminders, guest health monitoring, and a mobile app that makes it easy to book one of their many classes or trainers.
How to Use It: How does this apply to traditional hotel structures? Fitness isn’t limited to lifestyle brands. Incorporating even just a handful of these practices into your guest experience strategy will help your brand take advantage of trending health topic.
13. Circadian Friendly Room Lighting
What It Is: Natural light and blue light from devices directly affect our daily circadian rhythms and our sleep quality. So it makes sense why hotel lighting options are now being equipped with features like mobile task lights and other products that provide LED bulbs (a key lighting component that promotes better sleep hygiene).
How to Use It: Circadian lighting can be achieved with a variety of affordable tools such as special light bulbs.
14. Advanced Energy Management
What It Is: Hotels are turning to both hardware and software solutions to save energy costs for things like heating, cooling, and electricity. Although energy management isn’t new, the hospitality technology innovations we use to monitor, assess, and adjust it is.
How to Use It: Try out any combination of new-to-market hotel management options, including occupancy sensors that automatically turn off lights in unoccupied rooms, historical energy usage reports by room, energy dashboards that provide actionable insights into your hotel as a whole.
15. Sustainable Cleaning Products
What It Is: Faster cleaning products that improve guest satisfaction and work to save the environment all at the same time? Sign us up! New anti-bacterial sprays by companies like CleanCoat offer fast and efficient surface cleaning that relies on titanium dioxide (a common sunscreen ingredient) to provide an unscented solution
How to Use It: You could also try out one of these great eco-friendly industrial cleaners.
16. Real-Time Language Translation
What It Is: Guest communication is obviously important and sometimes you don’t always have someone who can speak the right language available at the right time. Use real-time voice translation tools to help guests on the spot with a little help from Google.
How to Use It: Employees can use a translation app on their personal phones or you can offer them task-specific handheld tools.
Now you’re ready to add even more great hospitality tech solutions to your toolkit!
Next up, listen to some of these great hospitality podcasts, hire an agency for your rebrand, and learn more about how robots are shaping the modern guest experience.