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The Smart Hotel: How technology can create the ultimate customer experience
How can new technologies such as IoT and AI make an impact in the Hospitality and Leisure market? And how will it affect the millions of global travellers & tourists? Let’s start with a little scenario…
By Daniel Archut & Fleurine Mijinke - 06 November 2018
It is a Monday in 2025.
After a long but successful day at work, you return back to your hotel, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The hologram receptionist greets you politely by name when you enter the hotel, you navigate through the hotel with ease using your mobile phone. As you walk to your room, you are reminded about what makes you feel so good about this hotel: sustainability and technology. The hotel’s solar panels follow the sun like sunflowers generating clean energy. Rainwater is collected, stored locally and reused for flushing toilets and watering the many plants inside and outside of the hotel. The hotel is fully booked today but even if it wasn’t, it uses artificial intelligence to optimize occupancy, grouping visitors on specific floors. This way of managing rooms doesn’t interfere with the customer experience but enables smart hotels to save costs on utilities (e.g.; energy, heating, cooling) and cleaning.
You have arrived at your room. You open the door by waving your mobile phone. Inside of your room you point the phone's camera at the ceiling lights and take control of the room’s systems. Now you can customize everything in your room to your liking. You change the colour of the lights, play music, order food, set the alarm, turn on the TV to watch movies using the hotel system or by using your own Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriptions.
As you settle in, you realize that your favourite drink is missing from the minibar. You point your camera at the minibar and order it with the help of a holographic butler. Using the same system, you catch up with your best friend who is currently working in New York, right from the comfort of your room. In addition when you enter the hotel restaurant or bar, you scan your QR code on the table or the bar and order your food and drinks yourself.
The hotel of the future understands the different client needs. Are you a business traveller? After a good night’s sleep, you receive the information from your device that the traffic in Amsterdam is busier than usual. Therefore, unfortunately, you have to skip the breakfast at the hotel and have to rush to your appointment at work. Surprisingly, the hotel ensured that your breakfast package has been flown by a drone to your office area. At night, it suggests a nice place for you to take your client.
Are you travelling for leisure? Your device suggests you the latest interesting spots in the city based on your preferences, including booking tickets to avoid queues at the main attractions to see that concert that is almost sold out.
Use Hospitality-4.0 to win clients’ hearts and save costs
You might wonder how and if the former scenario is becoming a reality. After all, though some of the elements described might be desirable and promise great hospitality, they may seem rather a scene out of a Sci-Fi movie than daily hotel reality. However, every element described will be available in the near future or is already available today.
The hospitality of tomorrow will be enabled by a plenitude of connected sensors and other objects – the Internet of Things can make buildings, and hotels, smart & connected. Decision-makers in the hospitality and leisure industry are increasingly challenged by the question of which technology hotels must include to be future proof, especially in the pre-build planning phase. Companies that are currently managing or developing smart properties understand that this isn’t a one off task: Smart buildings and hotels can only exist if there is a clear and persistent focus on value and continuous investment in the enabling technology. This is mainly due to the fact, that technology is evolving at an extremely rapid pace and a few years of neglected investment will turn new buildings into an aged property.
Building the capabilities to manage a truly intelligent and interconnected building is equally as important as answering the technology question. Continuously being present in the market place, staying up-to-date with market developments, is necessary to deliver an outstanding experience to your future customers. Adding new and exciting features to your building with a software update rather than renovating half the building is the future and drives efficiency going forward.
Exciting technologies and use-cases to watch closely
State of the art image processing recognizes your face and automatically knows that you are around. With the introduction of 5G technology greatly enhancing speed of moving data in the mobile network, hologram streaming becomes a likely technology to make an impact on any industry in the near future. Artificial Intelligence powered chat bots will respond to your requests at any moment and anytime. You need something? Just ask. Better even, natural language processing will mature further and be able to hold natural conversation with you. Talking to your hotel room, having your personal hologram butler or receptionist, all thanks to technology. But what about the breakfast? Will drones really bring me my food in the future in case I missed it? Yes, we see Uber already preparing their business model, for a drone based delivery service and in China it is common in most of the restaurants to already scan your QR code on the table and order by means of the ‘menu app’. No reason to not expect this hospitality treat to come to sophisticated places near you.
All in all, the future is exciting for the hospitality and leisure industry. New technology enables hospitality to take the customer experience and service to the next level. However, privacy concerns need to be handled with deliberation and care. It is of crucial importance to businesses around the globe to approach technological advancements with due prudence
Look at new technologies as an add on, look at it as a solution for a problem, to efficiently enhance the customer experience. Taking the above developments in mind, the future looks full of opportunities for the hospitality and leisure industry.
Are you interested in how technology can up the experience for your hotel, and what the best ways are to start? Or are you curious which developments are unfolding in the hospitality and leisure industry? Please reach out to our experts below.