Hotels as we know them are changing. A new, younger generation of guest are now used to greater agency over their guest experiences, more home comforts, and a more tech-savvy service. With increasing competition from the fast growing renting and sharing economy, hotels must adapt in order to provide visitors with a greater – and more tailored – guest experience. But how can hotels provide tailored guest experiences to hundreds of guests at a time? The answer is, of course, innovation. Hotels must change in order to provide the home comforts that the new generation of travellers are looking for, and to keep guests coming back.
Here are 5 trends that are innovating the hotel industry in 2018:
VR is somewhat the current tech buzzword. Rising to prominence over the last few years, VR is starting to have real business applications. In the hotel industry, it gives guests the chance to view hotels and rooms before they buy. A VR headset can act as a virtual brochure.
The Marriott, for example, has introduced an in-destination VR service called VRoom Service which guests can use for 24 hours. The VR devices contain ‘VR postcards’ – first hand travel stories about unique destinations. This has the potential to encourage new holiday bookings and experiences offered by the hotel.
A newer, ‘greener’ generation of guest expects hotels to take a more eco-friendly approach. In previous years, managing the energy consumed by hundreds of guests has been a problem. Hotels are tackling this with the use of smart thermostats, LED lighting, eco-friendly laundry units which save water, motion sensor lighting, and energy-efficient kitchen appliances.
Mobile devices as room keys
Room keys are getting a digital upgrade by being transferred to a guest’s mobile device. The guest can swipe their phone across a keyless pad on the door and, with the corresponding mobile app, unlock the room. This access is encrypted and linked to the guest’s phone number (and cannot be transferred to another device).
Smart rooms are allowing guests greater control of their own experience, allowing them to customise their environment to suit their needs. For example, guests can use their smartphones to adjust the lighting and temperature in their room, open their binds in the morning, and stream their Netflix favourites on the TV. Hilton are using this technology through the Hilton app, and are also looking into voice activated capabilities that can remember your preferences for your next visit.
Metasearch engines could make it easier for guests to compare hotel prices and book the right room for them. This provides an easier booking journey for the customer, as they are able to quickly compare results instead of using several comparison platforms, driving guests to hotels faster.
Embracing new technology can only improve both the guest experience and the popularity of hotels. In fact, keeping hotel technology current is key to remaining competitive. Technology should be there to help, rather than hinder, guest experience. The more that hotel technology improves the experience of the customer, the more likely that the customer will want to return.