6 Technology Trends Affecting the Hotel Industry
The hotel industry has evolved in recent years thanks to improvements and advances in technology. From mobile check-in, streaming devices that allow guests to view content from their computers and tablets on the TV in their room to photo and reputation management, the hospitality industry works to stay on top of technology trends their guests expect them to offer when they check into a hotel. Research conducted by Scotland-based hospitality firm, Criton, examined the desires of more than 3600 travelers. Their research results showed that 62% of those surveyed regularly use an accommodation app on their phones to stay connected to the hotel. The figure increased to 67% among those who travel for business. The opportunity to check-in via an app, as well as access their room using a digital door key, was important to 58% of those surveyed. Finally, 68% found it unacceptable to wait in line at check-in for more than five minutes and they would rather check-in using a mobile app.
Artificial Intelligence Influences Hospitality Industry
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the hospitality industry by performing human functions at any time of the day. AI is used for online chat services for simple questions and requests, as well as direct messaging to consumers, which allows customers to ask questions and get answers with quick response times. Artificial intelligence allows hotels to analyze their online reputation by monitoring reviews and social media posts on a regular basis to see what people are saying about their business. Positive reviews can be shared while negative reviews can be addressed and resolved. Also, AI allows the hotel industry to search map population density data against circulation data to see where the demand for rooms exceeds availability to determine where to expand and what kind of hotel to build.
Photo Management and Distribution System Software
Hotel photo management software allows hoteliers to control and protect their brand online. A photo management and distribution system give hotel management the ability to track which images were uploaded, see if they were modified and if anyone edited the images. Technology allows hoteliers to brand their property using the Ice Portal photo management and distribution system to upload high-quality approved digital images to thousands of websites such as TripAdvisor and Expedia. Managing the use of images on these sites allows the hospitality industry to reach more people looking for information about properties when planning a trip.
Intelligent Applications & Analytics Improves User Experience
Intelligent applications and analytics improve user experience in numerous ways. Intelligent apps reduce the total amount of application expertise needed by employees on the systems they use daily. In turn, this reduces the daily workload on employees as intelligent applications can provide services that used to need multiple dedicated employees to perform. While some hotel industry employees are afraid that intelligent applications will replace them, their actual purpose is to augment their work and make the user experience better than it was in the past. At the same time, analytics utilize machine learning for data collection, data preparation and further insights that benefit both hotel guests and members of the hospitality industry.
The Internet of Things: I.o.T. in Hospitality
The Internet of Things (I.o.T.) is a commonly used phrase that is not clear for many people. The definition of the “Internet of Things” is “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data”. For example, I.o.T. in hospitality includes the incorporation of technology such as Bluetooth and/or wi-fi into devices that were previously static, making them easier to use. Thanks to cloud connectivity, as well as onboard AI and advanced analytics, these previously static devices may be able to make decisions better than a human experienced in the task at hand. The hospitality industry, including companies such as Marriott and Best Western, are using I.o.T in hospitality technology to test voice-controlled customer service similar to products such as Amazon Echo.
Blockchain Technology and Hotel Cryptocurrency
Blockchain technology and hotel cryptocurrency go hand in hand. Blockchain is a token ledger that removes ownership or friction from bits of information which, in turn, allows unverified parties to exchange secure information across standard online networks. While Blockchain technology and hotel cryptocurrency have not gained widespread acceptance yet, due to both of them not being fully tested, there are many people looking forward to using their content sharing features, data transfer capability, and security features to enhance the customer experience in the hotel industry.
Hospitality and the Cloud Technology
Cloud technology has allowed the hospitality industry to enjoy a single system (that is scalable) capable of managing all aspects of their business. On-site hotel industry management software can save businesses up to 50% in IT costs, while also reducing hardware and maintenance costs, according to a study from Frost & Sullivan. Cloud-based applications are software as a service (SaaS) which means there is no expensive hardware to install. Plus, the cost of maintenance and operational fees are part of the package. Cloud-based technology enhances the guest experience by collecting data that allows hotels to predict and personalize the guest experience based on previous visits and compiled guest data. Cloud-based technology also offers increased data protection and amenities such as remote check-in/check-out, mobile room keys and room service suggestions based on past orders.