With every passing year comes new technological advancements in most fields. The hotel industry is certainly not left behind in these upgrades, and they consistently output innovative and effective software solutions that deserve some spotlight. These new features cover a wide range of categories in the hotel business, such as (but not limited to) guest services, maintenance, housekeeping, and marketing.
Of course, with 2021 just around the corner, it is likely that new trends and technologies will come into play and potentially dominate the field, but for now, these are the top five hotel technology trends from this past year.
1. Digital Room Keys
What has the potential to never stray from their owner’s pockets or general vicinity? Phones. With this in mind, it makes sense to make the move from key cards over to mobile devices. While it is possible for people to forget their phones somewhere it is less likely that they will misplace their phone over a plastic card. The ease of just walking out of a hotel room with just the necessities and not having to worry about anything extra is quite appealing to most guests.
As far as how it works, for the most part, most hotels are expanding their technology to include a guest mobile application. The “room key” would then be located on that app and simply connect with lock on the door, typically through a bluetooth connection. Ideally, guests could also use this room key to open other areas, such as pools, garages, and the gym.
2. Guest Experience Tracking
Since we’re already talking about mobile applications, let’s keep going! Allowing guests to order room service, housekeeping, select preferences, or even remotely check-in or out, not only provides a limitless amount of customer data for you to go through, but it also equips you with the knowledge (and power) to predict for and market to guests for future stays.
Using smart technology to gather, store, and sort the information that your mobile app gathers is the crucial part of this trend; when a guest downloads your app, they allow you in to see their personal preferences and what makes them the most happy–giving you the opportunity to replicate their experience over and over again. On the app, decisions that guests made previously can be programmed to market themselves again before the guest even begins to think about what they need. This is a great way to increase customer loyalty and boost your marketing strategies.
3. Digital Maintenance Monitoring
With technology comes data; while guest data is incredibly important, what about the data that your property speaks through? In other words, faulty systems and too much energy consumption can run up quite the bill. Maintenance staff is there for these types of problems, but there are technologies out there that can alert you and your staff to these issues before it gets out of hand. In fact, there are even software that use predictive analytics to alert you before an issue actually becomes an issue.
These IoT technologies (Internet of Things) are simple in nature, as they are meters that can be placed in water lines or A/C systems. They periodically measure how the system is doing and report back to you on whether or not maintenance should be conducted. While these systems may be costly, they can ultimately save you the money that you could lose from energy loss or water waste.
4. Self Check-Out
As mentioned earlier, with mobile applications, many normal practices and services are simplified. With the ability to check-in and check-out on your phone, and potentially have your room key on your phone, there is no reason to stop by the front desk. Of course, first impressions will have to be allocated elsewhere, but the employees who would otherwise be at the front desk checking customers in and out can now be working somewhere else. In fact, staff schedule planning can be changed to be more efficient.
For guests who come in late or prefer to go straight to their room, they can do so seamlessly. Customers always appreciate a smooth transition coming or going, and the ability to walk out of the hotel without speaking to anyone is appealing to some. We have self check-outs at grocery stores, so why not also at hotels?
5. More Data Security
With just the previous trends mentioned, the huge amount of data gathered is already implied. This data includes incredibly private information gathered from guests, including phone numbers, monetary info, and even permanent residences. Cybersecurity is more important than ever, and hotels are adjusting to this charge with great responsibility. Because of this, more and more big-data protection companies are working with hotels to ensure that their data and their guests’ data is safe and secure within their system.
Data is an integral part of the hospitality industry, and it’s not something that can be trusted to just any software. Hackers tend to prey on places with the most data as well as where they think there may be a lack of security. Thanks to this trend, there are more solutions to choose from in order to ensure less breaches, or hopefully none at all.
These trends are likely to continue as we move into 2021, but keep an eye out for them and consider taking part!