8 #Hoteltech Trends Disrupting Hospitality and Tourism
Room service? There’s an app for that. Consumer demands are changing and hoteltech is responding. Here we look at 8 hoteltech trends currently disrupting hospitality and tourism.
For many years, the process of booking into a hotel and accessing its benefits during a stay has remained largely unchanged. Although room and resource booking have been largely electronic for some time, some booking applications are little more than a simple electronic diary. However, things are on the move. Keyless entry systems are being linked to booking systems and many of these features are becoming accessible by way of an API (Application Programming Interface), giving access to external agents. This type of access allows event planners to manage room blocks in full with event management & ticketing software.
Opening Up Hotel Data
Opening up the data for external agents allowed developers to get creative. In recent years we’ve seen many examples of hotel data being combined with data from other software such as event apps. Not only does this data allow communication with external applications but it allows previously disparate local systems to become connected. This can help hotel staff see everything they need on one screen and/or within one application and will also provide better data to help improve the guest experience.
Innovation and Disruption
All of this new data available from connected systems and multiple digital touch points combined with mobile technology has allowed developers to think completely outside the box, not only augmenting the guest experience but in some ways, completely changing it altogether. This has led to completely new industry sectors being formed by the likes of Airbnb, more comparison sites than any would-be hotel guest could ever need and exciting new ways to access information and get things done. Below we look at eight of the top hoteltech trends we’re seeing disrupting the hotel industry right now.
8 Ways #Hoteltech is Disrupting Hospitality and Tourism
1. The App Hotel
One hoteltech startup is using mobile technology to completely change the guest experience. The AavGo mobile and tablet based hotel system allows guests to do just about everything that would normally require a phone call or visit to the front desk. This includes ordering room service, accessing information about the hotel and surroundings and communicating directly with staff for more complex requests.
2. Virtual Concierge and Personal Assistants
Consumers are starting to get used to personal assistants on their phones and in their homes, and they’re beginning to expect it in their hotel rooms and even extended to the whole trip. Naturally, technology has an answer for this. Many hotels are beginning to adopt virtual concierge systems to help improve the guest experience. Hotels.com also responded to this need earlier this year by creating a virtual concierge system which not only helped customers book their stay but also manage travel and food delivery.
3. Connectivity Everywhere
It’s not acceptable these days to have a single power socket and maybe a one bar WiFi signal if you lean out of the window but it does still happen. However, there is a trend which is set to change this forever. Hotels which provide guests with everything they need to get online, wherever they might be will leave those that don’t for dust. These days, that involves more than just a good WiFi signal. Having the right kind of facilities for charging a multitude of devices not only in rooms but also in communal areas will be a big bonus to guests.
4. Relay Robots
Why send a human to a hotel room with a room service order when a robot can do it? For simpler room service requests like a toothbrush or a midnight snack, a robot can easily take the strain off busy hotel staff. Allowing guests to order things to be delivered by a robot from a click of an icon on a smartphone app could be a real boost in convenience for guests and a huge timesaver for hotel staff.
5. Booking by Chatbot
Chatbots are creeping into many different sectors of many different industries and that includes hotels. Services like SnapTravel allow customers to book hotel rooms by SMS or Facebook Messenger, removing the need to make phone calls. Customers can also ask the chatbot difficult questions about bookings and where the bot can’t respond, a human operator is on hand to fill in the blanks.
6. Comparison Sites
In recent years comparison sites have proliferated every corner of the Internet, allowing customers to find the best deal for just about anything they might want. This, of course, extends to hotel bookings. Comparison sites allow the customer to choose from a broad range of accommodation options and compare like-for-like. Many comparison sites also include non-partisan reviews to help customers find the right match.
7. DIY Accommodation
Sites like Airbnb are rapidly changing the game by effectively allowing anyone to let an apartment, room or even a whole house using a self-service online platform. The impact of this technology has been felt throughout the industry, with private hires taking a bigger chunk of the hotel market each year. The convenience of online booking, diversity of type and location of stay, and one-to-one communication between the customer and the accommodation provider are huge benefits that will be hard for larger hotel chains to match.
8. Mobile Based Keyless Entry
Once upon a time, hotel keys were actual keys. Bulky metal objects which you stuck in a hole and twisted to gain access. The system was primitive and effective but not ideal. Later on, the metal object was replaced by a plastic card that would fit in a wallet. We have now reached a point where we don’t necessarily need to carry a physical key at all. Just like with mobile payments, it’s possible to access a hotel room with a single tap. The same keyless system could also be used to access other products and services available at the hotel.
Technology is without a doubt having a huge impact on hospitality and tourism and the industry. Through smart use of mobile technology, the Internet, and AI, hotels are adapting to a new breed of tech-savvy customers who demand more, faster, and at the touch of an icon on a smartphone app.
New startups are bringing exciting new developments to the guest experience but the old guard is not simply laying down and taking it. Large incumbent hotel chains are also adopting a technology-led customer-first approach, paving the way for a bright future in Hoteltech.
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