Keeping up with the latest technology trends is essential for those operating in the hospitality industry, because the industry itself is extremely competitive. This means that those who fail to adapt can quickly find that they are being left behind by hotel and travel companies that have implemented new approaches and ideas.
7 Technology Trends in the Hospitality Industry
1. Recognition Technology
Recognition technology is one of the most important emerging tech trends in general, but its potential uses in the hospitality industry are especially interesting. In particular, biometrics is being used to usher in a new age of seamless authentications, and this could benefit hotel processes and customer purchases.
For example, imagine if finger print or facial recognition technology could be used in your hotel to unlock rooms. Now consider the uses of the same technology for check-in and check-out purposes. In the future, this technology is also likely to allow for completely seamless purchases, with payments being authenticated by touch.
Another exciting tech trend has been the emergence of robots and many hospitality companies are putting them to good use already. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the Hilton robot concierge ‘Connie’, which uses speech recognition and AI to respond to queries from customers and intelligently learn from interactions.
However, this is far from the only such example. Knightscope robots are being deployed in some airports for security purposes, while the Henn-na Hotel in Japan has drawn headlines for being the world’s first robot-staffed hotel, with robots being used as front desk staff, customer information tools and even as luggage porters.
3. Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence
In the modern age, customers expect to be able to interact with hospitality companies across a variety of digital channels and receive rapid responses. Of course, actually having staff monitoring all of those channels and delivering swift responses can be difficult, if not impossible, which is where chatbots and AI come in.
Chatbots are able to understand simple questions and provide answers almost instantaneously, taking the burden away from customer service staff and improving the experience for customers. Meanwhile, AI’s uses extend into other important areas for hotels too, including data analysis.
4. Internet of Things (IoT)
Another technological trend within the hospitality industry is the The ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT, involves extending internet connectivity to everyday objects, devices and appliances. These devices can then collect data and communicate or interact over the internet, turning previously unintelligent devices into ‘smart’ devices, which are often semi or fully autonomous.
An example of this already being used with the hospitality industry is internet-enabled thermostats, which are used to automatically adjust room temperatures at check-in and check-out times, or in response to temperature swings caused by the sun, or by windows being opened. The same concept is also being deployed for lighting, improving energy efficiency by, for instance, reducing light intensity during daylight hours.
5. Big Data
Data collection has grown rapidly across almost all industries, but can be used to great effect by hospitality businesses to provide more personalised experiences. As an example, it could be used by travel agents to make intelligent destination recommendations, based on age, gender, budget, previous locations visited, and so on.
Within the hotel industry, big data allows businesses to identify trends, which can be used for revenue managment purposes. This allows for more data-driven approaches to pricing strategies and enables business leaders to gain a clearer understanding of current business performance and the outside influences that impact upon it.
6. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has been one of the most talked-about technology trends of recent years, and its uses within the hospitality industry are almost endless, due to its capacity to place customers in virtual settings. This can be used everywhere from the booking stage of the customer journey, through to the hotel stay itself.
More and more, hotel websites are using 360 degrees imaging technology to allow virtual reality users to experience rooms in their hotel before they book. This technology can also be extended to provide them with a virtual experience of local attractions, while VR headsets can also be used in hotels, for entertainment purposes.
7. Augmented Reality
Finally, augmented reality has exploded in a similar way to VR technology, but is even more accessible; typically requiring little more than access to a smartphone and the internet. Unlike VR, which places users in a digital environment, augmented reality is about enhancing the real-world environment through information overlays.
Again, this offers limitless potential. Imagine if your hotel provided AR-compatible wall maps, where customers can point their phone at the map and find out information about specific locations. Alternatively, how about an app, which allow users to see customer reviews of local restaurants by looking at the building through their phone?
For those in the hospitality industry, keeping up with the latest technology trends is of the utmost importance, not only to improve the customer experience, but also to improve internal processes at the same time. By exploring the seven technology trends detailed above, you can help to ensure that your business stays ahead of its rivals.