The innovative technological approach is not new to hotel executives. In fact, 72% of them state they have already started implementing “a considerable proportion of technological innovations” in their business. Why? First, these innovations help meet the customers’ expectations. Along with online shopping, booking, and paying in many industries, people expect hotels to provide similar technology-driven opportunities. Habits are changing, and so should the customer experience at hotels. Second, they improve communication. Chatbots and more complex software solutions allow hotels to provide answers to questions from people all over the globe. The bigger the hotel chain is, the more issues that are eliminated with innovative tools. Third, they are necessary within a highly competitive market. There is no time to wait while your competitors are fighting for every visitor. You can definitely win some points if you provide one innovation that other market players do not have in their arsenal.
With that in mind, here are seven hospitality technology trends for 2020:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The most well-known examples of AI in the hotel industry are chatbots and instant replies. Providing quick answers to the clients’ typical questions is a challenging task for hotels, but modern technologies help cope with it. While hotel employees are focused on improving their services, chatbots talk to clients day and night and never get tired. Apart from that, robots in the hospitality industry are leaving computers and starting to communicate with people directly. Connie, a robot hired by Hilton, consults people about tourist attractions, recommends restaurants, and constantly learns from these conversations to improve her (yes, Connie is a girl) services.
2. Big Data
Hotels receive huge amounts of data about their customers every day, and now they can finally make use of it. Hotel data management gives way to predictive analytics - it allows anticipating a particular level of demand for a given date (or period of time). The data to use in this case: internal data about current and previous bookings and external data about local events or public holidays. Also, hotel data analytics helps to improve customer experience. By gathering reviews on the web (social media or review platforms), managers choose the way to better satisfy the customers’ requirements.
3. Voice Search
Voice-command technologies used in the hospitality industry give visitors more control over their daily routine. They can ask Siri or Alexa to set a reminder, help request a service, or regulate a conditioner. Additionally, hotel employees can focus on the work that needs more human attention as some of the tedious tasks have been replaced by AI. For example, Wynn Las Vegas set up Amazon’s Echo device that helps customers open curtains or get the latest news.
4. Internet of Things (IoT)
The idea of IoT in hotels is to track the customer’s behavior patterns and lower the use of electricity. Numerous sensors placed around the room gather information about the customer’s individual preferences and then create a seamless experience. It includes setting a certain temperature in the room and in the shower or dimming the lights at the right time. Also, sensors can tell when there is no one in the room, and thus turn off all the devices. It allows cutting down on electricity costs significantly and promoting an eco-friendly approach.
5. Virtual Reality (VR)
People can start using virtual hotel environments at the booking stage: 360 degree tours provide immersive experiences for those who want to know more about the room. In other words, clients know exactly what to expect before coming to the hotel. But tours are only the beginning. Such companies as Amadeus recreate the whole booking process in virtual reality. You start with spinning the globe and choosing a destination, then you walk through a plane to pick a seat, check out a car, and finally pay for the trip - all with VR assistance.
6. Direct Bookings through the App
Mobile apps are becoming a vital technology in the hotel industry. People got used to solving lots of issues with their smartphones, and booking a trip is definitely one of those issues. To keep up with the changing market demands, hotels should consider developing their own mobile solution. Marriott International’s app provides users with a great loyalty system that offers cheaper prices for the rooms. The other features include online booking, mobile check-in, and a mobile key.
7. Recognition Technology
Recognition technology in the hospitality industry includes face and fingerprint recognition. The visitors’ biometrics are used to shorten the check-in and check-out processes. Besides, this technology provides instant access to the room with no need for keys. Potentially, biometrics authentication can allow for payments without wallets or smartphones which makes the check-in process even shorter