7 Ways Hotels are Moving to an Automated Future
Smartphones and tablets already control most all aspects of our lives — from business to travel, grocery shopping to medical appointments. Self-service claims have become the present age currency. As a result, when it comes to hotel accommodations, guests want to experience the same self-service alternatives. This article from Trilyo, which provides self-service hospitality solutions like room bookings, check-ins and check-outs, and personalized payments, will take a look at how automation is becoming a part of the hospitality industry and how it is improving the guest experience.
1. Digital Room Keys
The new era of hotel entry is keyless, cardless and is re-defining the standards of guest experience. As in the case of 17 Marriott Hotels, the Marriott MobileApp is now the room key for guests enabling them to skip the front desk and check-in to gain access to their room and other hotel services. This automation frees up hotel staff, allowing them to engage with guests and provide an exceptional experience for them. Furthermore, it helps the hotel in branding and acquiring a loyal customer base. However, OTAs such as Expedia, might give hotels a run for their money as they are coming up with a keyless-entry feature on their own mobile-booking apps!
2. Guestroom Automation
The Shangri-La Hotel, Abu Dhabi houses 214 rooms and has successfully implemented a state-of-the-art Guest Automation System. When the hotel reservation system switches to an “Occupied” status of a room from being “Vacant”, the central station adjusts the room temperature to an ideal level as guests head towards their room. The system also provides valuable operational data such as staff response to the guest call, energy saving data, room occupancy status etc., and reduces manual errors by the hotel staff significantly.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Hotels are now using AI to create unique and memorable customer experiences in combination with automated room features. For instance, when a room is programmed by the guest to "wakeup" during the morning hours, AI could trigger automated features such as the drapes opening and turning on a preferred news or radio station.
Currently the Al Ain Rotana Hotel, UAE which houses 90 guest rooms provides guests with in-room personalization as well. Each room consists of a smart bed side console from where the guest can operate all the lights in the room, switch the air-conditioning on or off, and adjust and view the temperature in the room as part of the Guest Automation System.
AI could also be used, in the form of push marketing offers or chatbots, to remind hotel guests to grab a meal or drink from the onsite bar and restaurant, to schedule a room cleaning service, or to add a spa service to their stay.
4. Improving Environmental Impact
Utilities are responsible for around 6% of operating costs. Energy costs are on the rise and so is environmental consciousness, so hoteliers must shift towards sustainable practices, and the best way to start is with the guest room. Lights and air conditioning can be shut off based on guest activity and room occupancy. For example, if a guest is on the balcony, the sensors in the other room spaces "notice" and will switch to standby mode. Plus, guests enjoy a great welcome experience when the welcome lights turn on upon arrival, then sensors switch them off automatically when the main lights come on.
5. Mobile Concierge Services
As the consumer tendency shifts toward text messages and voice chats over phone calls or in-person communication, mobile concierge services will become more in demand. The Marriott MobileApp already offers this with its feature called “Ask Anything.” It is a round-the-clock concierge service that attends to beyond basic requests like ordering bath and bed linens, room-cleaning services or just a simple “Where is the best place to go out tonight?” It can also connect guests directly to a staff member, bypassing the phone or a visit at the front desk.
6. Guest Reviews
Hotels often shy away from confronting their guests to ask for reviews. Automated Feedback Systems send pre-scheduled emails to recently checked-out guests. As a result, staff time and effort is greatly reduced as customers can sit back and write about their stay on their way to the airport without being bothered by front desk staff.
7. Voice Command Technology
More hotels are offering in-room voice command technology. When placed by the bedside console and equipped to understand voice commands, this personal assistant can offer many of the same amenities as a concierge. It could also be used to control every aspect of lighting, temperature and the audio-visual components of a hotel room. Plus it could be seamlessly integrated with in-house offers and even greet your guests with a “Good morning!” when they wake up.