One of the most significant factors driving hotels’ adoption of new technology is a shift in demographics, specifically a shift toward millennial travelers. Since millennials are helping to steer technology trends, hotels are increasingly adopting technologies to differentiate themselves, attract loyal customers, and increase revenue. For example, some hotels are offering free Wi-Fi, beacons and digital signage technologies as a way to communicate with guests through smartphones, tablets and screens. Hotels that are implementing this technology hope they are showing tech-hungry millennials — as well as other guests — that they are providing the most up-to-date services to create a memorable experience. This article from Digital Social Retail discusses how beacon technology, used in tandem with other technologies, can improve the guest experience and the hotel's bottom line.
Offering guests free Wi-Fi can be a fairly simple and low-cost process that can result in benefits to both the guests and the hotel. Consider this: In order to receive free Wi-Fi, guests must download a mobile app. Once downloaded and in use, the mobile app offers guests not only free Wi-Fi but also information on the hotel’s services, restaurants and other targeted hotel features. The hotel can then use the app to send special perks to guests for the hotel’s facilities—including restaurants, golf clubs, spas and salons. These perks can help draw in guests and increase a hotel’s revenue stream, at a low cost and high return on investment. Hotels can also benefit by selling advertising time slots to locations outside of the hotel such as restaurants and retail shops. For example, the hotel could charge a certain price for a certain restaurant or shop to advertise to the hotel app users. These prices can vary according to the day or time the advertisement is being sent out.
Both large and small hotels around the United States have already adopted beacon technology. Imagine a guest checks into a hotel after a long journey or business trip and sees a digital welcome sign with her name displayed on it, welcoming her like a member of the family. That same guest also receives a notification on her smartphone notifying her of special gifts/offers available to her during her stay. Using those perks helps create customer loyalty while also helping to increase the hotel’s revenue.
Other mobile apps used by hotels and resorts work in tandem with beacons, allowing guests access to special offers and letting them view maps and to contact the hotel and request services. Some hotels are using beacons to send a virtual room key to users’ smartphones, allowing them to unlock their door just by tapping a button. Beacons are additionally being used to accelerate the check-in process for frequent guests and let housekeeping know when guests are still in a room. This can save time and also help solve the problems and expenses of lost keys.
Major resorts are also getting in on the game. For example, during the 2016-–2017 ski season, Courchevel Tourisme's ski resort in France delivered specific information regarding safety, weather and other topics to the mobile devices of guests and tourists who agreed to receive the notifications, with an accuracy of a few decimeters.
Some platforms work seamlessly with mobile screen messaging triggered by BLE beacon connectors communicating with iOS and Android devices running Bluetooth. Many retail locations and shopping malls, college campuses, restaurants, sports areas and hospitals —— as well as entire city shopping districts — are being outfitted with beacon connectors and transforming how the public interacts with their surroundings. For instance, the public can use this technology for way-finding even when indoors and without cell service. This makes it easier for guests to find the hotel's swimming pool, fitness center, bar, vending machines, public bathrooms, spa and more. The technology can even be used to alert valets when to bring a guest’s car around for pickup at the front door.
With a new generation of tech-savvy guests coming through the doors, adopting beacon technology and tastefully designed digital signage will continue to help set hotel chains apart from their less forward-thinking competitors.