InterContinental Hotels & Resorts launches AI Smart Rooms in Greater China

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) announced that InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has collaborated with Baidu to introduce the next generation of intelligent hospitality. Smart Rooms, which are powered by artificial intelligence, are expected to improve and redefine customer hotel experience in China’s hospitality industry. From now on, guests staying at InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun and InterContinental Guangzhou Exhibition Centre will be amongst the first to enjoy the AI Smart Rooms. A total of 100 AI powered Club InterContinental suites will be available at InterContinental hotels in gateway cities and key destinations across China within the year. 

Customized for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, the AI solution is developed by Baidu’s DuerOS Platform. It integrates AI technology with hotel operations, and this is supported by hardware upgrades and cloud service. Unlike traditional guest rooms, the newly launched AI Smart Room will fully embrace voice control technology to deliver a more natural human-computer interactive experience.

What makes it more natural? According to Alexander Zhu, director of external communications at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, there is no need to press a button (such as on a phone or wall) or state a command (such as "Turn off the lights"). Instead, the technology recognizes that when a guest says: "I'm going to sleep" that it needs to close the curtains and turn off the lights.

Guests will also be able to freely switch settings between work and leisure modes. According to Zhu, guests want their room to look and feel differently based on whether or not they're using it for business or leisure purposes. For example, they might want the curtains closed while working to remove outside distractions. The technology allows guests to adjust the room's "atmosphere" to accommodate their preferences.The guest can easily switch between the modes using voice commands to say: "I want to sleep, work, shower, etc." 

"The AI technology is helping us elevate the guest experience by integrating true hospitality and intelligent experiences," Zhu says. 

This solution will also further fine-tune the current backstage management system, including customizing information and resetting devices, making hotel management a simpler task. 

“IHG has always been at the forefront of innovation," says Lin Wang, Vice President of Marketing, IHG Greater China. "We are thrilled to be pioneering in the hospitality industry, and exploring the various possibilities of future experience with our guests. Millennials are particularly sensitive to technology, often seeking new things to try. The AI Smart Room will undoubtedly be extremely attractive for them, paving the way for a new level of modernization and consumer satisfaction. We will continue to make use of cutting-edge technology in hotel service and facilities in the future, and we hope this will further strengthen customer awareness and appreciation of smart technology. Meanwhile, we will provide more efficient operation and management services to our hotel owners.”

IHG and Baidu inked a strategic partnership on AI development last November. Since then, the hospitality industry has witnessed a new wave of exploration in this field. The application of AI has gone beyond smart homes and automatic driving, and now marks a new milestone in the hospitality industry. In the future, IHG and Baidu will continue the exploration and innovation in intelligent hospitality solutions, creating more smart options and experiences for guests. 

About the Author


Michal Christine Escobar

Michal Christine Escobar is Hospitality Technology’s Senior Editor, with a concentration on the hotel industry.  She has a decade of experience as a B2B journalist. She is responsible for the hotel beat at the magazine and often writes about AI, VR, IoT and other emerging technologies affecting hospitality.

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