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The Role of IoT in Elevating Hotel Operations in 2024

IoT has diverse applicability across hotels – operations, facilities management, risk management, and sustainability.

In its November 2023 US Hospitality Directions report, PwC forecasted that economic headwinds and geopolitical tensions will continue to challenge the U.S. hospitality industry in 2024, with occupancy levels remaining flat and average daily rates (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) predicted to make up the difference with nominal gains. These challenges present opportunities for hoteliers to adopt new, integrated technologies to drive business efficiency and remain competitive.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an example of one technology that enables hoteliers to interconnect devices and systems while generating actionable data insights to revolutionize various initiatives, including sustainability and proactive risk management (think energy monitoring, water leak detection, and bedbug monitoring). The result can lead to improved operations, cost savings, and guest satisfaction.

IoT Solutions for Hospitality Excellence

IoT has diverse applicability across hotels – operations, facilities management, risk management, and sustainability. Collaborative efforts between technology providers have also resulted in innovative solutions tailored for hospitality.

For example, hoteliers can boost their operations by leveraging non-invasive meter monitors to track and understand energy consumption over time, promoting environmentally conscious decision-making and reducing costs. Considering 60-70% of utility costs at individual hotels are exclusively billed for electricity, an investment in IoT monitoring pays off in sheer cost savings alone. Similarly, IoT-enabled motor monitors can be used to effortlessly monitor equipment performance and proactively identify faulty or damaged equipment, enabling proactive maintenance to enhance equipment uptime.

On the risk management side, there are a myriad of use cases. With the recent bedbug resurgence, hoteliers can enhance prevention by outfitting beds with wireless bedbug monitoring sensors for continuous observation and detection. This IoT automation not only helps mitigate infestations but relieves housekeeping of the need to conduct manual inspections. In an industry where staffing shortages are expected until 2025, leveraging IoT to automate tasks, like bedbug monitoring, is a welcome solution to enhance operational efficiency and free up employee time to focus on higher-value tasks.

Further, the hospitality industry has one of the highest rates of workplace assault and harassment (58%), necessitating the need for IoT. Hoteliers can provide employees with wearable safety devices enabling them to discreetly indicate they need help in an emergency or unsafe situation. When a staff member activates the device, it triggers an alert to management with their precise location to enable swift dispatch of security personnel. 

Foodservice is vital to guest experiences at hotels, underscoring the need for technologies that facilitate seamless operations. Employing IoT-based sensors to monitor and log temperatures in cold holding units empowers hoteliers to protect their customers, brand reputation, and profits by ensuring food is stored at safe temperatures and alerting management of deviations to mitigate foodborne illness. 

Finally, water leaks often go unnoticed until severe visual damages have occurred, leading to expensive remediation and replacement costs, business disruptions and downtime, increased utility bills, and wasted resources. With an early water leak detection solution, hoteliers can catch and prevent water leaks from becoming disastrous.

What Hotel CTOs Need to Know: Navigating the IoT Landscape

To maximize the benefits of IoT technologies within their organizations, Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) need to consider several key factors.

First, understanding the scalability and flexibility of IoT solutions is crucial. When seeking IoT solutions, a key advantage is finding a partner that provides a scalable IoT platform that can support the deployment of various cutting-edge solutions. This approach not only mitigates the cost and complexity of managing multiple standalone systems but provides hoteliers with a more cohesive and efficient hotel ecosystem. So, imagine a scenario where water leak sensors, energy monitoring systems, bedbug monitoring devices, and asset tracking devices seamlessly communicate and operate through a centralized network and securely feed data into your applications. 

When it comes to network technologies, one size never fits all, so it's essential to identify your targeted business goals and match them to the ideal network technologies. For example, while Wi-Fi drives many guest-facing experiences, LoRaWAN®, which is a low power wide area network protocol, enables and automates back-of-house operations for business continuity and efficiency. A robust IoT network should be able to adapt to the evolving needs of the hotel, accommodating new use cases seamlessly. 

Additionally, ensuring the security of the IoT infrastructure is paramount to protect sensitive guest data and maintain the integrity of the hotel's operations. LoRaWAN is incredibly secure because it operates independently, meaning it doesn't need to access corporate networks that may be open to vulnerabilities. Plus, hoteliers benefit from LoRaWAN's ability to cover long distances and its quick installation. 

Finally, fostering collaboration between different departments within the hotel is essential. A successful IoT implementation requires a comprehensive approach involving the IT department and operations, facilities, and guest services. This collaborative effort ensures that the benefits of IoT are realized across all facets of the hotel and its impacts on both guest-facing and back-of-house operations.

In conclusion, embracing IoT solutions built on a scalable network presents a unique opportunity for hoteliers to revolutionize their operations and enhance the guest experience. By understanding the potential impact, exploring scalable IoT solutions, and fostering a collaborative approach, hotel CTOs can position their properties at the forefront of technological innovation, setting the stage for sustained success in the ever-increasing competitive landscape of the industry.


About the Author

Beth Milano is an IoT Solutions Consultant at MachineQ, an enterprise IoT company within Comcast. She brings 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry advising hoteliers, management groups and operators on a diverse range of IoT solutions available to enhance operations and the guest experience.

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