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Top Emerging Technologies for Innovative Hotels

Hotel operators once could rest comfortably knowing that guestrooms boasted technology that was far superior to what guests had in their own homes. In recent years, as technology and guests’ digtal demands have evolved, there has been a significant shift. No longer do hotel rooms necessarily have a better television than what guests have in their own living rooms. And often the television is a moot point, because many guests would prefer to watch their own content on one of the numerous devices they bring into the hotel room.

The lodging industry is desperately trying to find ways to appeal to the tech-savvy and increasingly digital guests, with technology that will serve a purpose and be nimble enough to evolve with guest expectations. Hospitality Technology’s 2017 Lodging Technology Study asked hotel operators to reveal what emerging technologies have potential for real application in hotels. That research revealed that more than half of hoteliers saw real potential in interactive walls (52%) and almost half (45%) were encouraged by interactive mirror displays.

In taking a deeper look at the data from the study, HT has pulled out cross-tab analysis to find out what emerging technology, those hotels that identified themselves as innovators feel has the most potential.  Only about one out of five hoteliers (21%) believe that they lead the competition in overall technology innovation. Here HT examines what technologies that elite group will be focusing on in 2017.

Both innovators and the total hotel respondent pool are in agreement with the top three emerging technologies with potential. Where we see differentiation is in the importance innovators place on them. A much larger chunk of innovators feel that RFID-enabled tracking will be a top technology with 69% compared to 53%.  Interactive displays take the next two spots with interactive walls and interactive bathroom mirrors both getting 54% of innovators’ vote respectively.

Innovators differ from their less innovative counterparts in the importance they place on robotics. About one out of three (31%) see possibilities in robotics compared to only 23% of all respondents. Augmented reality and virtual reality came in lower on the list for innovators with 23% with artificial intelligence (AI)/Voice-enabled devices trailing that with 15%. With more hotels already having success with such technologies as AR/VR and Voice-enabled devices, they are quickly becoming less “emerging” and more established. Many innovative companies have already invested in such strategies, which explains why less innovative companies are still focusing here – in an attempt to “catch up.”

Find out more about what innovative hotel companies are doing differently in HT's Research Brief, "Enabling the Smart Hotel Experience."
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