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Top Technology Trends Improving Guest Experience in the Post-COVID Era

From smart lighting solutions and building management systems to IAQ sensors and energy management tools, technology can help enhance the guest experience, as well as positively impact the bottom line.
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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world’s perception on many things – from the air we breathe in buildings to how we interact with those buildings, especially when it comes to hotels and lodging. As the hotel industry rebounds from the pandemic’s restrictions, travelers’ needs have also evolved – more and more guests are looking for enhanced experiences to fit their post-pandemic expectations.

These expectations include guest room controls that can provide a more efficient, streamlined experience, better indoor air quality (IAQ), and help improve sustainability efforts to lower energy usage.

To meet these traveler expectations and differentiate themselves from the competition, hoteliers need to understand how technology, if implemented in the right way – from smart lighting solutions and building management systems to IAQ sensors and energy management tools – can help enhance the guest experience, as well as positively impact the bottom line.

Personalized Control Offerings

Imagine arriving at your hotel room after a long day of traveling and, once you walk into the room, you see that the temperature is set to your exact preferences and the room interacts with you to demonstrate its features by softly lighting up, opening the curtain to your preference and all the wall devices softly and quietly announcing their positions. Guests are beginning to expect more personalized preferences to meet their needs. Hoteliers can implement technologies to help create a more intuitive in-room experience for guests.

Technologies that allow for personalized controls include advanced lighting systems, customized HVAC to automate temperatures and even smart curtains that can be set to open and close at certain times of the day. Voice-controlled solutions can also be used to improve guest comfort without the guest ever having to move from their bed.

Indoor Air Quality

IAQ is a critical factor in guest room experience, as it can directly impact the well-being, comfort and productivity of occupants in hotels. Even more, a recent survey found that 77% of consumers would consider a hotel’s air quality in deciding where to stay and 52% would be willing to pay more to stay at a hotel with better air quality. To support guest and staff well-being and productivity, while improving the guest experience and increasing operational efficiency, hoteliers can implement IAQ measurement and management technologies.

IAQ sensors can help determine a hotel’s environmental and air quality status by offering an automated solution that monitors the presence of a range of pollutants, as well as humidity and temperature. IAQ sensors can be integrated into an HVAC system, allowing the system to detect contaminants and then clean the air and adjust ventilation as needed.

To take it a step further, analytics systems can be integrated into a Building Management System (BMS), a dashboard that can control and monitor mechanical and electrical plants. By using a BMS, hotel staff can monitor humidity, ventilation, temperature, pressure and pollutant levels through real-time data on dashboards. From data capture, hotel facility managers can run reports to analyze and spot trends, further anticipating and improving IAQ levels.

Energy Management

Each year on average, hotels in America spend $2,196 per available room on energy alone. To combat this, hotels need to continue to find ways to help reduce energy consumption and also improve the guest experience. To start, hotels can establish a baseline of current energy consumption, use data analytics in each building to spot sources of energy waste and implement a guest room management system that helps improve both environmental sustainability and guest comfort. Controlling technology from a single, centralized platform helps provide more comprehensive visibility into the building’s operations and alerts management to energy performance issues.

Through the deployment of AI/ML-based optimization technologies, a BMS can also help manage energy use. Optimization technologies learn and manage HVAC controls based on outdoor weather patterns, load patterns and capacity of the equipment, as well as air conditioning based on occupancy levels of certain rooms or spaces.

The hotel of tomorrow needs to be agile and willing to adapt to the changing needs in the travel industry. By implementing the right technologies, hotels are creating a strong foundation for the future.

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