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What's Smart in Hotels?

Posted by Debra Andrews on 11/7/18 11:40 AM

Improve Operations and Guest Experiences with New Technology

Hotel Technology to Add to the Guest Experience

Today’s hotel facility managers must be savvy in pursuing and learning how to manage the technological advancements to yield the best results for their properties. By doing some of the behind-the-scenes analysis and leg work, new technology can help hotel facility managers improve their overall bottom line, improve operational efficiency, ease the burden on employees, and add to the guest’s personalization experience.

The good news is that advanced technology can be integrated into routine tasks with short-term and long-term benefits. The hospitality industry has embraced new technology to make hotels more efficient and provide guests with a better experience than ever thought possible, and more is coming.  Here is a summary of new technologies that are hot in hotels with 5 tips, so you know and understand what’s new as soon as you finish reading (or skimming).

Check in With Alexa: Today’s technology trends are all about AI and IoT.

Artificial Intelligence can contribute to energy savings in addition to personalizing hotel services in better ways than ever before. Hospitality technology professional Jesse DePinto, Founder and CTO at Frontdesk, notes that the hospitality industry possesses great potential for increasing revenue and decreasing expenses by integrating IoT technologies in their operations.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can also make things simpler for guests and staff. Alexa, an AI developed by Amazon, is in most homes. So why shouldn’t guests have Alexa in their hotel rooms? The Wynn has Amazon Echos in their rooms. Amazon has also developed Alexa for Hospitality, which allows hotels and other vacation rental properties to offload simple guest requests that were previously directed to hotel staff. This frees up the hotel staff’s time, so they can concentrate on other essential duties. Marriott International plans to integrate Alexa for Hospitality at select hotels in summer 2019.

Alexa for Hospitality can help guests with common hotel requests like ordering room service, requesting housekeeping or adjusting room controls like the lights or thermostat. Guests can also ask Alexa questions specific to the hotel, such as the time that the fitness center opens and where it is located. Amazon avoids common Alexa security concerns by deleting guests’ daily interactions, and hotels cannot access Alexa’s voice recordings or review Alexa’s responses to users. Alexa also offers facility managers analytics to help measure engagement and better understand their operations.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is also becoming more prevalent in hotels. Marriott has teamed up with Samsung and Legrand to develop IoT solutions to serve guests and optimize operations. Forget the Goldilocks’ strategy of trying every bed to find the one that is just right. Hotel rooms can now understand their guests’ preferences as they walk through the door—making sure their room temperature and lighting are set up the way they like it, with zero impact on hotel staff. IoT makes all of this happen through the guest’s mobile phone, and it improves the guest experience without negatively impacting your operations.

IoT and AI is moving toward helping facility managers manage new construction projects and the safety of their existing facilities for fire and more. Keep an eye on AI and IoT as they will continue to gain traction in the marketplace and help hotels improve their bottom line.

There’s an App for That: Offer the comforts of home without your staff lifting a finger.

It would take a lot of time and effort to train your staff to customize each room to a guest’s preferences prior to them checking in. Why not let the guests do it themselves with their mobile phone?

Hilton rolled out “The Connected Room” concept earlier this year. Guests simply download the Hilton app, set their preferences, and their favorite things are carried over to all their Hilton stays. Their favorite TV station is on the TV when they turn it on. The temperature is just right. No more calls to the Maintenance staff to adjust the room temperature. It’s all in the app!

IoT Doesn’t Have to Be a Drain: Innovate with water for real-time, actionable insight.

Conserve water and eliminate profit from going down the drain. IoT technology companies are now supporting hotels with water conservation programs and access to real-time water use/issues. For example, MGM Resorts International partnered with Apana, a leader in automated water management, to manage the water conservation program at the Bellagio.

Is there a leak or irregular use in a guest’s room? The staff may know before the guest does, thanks to sensors and water meters that can communicate to analytics software through IoT. Data analytics in real time gives staff the power to correct problems before they get out of control. It also enables hotels to be proactive and conserve water by understanding exactly how and where it is used, allowing facility managers to maximize operational efficiencies.

Say Cheese: Increase security and eliminate check-in and room-key hassles with Facial Recognition.

NEC is testing real-time Facial Recognition technology in a hospitality project that will enable guests to check into a hotel and make cashless purchases while protecting the guest’s safety and security. That means no more wasted time for the guest or the staff when the key doesn’t work.   

The real-time Facial Recognition technology enables faster data analytics through the Cloud to reduce network costs while providing security to IoT systems. NEC’s facial recognition technologies are already in use across 70 countries and the real-time feature is expected to make it more main stream for public safety across industries.  

Measure Up: Improve operational performance and benchmarking with essential, alternative hotel data.

Every action has a reaction, but wouldn’t it be great to understand the root cause? Facility managers have tons of standard traditional data and reporting to analyze their business. But with modern technology, they can amp up analysis by combining standard data with alternative data from IoT and social media. The alternative data can provide causal answers to take operational efficiencies and benchmarks to another level.

So, you now know about advanced technologies and how they will make your job easier through amazing tools and access to data:

Check in With Alexa: Today’s technology trends are all about AI and IoT.

  1. There’s an App for That: Offer the comforts of home without your staff lifting a finger.
  2. IoT Doesn’t Have to Be a Drain: Innovate with water for real-time, actionable insight.
  3. Say Cheese: Increase security and eliminate check-in and room-key hassles with Facial Recognition.
  4. Measure Up: Improve operational performance and benchmarking with essential, alternative hotel data.

New advances in technology are announced every day around the world. According to the SoftBank Group Chief Operating Officer, Marcelo Claure, the time is now because “by 2025 about 100 IoT devices, smart and connected everyday objects, will exist for every person. That equates to a trillion connected devices on the IoT and it will generate $11 trillion in value by 2025.” Facility managers must continue to stay ahead of the technology curve by understanding what’s coming and how it can help them improve operational efficiencies and data analytics.

Topics: Hotel Technology, IoT, Alexa for Hospitality, Improve guest experience, The Connected Room, Hotel Facility Managers, Hotel Operational Efficiencies, Internet of Things (IoT), Guestroom automation

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