From the initial steps of booking a hotel stay to checking in and out, the hotel experience has become a lot more automated in recent years. Hotels are faced with competitive market conditions and consumer demands. In an effort to speed up administrative processes along with modernising the entire experience, the hotel industry is looking to technology to give the consumer a stress free stay. From lighting and brightness to spa reservations and room service, each part of the hotel stay can be automated. In fact there are even some hotels where the guest can go their entire stay without speaking to a member of staff! Here are some key features of this recent trend:
Online reservation. The days of ringing a hotel 3 weeks in advance of your stay are long gone. Reservations can now be made online the day of your stay. Automation in this area has lead to an increase in efficiency for hotels and an easier guest experience.
- Check in. Guests can notify the hotel of their expected arrival time using a similar platform to booking. The hotel can then send mobile codes to the guests enabling them access to their rooms or can have a programmed key waiting for them on arrival. One hotel in Poznan provides guests with a hotel iphone on arrival instead of a room key. The smartphone guides the guests to their rooms and unlocks the doors for them.
- During your stay. Guest services can be entirely run through the hotel website, through hotel phones or mobile apps. Rather than phone calls, reservations can be made with the click of a button from anywhere in the hotel through the guest’s smartphone. Touch screens throughout hotels giving information on local attractions, weather and flight information are on the rise. Several hotels now also offer virtual postcards which can be sent from guest and hotel devices with a few swipes.
- Automated check out. Guests in a rush need not worry about queuing up upon arrival or for an early morning check out. These processes have been made much simpler with the use of advanced in-room technology. This reduces the hotel’s staff costs and leads to price reductions for consumers. It also means higher efficiency and shorter waiting times.
- Robots. Check out the robot concierge,Yobot, in Yotel New York. This robot patiently waits to takes guests’ luggage and valuables on check-in. Yotel have gone even further and have now synced their Yobot with the Jetblue luggage handlers at JFK Airport. This means guests can have their luggage easily stored and delivered from the hotel to the airport. Other robot concierges are being programmed to deliver requested items to guests’ hotel rooms. When the robot arrives it will trigger a phonecall in the guest’s room. The guest can then interact with the robot through its touch screen – guests are encouraged to tweet instead of tipping. One hotel in Japan is set to employ 10 robots as check in assistants and concierges when it opens in July 2015. The hotel is hoping that robots will run 90% of its operations in the future and plans to open 1000 hotels worldwide.
- Energy. Lighting, heating and air conditioning can be controlled by automated energy management systems. These systems can also include software to increase efficiencies in a hotel’s greatest areas of consumption: heating, cooling and lighting. Once the guest leaves a room, sensors can restore the temperature to initial pre-sets scheduled by the hotel, saving unnecessary energy consumption. This enables easier management of the energy systems as well as the ability to monitor consumption, keeping costs down and efficiencies high. These sensors can also alert housekeeping that the room is unoccupied and available to be cleaned.
- Internet as standard. Wifi capability is now one of the key reasons for a guest to choose a hotel. This means investing in strong wifi and internet technology is just as important as comfy beds and clean linens. According to recent surveys 85% of travellers believe wifi in hotels should be free. 45% of hotel guests travel with two devices or more and 40% with three or more.
- Entertainment is going virtual in hotels. High tech hotels have started using VR technology to give their guests multiple entertainment options. One hotel in Seattle offers a holodeck golf club which uses infrared technology to assist you in improving your game.
Benefits in the growth of automation in hotels include:
- Reduced electricity costs.
- Reduced prices for consumers.
- Reduced waiting times.
- Easier access for appointments, reservations and enquiries.
- Easier maintenance of service database – room availability, heating consumption, restaurant reservations etc.
- Enhanced comfort and convenience for guests
- Enhanced control for guests – light, heat, audio, reservations etc.
Expect to see a mass modernisation in hotels in the near future, enabling an easier stay for us all! Is your hotel ready?
Contact Linda Hynes for more information.
This publication is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. No liability is accepted by Leman Solicitors for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this publication. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. Any and all information is subject to change.