What are the Top Technology Trends in the Hotel Industry for 2021
2020 was the year of challenge not for a particular continent, but globally. It has not only changed the way we used to operate ourselves, businesses, but it has entirely changed every aspect of life. From the business point of view, Covid-19 has hit every sector across the globe, but the hotel sector faced the worst hit. Giant hotel chains like Marriott International Inc, Hilton have shown their loss data, which indicates that the situation is even worse than we have thought. For instance, Hilton operates in 118 countries with millions of rooms in 6200 properties, has swung to a net loss of $430 million from the net income of $260 million. In its 101 year history, the global crisis has brought travel to a virtual standstill.
To sail through this tough phase, now more hotels are seeking the help of technologies that assure maximum safety against the spread of coronavirus and the best services.
Let’s get started by digging into various technological trends that we can expect in 2021 and beyond.
Top 11 Technology Trends In The Hotel Industry for 2021
1. Start with a contactless journey
Let’s get the experience of your guests right from the beginning by offering a contactless journey. When we say contactless journey, it means to maximize the little or no physical touchpoint to offer the safest staying experience. It should involve before, during, and after the stay experience. Following are quick ways to begin your hotel's journey of contactless services:
- Remote or online check-in and check-out.
- Cashless payment options.
- Lock and unlock the room with mobile keys and cloud connection instead of room keycard.
- Encourage remote guest interaction directly with staff members via instant messenger.
- Go for an online feedback form.
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
To boost the supreme and safe services, another prime trend that is already making noise in the hotel sector is the Internet of Things. It is no longer an alien term, especially after the boost in usage of technology in everyday's lives like smartwatches, fitness watches, smart TV, etc. It is the technology that operates certain physical objects through sensors, actuators, and other devices. Some common IoT usage in hospitality includes automating hotel room service wherewith one-touch guests can access information like traffic, weather, etc. Another best use of IoT is through thermostats, where hotels can adjust room temperature at the time of check-ins/check-outs to reduce the cost of cooling or heating vacant rooms. You can also use robots to operate elevators and assist guests with different issues.
Even IoT can inform hotel staff about the repair or replacement required in hotel devices very much before it actually fully stops working. This comes in handy especially during the heavy occupancy as hotels can repair or replace the appliance much more it stops working. With the use of it, the hotel can boost guest experience and can build an excellent reputation.
3. Go for integration
Another trend that is making the noise in the hotel and will continue to make in the coming years is integration. Hotel systems are moving into the cloud which enables better interconnectivity between various tools. This will further help hotels to focus on guests and quality services instead of spending more time on never-ending administrative tasks. For all small and bigger issues, all you need is API-driven, flexible, fully cloud-based solutions to enhance user experience and reduce the workload of the hotels.
4. Blockchain solutions
It is expected that cryptocurrency will rule the future, as many millennials are investing a large part of their income in blockchain technologies. Even many hotels are planning for developing plans that include cryptocurrency as an alternate method to pay for hotel services. It is a very secure way as it permanently records transactions in an encrypted ledger. It helps to cut down third-party costs along with an efficient security boost.
In reality, where for hoteliers, the main issue is that data is held by global distribution systems (GDS) as it is very expensive and inaccessible. Blockchain is an undeniably attractive option since it is very much accessible and inexpensive compared to other options. With the low cost, it can have a direct impact on the room and other charges, thus making the guest's visits more frequent. The beauty of the blockchain is that it serves as a decentralized database, allowing users to enter and store information in an entire distributed network.
5. Virtual reality tour
One of the most expected parts of the digital age is the hotel's virtual reality tour. It becomes easy for companies to take a virtual tour of the hotel for convocation or other business’ events instead of physically paying a visit to hotels. With the help of a virtual reality tour, the potential guests can view everything including the banquet facility, conference room, restaurant space, and other amenities which help them to make quick decisions. Images help to create a better impression in potential guests’ minds instead of text. A beautiful and entire property virtual tour helps to scale up the sales volume and also assure about the hygiene and safety factors, especially with the ongoing pandemic.
One of the best examples of virtual reality tours is Hotel Pushkar Palace. It leaves potential visitors completely awestruck covering all aspects of the property and compels them to visit once.
6. Smart reserved parking
Parking is another issue that generally ruined the travel experience of tourists. To fight this problem, the rare practice that is soon going to turn into a demanding trend is smart reserved parking. It helps the guest to reserve their vehicle parking very much before reaching the hotel. It helps to reduce human interaction plus save energy in fighting for the parking spot.
7. Voice control
Another technology that is making noise is voice control where users can adjust room temperature, use entertainment devices, and set the lighting level through voice command. This helps guests to perform certain functions without touching the equipment and thus helps in ensuring the minimal spread of the infection. Isn’t it great?
8. Smart chatbots
Chatbots are widely used to answer human queries on the website, now you can expect chatbots using AI to take the customer experience to the next level. Here, potential guests' queries get solved 24X7. Compared to the old chatbot, they are more advanced, providing a realistic experience, somewhere very near to what a user might get through a human customer representative. Using machine learning gathers and adapts communication as per user’s preferences. Using all the given information makes the smart recommendation. With it, you can make the best use of up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, along with communication facilities in multiple languages, and above all, it is available 24X7 without getting tired and frustrated. Isn’t it amazing technology advancement in the hospitality sector?
9. Location detection
Talking about technology advancement, our next biggest trend of 2021 is location. Because of covid, many people opt for road trips to boost the goal of social distance. Radar, a geofencing technology provider believes that location data will help to rebuild consumers’ confidence in safe tourism once again.
Hotels can be benefitted by installing geo-fencing that sends push notifications to visitors who might be within a certain radius. Push notification may include the special discount, offer, promotion, stating safety precautions that the hotel is taking to avoid the spread of the virus, etc to attract people to stay with them. Location data also helps to find out the current state of room booking, which helps customers to avoid crowds.
10. Cybersafety measures
In the past, the hospitality sector has become the victim of major cybercrime, threatening breaches of guests’ personal data. Now cybersecurity measures are the biggest concern of travel management board members and that is why they are investing in different cyber training and various customized software solutions to keep their business safe from ransomware attacks, phishing, and many other cyber threats.
11. Facial recognition
To minimize touch, many leading hotel chains are opting for facial recognition technology for making interaction seamless. It includes retina recognition, facial recognition, and many other biometric identifiers. Now it is believed that its use can be extended to pay bills for the meal at a hotel's restaurant by walking through the exit. Who can ask for more, right? This kind of technology advancement will take guests’ experience to the next level.
After gaining a solid understanding of hotel technology trends, we hope that we have prepared you for a better future for the sector. There is no doubt even the slightest that privacy, technology, and security will play a giant role in the success of the hotel chain. Get a head start by implementing these trends at your hotel for a secure, safe, and a better experience.