New technologies: today’s essential tools for hoteliers

New technologies: today’s essential tools for hoteliers

New technologies: today's essential tools for hoteliers with Michael Donald, co-founder of Halo Business Consulting

Emerging technologies are revolutionizing the lodging industry, delivering significant benefits to both operators and guests. Michael Donald, co-founder of Halo Business Consulting, explains why embracing innovation and implementing smart ideas are musts for hotels looking to secure a successful future.

The hospitality industry continues to transform as new technologies emerge and guest expectations evolve. Hotels that want to stay ahead of the competition are embracing innovation and offering digital convenience to their guests. In the current scenario, understanding the key trends and challenges that are shaping the future of business lodging has never mattered more. Only by doing so can hotels leverage the emerging technologies that are essential for creating smarter and more efficient properties, and strengthen their position for the future.

Creating digital convenience

One of the main drivers of hotel technology adoption is the demand for digital convenience from business travelers. In a recent Skift survey of over 5,000 consumers, 73 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology, minimizing contact with employees and other guests.

According to a report by Cloudbeds, 66 percent of hotel guests prefer digital check-in, which allows them to skip the front desk lines and submit their information ahead of time. Digital check-in also enables hotels to collect signatures electronically, create custom guest portals and offer keyless entry solutions. These features not only enhance the guest experience, but also streamline hotel operations and help to reduce labor costs.

Conversational commerce

Another aspect of digital convenience is conversational commerce, which refers to the use of chatbots, SMS and voice assistants to communicate with guests and offer personalized recommendations. For example, hospitality venues can use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate common guest queries, such as requesting a late check-out, booking a spa appointment, booking a table in the restaurant or ordering room service. AI can also provide tailored suggestions for tours and activities based on a guest’s preferences and location. Conversational commerce can help hotels increase guest satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.

Emerging technologies unpacked

Besides digital convenience, some of the key emerging technologies that are transforming the hospitality industry are explained below.

Internet of things (IoT): this refers to the network of connected devices that can collect and exchange data. IoT is ideal for helping hotels to create smart rooms that can adjust the temperature, lighting and entertainment systems, for example, according to the guest’s preferences. IoT can also enable hotels to monitor and optimize their energy consumption, maintenance and security.

Blockchain: this is a decentralized ledger that records transactions securely and transparently. Blockchain can help hotels improve their payment processing, identity verification, loyalty programs and data management. Blockchain can also facilitate peer-to-peer transactions between guests and hosts, such as in the case of home-sharing platforms.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR): these are immersive technologies that can create realistic simulations or enhance the real world with digital elements. VR and AR can help hotels provide virtual tours, interactive training, gamified experiences and destination marketing. VR and AR can also help guests explore new places, cultures and activities without leaving their rooms.

Mitigating the risks

While technology can bring many benefits to hotels, it also comes with some risks and challenges. One of the main risks is malfunction, which can disrupt the hotel operations and affect the guest experience. For example,
if a digital check-in system fails or a smart room device malfunctions, it can cause frustration and inconvenience for both guests and employees. To prevent this, hotels need to ensure that their technology solutions are reliable, compatible and scalable. Hotels also need to have backup plans and contingency measures in case of technical issues.

Another risk is cybersecurity, which refers to the protection of data and systems from unauthorized access or attacks. Cybersecurity is crucial for hotels because they handle sensitive information from guests, such as personal details, payment information, travel plans and preferences. Cyberattacks can compromise this data and cause financial losses, legal liabilities, reputational damage and loss of trust. To avoid this, hotels need to adopt best practices for data security, such as encryption, authentication, firewalls, antivirus software and regular backups. Hotels also need to educate their employees and guests on how to prevent phishing scams, malware infections and identity theft.

Smarter properties, exceptional stays

Technology is changing the way hotels operate and interact with their guests. Hotels that wish to be successful in the future need to embrace innovation and offer digital convenience to their business travelers. However, hotels also need to be aware of the risks and challenges that come with technology adoption. By balancing these factors, hotels can create smarter properties that deliver exceptional guest experiences.

Michael Donald, co-founder of Halo Business Consulting
Michael Donald,
co-founder of Halo Business Consulting
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