From Wi-Fi to room automation: how technology can enhance guest experience.
Picture this: a hot, summer day, you arrive at your hotel, for a business conference, exhausted after your long-haul flight. As you enter, a lovely lady welcomes you with a glass of cold, fresh lemonade. While you enjoy your refreshment, she kindly helps you download the hotel application on your smartphone, where she puts your name and email. With a push of a button, you are checked in and ready to go to your room.
As you enter the room, lights and TV turn on and a lovely soothing music starts to play. The room temperature is pre-set in 23°C and a bottle of your favorite white wine is waiting on the table, chilled and ready to enjoy. You can finally relax with a lovely bath.
Just before you start to unpack, a message pops up on your TV. A breakfast menu appears on the screen, along with an option to live chat with the concierge, to arrange the time you want your food to arrive the next morning or to book a spa treatment.
Do you think that this hotel belongs to the future?
Well, let me tell you a secret. The future is now!
The big change
Hotels are changing. The industry is in an ongoing effort to reduce costs and maximize revenues, while also adapt to the ever-demanding guest expectations. New technology is helping reshape the industry. Hotel owners are perfectly aware of the fact that the use of technological innovations is not just a trend. On the contrary, technology is the solution to the dramatic changes that are occurring in the entire hotel and tourism industry.
Everyone uses technology to achieve their goals and gain comfort. From smart mobile phones, smart TVs to smart home solutions, and even smart cities, technology has become a part of our everyday life.
So naturally, tourists are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits they have by using technology while traveling. And they expect from their hotel to offer technologically advanced solutions to help them achieve the most pleasant experience. They want their hotel to be smart.
What is a Smart Hotel?
A smart hotel uses technology to create a better temporary living experience for the guests and make its operation more efficient. But what kind of technology improves the guest experience and makes a hotel, smart?
Wi-Fi: let’s start with the basics!
There are many ways a hotel can improve guest experience. None of them as efficient as offering high speed Wi-Fi, though. According to a research by JD Power, the three most important amenities cited by guests are free Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking.
Wi-Fi is extremely important to business travelers. A research by Motorola Solutions indicates that over 90% of business travelers want Wi-Fi access in their rooms. Leisure travelers also greatly value Wi-Fi and connectivity. According to a study by Netgear, one in three people travelling for leisure purposes would not return to a hotel with poor internet access.
Mobile apps: everything in our hands!
Mobile applications offer an extensive selection of functionalities that can enhance the experience of hotel guests. From mobile check-in and check-out, mobile key, live-chat and room service, to direct room booking and mobile payments, customers can control every second of their stay via their own mobile device.
Valamar, a hotel chain with several properties in the Adriatic Coast, offers its guests a mobile app with more than 90 functionalities. The app has been implemented in July 2017 and since then, 1.000 guests has made a mobile check in, while more than 3.500 users has processed mobile payments. The goal of My Valamar mobile application is to provide the best holiday experience by simplifying the reception process and enabling guests to fulfil their stay to the fullest.
Smart Room: automation to the max!
One of the best ways to improve guest experience is to digitize the room and introduce a new, smart way of living. For example, allowing guests to set the room temperature, dim the lights or close the blinds, using their smart phone, enables them to create a perfect environment that is customized to their preferences. Such solutions are already available in innovative Kubic Smart Athens Hotel.
Through an innovative guest management system that is implemented in the hotel, Kubic Hotel offers a modern, state-of-the-art experience to their guests that make their stay comfortable and memorable. The in-room TV and tablet serve as a multimedia, entertainment and information center for the guests. The system can also be used as a marketing tool that increases sales and advertises hotel services. The program manages all the functions and services of the customer, from the moment of check in until payment and check out! It offers a customized experience to the guests, while helping employees work more efficiently.
With the continuous technological development, one thing is certain. Hotels are changing, offering services that make the guest experience unique and memorable.