7 Technologies Expected to Revolutionise the Hotel Industry by 2025
The value of the hotel sector is sky-rocketing due to the technological advancements entering the industry. There are a number of innovative products and services that are creeping onto the scene, and are predicted to transform the hotel sector in the next 8 years. According to research and recent developments, we've outlined the top 7 technogies expected to cause a wave by 2025.
Smartwatch sales in the global market hit a record high in the last quarter of 2016, at 8.2 million for the quarter and 21.1 million for the calendar year. Experts predict wearable tech will make transformational changes in the sport and fitness sector. Will wearable tech also transform how we run business in the hospitality and tourism industry?
An excellent example of integrating wearable technology that can be used for multiple functions is the MagicBands made by the Disney brand. For tourists, these bands are pure gold, they allow you to enter areas of the theme park, purchase food and merchandise, and enjoy VIP rooms. But even more importantly, these bands allow guests to open their rooms at all resorts. It acts in place of an identity band, and allows guests to roam freely around the resorts without carrying cash or credit cards.
Disney will even ship the MagicBands to their guests before their arrivals. When guests link their accounts with the MagicBands, Disney can store their activities and preferences in the database to build a stronger customer relationship over time, of which the information can also be used to develop customised sales and promotion packages to the guests.
It is not a new idea for hotels to let guests use their mobile devices as room keys. With the advance of facial recognition technology, travellers can possibly skip the front desk without carrying any mobile devices; they can access their guestrooms by just showing up.
Certainly, the advance of facial recognition technology can also make it easier for hotels and resorts to track and analyse travellers’ activities inside the facility. In addition to their potential of enhancing customer service, wearable and facial recognition technologies can be used to improve back-of-the-house operations as well. For example, employees may use wearable devices and facial recognition technology in clock-ins and clock-outs. The data that is recorded about employees' activities at work can also be used by the management in scheduling and job designs.
Aloft Hotels, a Marriott/Starwood brand, recently unveiled voice-activated hotel rooms as a trial, before they expand the technology their global hotels . In a voice-activated room, guests can control the room temperature, adjust the lighting, choose what type of music they want to play in the room, and explore local attractions by talking to the room… and you can almost guarantee that it won’t stop there. Everyday there will be new ideas of hoe voice activated technology could be implemented into a hotel room to benefit both the hotel brand and the guest.
The idea of using 3-D printing in construction has been tested for years. It may not seem real for a 3-D printer to create a skyscraper at this point, but it is now possible to construct a hotel room or at least, part of a hotel room with a 3-D printer.
As a matter of fact, Marriott has adopted the modular construction method to support its need for rapid growth.
Modular construction allows Marriott to build parts of the guestroom, such as the bathroom, somewhere else other than on the construction site of the hotel. When building a hotel, Marriott only needs to ship the ready-to-install bathrooms and other necessary parts of the guestrooms to the construction site. All it takes to build a hotel is to assemble the parts onsite.
The modular construction method and 3-D printing technology can hence be combined to speed up the time of building a new hotel.
Automatic or robotic services
This is no surprise that robotics will play a huge role in the hotel sector in years to come. Today, more service jobs are performed by machines than ever before. We have seen hotel front desks with no hosts, no butlers and no tables; robots are cooking food in the kitchen; and robots are attending to room service depending on customer needs
In the hotel industry, robotic butler service has also been introduced. There are also hotels testing automatic drink dispenser in events and guestrooms.
If these are the types of robots that are already attending to customer needs in the hotel sector hotels in 2017, can you imagine the scale of robotics being implemented into hotel’s by 2025? But the question remains, where is the line between human customer service and robotics/ automatic systems- particularly with a growing population.
Artificial intelligence allows machines to "think" like a real human being. Artificial intelligence will then enable a service provider to anticipate customers' needs even in automatic or robotic services. There is a huge amount of AI being implemented in the hospitality industry, but the scale of it is expected to sky rocket by 2015.
A few years ago, Marriott was experimenting with VR technology in operations, such as in sales and marketing. The hotel chain allowed guests to use VR to experience the Marriott products in selected world destinations. Likewise, Disney is planning to use VR to enhance consumers' experience in the theme parks and in video games. We are expected to see a huge amount of virtual reality in the hotel sector in the next couple of years, ranging from hotel rooms to hotel restaurants.
There is no doubt that the advance of technology will transform the way we run a hotel business. Some jobs will be replaced by machines, but additional opportunities can also be created for those who are well-prepared for the changes. It’s about the balance, and a well-managed team to understand the balance that would work well as an operation system and
It is expected that technology will hugely transform the industry in the next couple of years, but these are seven technologies that we can predict from today to make an incredible impact on everything from operations to enhancing the guest experience. Of course at any point, a disruptive innovation could hit the industry and completely change the future… but it just shows how quickly the industry is developing and the value of keeping up to date with the latest advancements.