9 Technology Trends You Shouldn't Miss In The Hospitality Industry
The latest advances in technology are presenting opportunities that we wouldn’t even have considered a couple of years ago. Professionals from a range of different industries are starting to consider what technology might be able to revolutionise in their sector, and the hospitality industry is an area where plenty of innovation is possible.
Not only is new technology opening up a range of options when it comes to luxury or exclusive offerings, but there are also plenty of existing systems or products that stand to be improved and enhanced. As advanced technology becomes more accessible to the general public, businesses in the hospitality industry will likely see an increased demand for this from customers in everything from events to hotel stays.
If you’re searching for insight into the latest technology trends in this sector, you’re in the right place. This article explores eight of the most talked about hospitality trends that use technology and shares our advice on the best way for businesses to get on board.
In this article:
9 Technology Trends in Hospitality
The list of ways that new technology is being used in the hospitality industry is lengthy, so we’ve selected eight of the most interesting and relevant examples to demonstrate what your business could be doing to utilise these developments.
1. Smart Energy
Hotels, events venues and entertainment spaces can all benefit from smart energy technology that allows for more intuitive control of a room or building’s environment. These systems not only give you real-time data on things like the temperature of a room or the energy being used in a space, but let you individually control different factors such as light, heat, air-conditioning and even turn on appliances remotely.
This is a really exciting trend because of how it allows spaces to be customised to fit different customers’ needs. Rooms can be controlled to create the ideal environment, whether that’s for individual guests in a hotel or to provide different atmospheres at an event, and customers are also given the option to tailor things like lighting and heating to their specific needs.
Smart energy is also a trend that can help venues and hotels to be much more energy efficient, as you can control which rooms need light and heat and which ones don’t. A lot of this technology automatically adjusts interior conditions based on factors like weather, time of day and capacity, helping spaces to save a lot of money when it comes to energy costs.
2. IoT Maintenance Systems
Another example of intuitive technology being used in the hospitality industry is smart maintenance systems being controlled by the Internet of Things (IoT). Instead of venues having to identify maintenance issues themselves or having them reported after a problem has occurred, IoT technology can help to catch problems before they escalate and lead to much smoother running of a building.
This technology works by fitting lots of little devices around a space that monitor different factors and share this information with a central database, connected by a local network. These devices will be able to detect irregularly operating systems or equipment and any wasteful trends in your venue’s energy or water use, as well as highlight whether there are consistent errors in any areas, making maintenance much more efficient and helping to semi-automate the process of identifying and categorising faults.
3. Virtual Check-In/Out
A technology trend in hospitality that we’ve been seeing for a while is giving guests the option to virtually check in and check out of their accommodation. This helps to improve customer experiences as it makes the process much faster and more straightforward, can make it easier to arrange transport at specific times to and from a hotel, and also prevents guests from having to wait in queues during busy periods.
Remote or virtual check-in/out is also beneficial for hotel staff as it means that fewer staff are needed at a front desk and accommodation owners can better manage their employee’s time. Instead, staff at a hotel can provide a more bespoke service by being notified when a guest arrives and being able to respond to this and offer additional services or help without all the faff of a check-in process.
Making this process virtual also gives you the chance to collect data about how your guests check in and out, providing really useful information to help refine the experience.
4. Service Automation
Automation technology is making plenty of jobs easier and more efficient across a range of industries, and in hospitality, this is particularly beneficial for those working in hotels and entertainment or conference venues. Things like room service and catering can be done digitally and these orders process automatically, saving staff time and helping to deliver a faster service.
There’s also the potential for cleaning and housekeeping services to become automated, especially if rooms are equipped with smart technology that can detect when new towels or toiletries are needed, for example. Some venues are already using AI technology as an alternative to staff that would usually be on hand to answer questions or provide directions, freeing up staff time to focus on other tasks.
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5. ‘Bleisure’ Travel Technology
The rise of ‘bleisure’ travel (business travel that is extended so people have time to enjoy some leisure travel as well) has presented plenty of opportunities to use new technology to cater to a specific market. Hotels and venues that were previously just catering to leisure travellers are now thinking of ways in which they can optimise their spaces to encourage ‘bleisure’ customers to come and use their space.
A classic example of how these venues are using technology to adapt is creating technology lounges with super fast wifi, charging points, soundproof booths for meetings and additional screens for workers that need them. Having the option to work in a space other than their room is a growing priority for business and bleisure travellers, and ensuring technological compatibility and up-to-date options is key to appealing to this market.
6. Intuitive Appliances
Intuitive appliances are also a trend for consumers looking to update or upgrade their homes, but the hospitality industry can also make the most of these advances. As well as the potential of smart energy systems and IoT devices that we’ve already talked about, there are also options for things like smart mirrors in bathrooms that provide the user with information like weather and local news, or smart coffee machines or kettles that help with efficiency in the morning.
Cleaning appliances are another area of technological advancement that can help the hospitality industry, with a classic example being robotic hoovers that remove one of the roles of a human cleaner. Devices can also be used to disinfect surfaces or clean windows and hard floors, automating processes and making them much more efficient.
The contactless trend in hospitality has been hastened along by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it's an area that has seen plenty of development recently. Removing touchpoints not only helps guests or visitors to feel safer, but also reduces necessary cleaning measures and can cut down on the need for staff to monitor or perform tasks.
Contactless check-in options for accommodation are a great example, but we’re also seeing plenty of touchless options in bathroom technology which make it easier to clean these spaces in between guests.
8. VR Marketing
Virtual reality has been a majorly talked about trend in technology over the last few years, and it’s something that has found a place in the hospitality industry when it comes to how brands are marketing their offering. VR marketing involves using this kind of technology to offer customers immersive experiences, either to promote a place or venue or just as a way to get their attention and introduce a brand.
Advanced VR technology isn’t an accessible option for everyone, but it can be used on web browsers to offer virtual tours and give users a chance to experience a venue in a new way. It’s also a really great tool to use in a PR campaign as part of a marketing strategy, which can be a great way to get media attention to your brand and attract new customers.
9. Instant Feedback and Reviews
Finally, a key technology trend in hospitality has been the ability to instantly monitor and respond to feedback using social listening. Alerts can be set up to identify mentions of a brand and digital review and feedback systems help you to gather information about customer experiences, providing fast and efficient feedback on the service you’re providing.
The best way to improve your service offering is by listening directly to what guests want. The tools available to collect feedback and monitor customer conversations give you a direct way to find out what your target audience wants and develop this into an offering, which hopefully will boost your business.
This is also a really useful trend because it allows you to quickly manage any negative feedback about your brand and respond quickly to minimise the potential damage this might cause.
How Should Businesses React?
With technology advancing in so many different directions, it can feel difficult to decide which technology trends to pursue and prioritise. The key to adapting to all of these trends however is not to ignore or fight them, as customers are going to want to engage with hospitality brands with up-to-date service offerings, and you’ll get more attention if you’re one of the first to do this.
Consider your target audience and their needs when engaging with a hospitality business like yours, and then examine which of the relevant technology trends might be most beneficial to improve what you offer. It’s all well and good investing in a new, virtual system for guests to order room service, but if what they really want is improved wifi and a dedicated workspace, you’re wasting your resources.
Innovation is the key to success, so businesses should also aim to keep updated on how technology is being used in new ways in hospitality and consider whether they can employ or adapt these methods. The trends we’ve mentioned above are likely to change and adapt as new technologies emerge, and the key to responding to this is to keep your target audience in mind and stay dialled into what they want.
From event planners to hotel owners and catering providers, everyone in the hospitality industry stands to benefit from the way that technology can streamline or improve established systems, processes and service offerings. The trends we’ve discussed are truly only the tip of the iceberg, and there’s lots of potential for where emerging technologies and innovation will take this sector over the next few years.
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