Will Hotel Technology Ever Rule The World?
By James Harrison, Hospitality Technology Consultant at HotelTCS
In A Post COVID19 World It Could!
I don't think I need to fill you in on the impact COVID19 has had on the world in that time, but I do think it is time to revisit this idea.
Could Hotel Technology Ever Rule The World?
In a word no. Not pre COVID19 anyway. Hotel technology was first associated with WiFi, often known as High Speed Internet Access (HSIA) - Some what of a misnomer if you ask me! It also comes in the form of Guest Room Entertainment, smart room controls, in room ordering, tablets, minibars and similar other technologies. They aren't particularly ground breaking though.
Voice control was something that was expected to revolutionise technology in hotel rooms, but it's been a slow starter. Post COVID19 though, this could be the first step on the journey that is 'Will Hotel Technology Ever Rule The World?"
Innovating Post COVID19
I talk about a post COVID19 world, but this statement isn't probably totally correct. COVID19 is still here, and will remain with us for some time. So the period we are in now, is most likely one that requires innovation so we can live with COVID19. This is where Hotel technology and intelligent hotels have the opportunity to rule the world. An opportunity to make our world safe, cleaner, and hopefully more entertaining.
Last week I talked about the idea that our hotel rooms could become our own private theatres. This is one way that our hotels, combined with technology and bring back some sense of normality, and perhaps allow things to continue that could not have without.
What about more technologically advanced?
UV-C cleaning robots have existed in hospitals for some time, maybe these will be come commonplace in our hotels? Certainly with increased awareness of hygiene, hotels will need to show they are at the forefront of room cleaning. I don't think this is it.
I also think the ideas people suggest of a dystopian future which contains service droids will not be the answer either. While it is possible to implement such technologies, my expectation is that they will be few and far between. Also, in a world that will no doubtably face massive unemployment, is replacing human jobs with robots really the right approach? Let me know your thoughts on that one in the comments below!
Will Hotel Technology Ever Rule The World? With Service It Will!
Hotels have always ruled the world in one area. Service. I talked about it in my article A Hotel is Just A Building. So if Hotel technology is ever going to rule the world, service is where it will be.
Funnily enough, in a world of living with COVID19 service is exactly where and intelligent hotel can help us.
Room service is an integral part of most hotels. Certainly something that the weary traveller is looking for after a long day. However, ordering room service creates many physical touch points, touch points which guests want to avoid. The answer to the problem, and a first step on our journey to whether hotel technology will ever rule the world, is to make the touch points digital.
What about the housekeeping or maintenance requests? Picking up telephones or leafing through guest directories? All something guests will now want to avoid. Again, the answer, make those touch points digital.
Digtal Touch Points
Digital touch points are exactly as they sound, replacing a physical touch point such as a book or telephone with a digital touch point, such as a guests voice or their smart device. We have to be careful though, because this digital touch point can quickly en up becoming a physical one. In room tablets anyone?
Digital touch points in 2020 come from leveraging the guests own device. Be these apps or app-less, the argument still rages, but the one element they have in common, is that they use the guests own device. A hotel guest knows where their own device has been, who has handled it, and when it was last cleaned. If you want guests to feel comfortable, this is the answer.
Of course there are many solutions out there that allow control from a guest device. These were once a nice to have, now, I'd say mandatory.
So, Will Hotel Technology Ever Rule The World?
For a small number, yes. However, it is likely that the hotels that implement technology correctly, in the COVID19 world will ultimately be the ones that rule the world. Unfortunately for technologists like me, the technology will likely go unrecognised.
So, let me know in the comments below. What do you expect to see in your next hotel visit? An app to control everything? Online room service ordering? Digital ticket systems or even voice control? The future is here!
If you'd like to talk with us about how you can prepare your hotel for the "new normal" you can contact us here.
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