Modern hotels appeal to customers in several different ways, including the quality of customer service, the facilities on offer, the design of the property, but also through hotel technology too. This technology is often used to deliver a superior customer experience, and it is especially important to do so in the era of COVID, when those customer expectations are changing rapidly and when people need to be convinced it is worthwhile to travel. In this article, you can read the latest hotel technology trends for 2021.

Why is Hotel Technology Becoming More Important?

The notion of “business as usual” within the hotel industry is quickly evolving. While generic and so-called “cookie-cutter” services may have sufficed a handful of years ago, this is no longer the case. Guests are now demanding more personalised options so that properties can meet their discrete requirements. Furthermore, the rise of the digital community signifies that competition is rife. Hotels, therefore, need to leverage the resources and systems at their disposal if they hope to retain loyal clients. Hotel technology is playing a significant role and its presence is only expected to increase in the coming years. Let’s now take a look at eleven upcoming and interesting hotel technology trends within the hotel industry.

Hotel Technology Trends: Discover 14 General & COVID Related Hotel Tech Trends

Below you find an overview of the newest hotel technology trends. Some innovations are due to general changes in consumer behaviour and the progress of technical developments, and some changes accelerated due to a shift in consumer behaviour to the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Contactless Payments

Contactless payments are among the single most crucial hotel technology trends, helping to improve the speed of transactions. In the past, this was restricted to contactless cards. Still, the more recent emergence of mobile wallets and wearables has expanded this area, providing customers with options even when they do not have their cards with them.

While contactless payments have typically been seen as a convenience, they have emerged as much more of a necessity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Many customers are reluctant to handle cash or use keypads to enter their PIN, while using contactless methods as much as possible can also help to keep your employees safe too.

Video: Contactless Payments – How Does it Work?

 

Read “Contactless Payments Are Becoming More Important Within Hospitality” for more on this hotel technology.

2. Hotel Robots

The use of robots is among the fascinating hotel technology trends, because it is a technology that is improving rapidly. Already, there are examples of hotels that have used robots for things like greeting guests upon arrival, or providing tourist information on a 24/7 basis. Still, the uses are now extending far beyond this too.

Hotel robots have the potential to assist with housekeeping activities, such as vacuum cleaning floors and killing germs, which can be especially important for making your property COVID secure. However, some hotels are also utilising robots for luggage transportation, security, room service and restaurant waiting.

It is a technology that is also likely to continue to expand in the years ahead, as robots become more reliable and better equipped to improve performance over time through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Video: Alibaba’s ‘Future Hotel’ Uses Robots

 

Video: Germ-Killing Robots to Cleanse Hotel Rooms

 

Find more detailed information and examples of robot use cases in the hotel industry in the articles “Examples of Robots Being Used in the Hospitality Industry”. and “Hotel Robots: An Overview of Different Robots Used in Hotels”.

3. Chatbots

Chatbots and online widgets are standard on many websites and can form a vital part of a modern hotel marketing strategy. However, they are also now being deployed on things like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp too. The main benefit here is the ability to provide customers with swift answers to questions at all times of the day.

Some chatbots can be configured to communicate in different languages too, offering a more comprehensive customer support experience. The importance of chatbots has also grown in the wake of COVID, because customers will often have questions about policies and procedures, and these can usually be answered effectively by bots.

Video: Example Hotel Chatbot

 

Video: Book a Hotel With Chatbot

 

Check out the articles “Reasons Why Every Hotel Needs a Hotel Chatbot” and “What Are the Important Features When Choosing a Hotel Bot?” for more information.

4. Hotel Virtual Reality Tours

Virtual reality, or VR for short, is a technology which involves creating a digital environment for users to explore. It is especially effective for those in hotel management, because it allows you to present a digital recreation of your hotel for users to check out from the comfort of their own home.

In many ways, VR is the ultimate way to experience a hotel before making a booking and many hotel websites are turning to VR tours and 360 videos during the booking process to attract additional sales. With concerns about COVID, VR tours can be especially useful, helping customers to understand exactly what to expect during their stay.

Most virtual reality tours can be viewed in a standard web browser on a computer, mobile or tablet, making it a widely accessible hotel technology. However, the experience can be enhanced with a dedicated VR headset.

Video: Pullman Brisbane King George Square Virtual Reality Hotel Tour

 

Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your hotel in the articles “How Virtual Reality (VR) can Enrich the Hotel Industry”. and “Reasons Why Every Hotel Should Have a Virtual Reality Video“.

5. Mobile Check-In

Mobile check-in technology allows customers to check-in using a mobile app. In this sense, it shares similarities with contactless payments, because they both aim to reduce friction for customers. Additionally, both of these hotel tech trends can improve convenience and enhance the customer experience by reducing waiting times.

The option for mobile check-ins can help hotels to move away from having set times where guests need to check-in, because the check-in process can be carried out without the need for human interaction. For this reason, it is also a good piece of hotel technology to highlight in your COVID related marketing efforts.

You can learn more by reading our “Mobile Check-In App for Hotels: What Are The Benefits?” post.

6. Voice Searches

The rise of home-based gadgets such as Alexa and Siri has illustrated that the mechanics behind basic voice searches have incredibly evolved during the past few years. Not only are more detailed answers provided, but it is much easier to employ these systems as a means to augment existing hotel technology. In a hands-free world, this makes a great deal of sense. Guests can now book reservations or immediately contact a hotel representative using dedicated voice-activated applications. This is quite beneficial while out and about. Voice technology is certainly set to replace more traditional options such as a static telephone number. In an era partially defined by electronic immediacy, it only stands to reason that voice searches have been included within this list.

Video: Voice Search Within Hospitality

 

Video: Example Voice Control

 

Find more detailed information and examples about to apply voice searches in the hotel industry in the article “How Can Voice Control Benefit the Hotel Industry?”.

7. Cyber Security

Hotels are at an ever-increasing risk of running into cybersecurity problems, ranging from loss of customer data, through to more malicious threats, such as phishing, DDoS attacks and ransomware. For this reason, you need to make sure you invest in training and make use of cybersecurity tools.

The importance of having the right cybersecurity protocols is heightened if your hotel has some of its employees working from home in response to the pandemic. In these situations, employees may be using their own devices, or connecting to your network remotely, and this can introduce additional security risks that need to be taken into account.

The hotel industry is a particular target for these threats, because hotels handle a large amount of customer data and also tend to have a large number of employees, each with accounts that could potentially be compromised.

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8. Smart Hotels

It seems as if “smart” technology has become an inextricable component of our daily lives. Its importance has not been lost within the hospitality sector. Automated checkout services, customised environmental settings within each room, the use of the Internet of Things (IoT), and wireless data linking are now all becoming commonplace. The ultimate goal is to provide guests with a fully customised experience. This will help to reinforce the brand identity of the hotel in question and as a result, they are more likely to return in the future.

Video: Smart Hotel Solutions

 

You can read more detailed information and examples about how smart hotel rooms can benefit your hotel in the articles “Smart Hotel Room; What Are the Benefits for Hotel Owners and Guests” and “7 Ways to Transform a Hotel Room Into a Smart Room”.

9. Service Automation

Self-service automation intends to place the decision-making process in the hands of the guests as opposed to hotel staff. This directly follows trends which have been witnessed across multiple sectors. Self-service kiosks, online registration, targeted feedback questionnaires, and options to pre-set the amenities within a room are now beginning to take centre stage. However, this is not to say that traditional staff have been remove from the equation. Their services are rather being augmented with a heightened sense of in-house automation.

10. Facial Recognition Technology

Many consumers are just beginning to become accustomed to facial recognition technology; particularly in relation to smartphone security. Still, it is important to mention that these very same methods represent another important facet of modern hotel technology. There are several benefits which facial recognition applications are able to provide for hotel management:

  • Enhanced levels of security and privacy
  • Only authorised personnel will be allowed to enter specific areas
  • This method can be used in conjunction with electronic payments as another form of verification

Video: Facial Recognition Check-in in Marriott China

 

Find more detailed information about how your hotel can benefit from facial recognition in the article “4 Use Cases of Facial Recognition in The Hotel Industry”.

11. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

It can be argued that AI represents the most profound example of how hotel technology is advancing. This is due in no small part to the fact that its presence can be seen in the majority of the systems mentioned above. The ultimate goal of artificial intelligence is to provide guests with a more seamless and streamlined experience during their stay. There are several ways in which this can be accomplished:

  • Collating and interpreting guest data
  • Mapping and identifying user preferences to create a tailor-made accommodation package
  • More targeted and effective marketing techniques
  • The ability to proactively determine the efficacy of a publicity campaign
  • Personalising the entire guest experience

Artificial intelligence plays a profound role in hotel technology and this method has only recently entered into the mainstream marketplace. As its presence grows, it is fully reasonable for customers to expect a one-of-a-kind experience.

Video: The Impact of AI on improving hotel booking rates

 

Find more detailed information and examples of artificial intelligence use cases in the hotel industry in the article “How to use Artificial Intelligence in the Hotel Industry”.

12. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is intended to enhance the physical environment of the end-user via devices such as smartphones and tablets. Some applications within the hotel sector include offering in-house interactive elements (such as maps and points of interest), providing a digital history of the property and supplying guests with relevant information when they are located within certain areas of the hotel (such as a menu if they happen to enter a restaurant).

Video: Example Augmented Reality Within the Hotel Industry

 

Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your hotel in the article “How Augmented Reality is Transforming the Hotel Industry”.

13. Guest Apps

Smartphones have taken centre stage in terms of daily communications. From chatting with friends to answering emails and purchasing products online, the fact of the matter is that the average consumer has come to depend upon such innovative applications. This observation has not been lost within the hospitality sector. Hotels are now developing their own selection of branded apps so that guests can enjoy an even greater level of connectivity and correspondence. Modern bundles offer features such as virtual payments, 360-degree tours of a room and immediate contact with a concierge.

Video: Smart Guest App

14. Big Data

Big data represents one of the “catchphrases” of recent times, and for good reason. The ability to collect, interpret, disseminate, and react to this information is critical for hotels. This is particularly relevant for large properties that might cater to the needs of thousands of guests on a monthly basis. Through a combination of the data they gather themselves, and information available online, hotels can use big data to assist them with a revenue management strategy, identifying offers which might suit specific travellers or hotel guests or embracing the proper sales and hotel marketing approaches.

Video: Example of Big Data and predictive analysis

 

Find more detailed information about the big data in the hotel industry in the article “5 Ways Big Data Can Help Those in the Hotel Industry”.

 

Hotel Technology Trends: The Metaverse and the Digital Trends Hotel Companies Are Embracing

Many of the emerging hotel technology trends, along with the digital trends hotel owners are already deploying, can feed into the concept of the metaverse, including virtual reality headsets and other metaverse devices, NFT technology, blockchain technology, augmented reality, social media, and more.

Check out “How Can the Hotel Industry Take Advantage of the Metaverse?” if you are interested in learning more about what the metaverse really means, how it can be defined, the ways hotels are already using this technology, and the opportunities that hotels can capitalise on in the future, in order to maximise their investment.

There is no doubt that cutting-edge hotel technology is here to stay. These eleven examples should shed some light on what customers can expect in the coming months. Offering second-to-none levels of convenience and flexibility, hotels need to be able to embrace these innovative methods if they hope to maintain a competitive edge within an increasingly digital marketplace.

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