The smart hotel room concept is one of the most important technology trends emerging within the hospitality industry today. Indeed, the idea of a smart hotel is attractive to customers, for a whole variety of reasons, including greater convenience and personalisation. However, while a growing number of owners are willing to embrace the idea, many are unsure of how to go about actually implementing smart room technology.
To help out, in this article, you will find seven ways to transform a hotel room into a smart room.
What is a Smart Room?
First, it is important to establish what we mean by a ‘smart hotel room’. Essentially, this refers to a room that makes use of the Internet of Things, fitting everyday devices with internet-connectivity. As a result of this, several devices and objects in the room then have the capacity to send and receive digital information.
Devices fitted with this capability are often referred to as ‘smart’ devices and their benefits are numerous. Concepts that are often associated with smart room technology include voice control, automation, energy efficiency and improved responsiveness. In-room technology may also be able to interact with guests’ own personal smartphones.
Why Are Smart Hotel Rooms Becoming Important?
Smart room technology is becoming a more important concept, because it can significantly enhance the customer experience. For example, smart room controls can allow guests to get their room exactly how they want it, in terms of temperature, lighting and air conditioning, without having to manually adjust individual devices.
Similarly, a smart hotel might offer entertainment devices that can be controlled through voice commands, or it might allow for things like room service to be ordered without the need to speak to another human being. These things all add to the overall convenience associated with staying in a hotel, which can improve a guest’s perception of their stay, can make their stay more memorable, and can make it more likely that they return in the future.
Additionally, because smart hotel rooms still have a novelty factor, they can improve demand, ultimately allowing hotels to increase room rates and optimise the revenue they generate from guests. At the same time, while the conversion process is likely to require substantial investment, smart hotel rooms can save hotels money.
7 Ways to Transform Hotel Rooms Into Smart Rooms?
1. Smart Room Controls
One of the most common ways that hotels are made into smart rooms is through the addition of personalised room controls. For example, IoT technology means a room’s lights, heating, air conditioning and even curtains can be controlled from a centralised location, such as a smartphone, smart speaker, smart hub, or tablet.
Brands like Hilton have already rolled out this technology, allowing their guests to control the thermostats in their rooms through their smartphones. Other hotels have gone further, allowing guests to set desired conditions within their room via their phone, with the devices automatically keeping the room regulated in that way. Meanwhile, voice-controlled lighting is also becoming more widespread, thanks to devices like Amazon Echo.
2. Voice-Controlled Entertainment
Smart speakers and smart hubs can also be connected to entertainment devices contained within a smart hotel room, allowing these devices to be controlled through voice recognition. This can enable guests to issue basic voice commands, in order to turn the television on or off from anywhere in the room, or to change the channel.
However, hotels can go further with this concept, empowering users to issue more complex commands, such as playing personal music playlists through smart speakers, or ordering pay-per-view films through voice control. Ultimately, this adds up to a more convenient experience, as devices can be used from anywhere in the room.
3. Faster Guest Services
A key benefit of the Internet of Things within a smart hotel is the ability to connect devices to hotel services. Crucially, these services may range from traditional guest services, like room service food or drink orders, through to things like booking a massage session, or an exercise class in the hotel gym.
A smart hotel room might contain a voice-activated smart hub, or may even provide guests with access to an app through the television, or via a tablet device. This can allow customers to order room service by clicking on a touch screen, or to book spa sessions through simple voice commands given to the smart hub.
4. Sustainable Hotel Rooms
Customers are increasingly concerned with concepts like sustainability, and many are willing to spend more with eco-friendly brands. Meanwhile, hotel owners should also be concerned with sustainability, because opportunities to save money on energy costs mean opportunities to improve overall business results.
IoT technology can help with this through automated energy saving. Imagine, for instance, that a room automatically detects the level of light in a room and then seamlessly reduces or increases the brightness of the light bulbs; or that the heating is automatically adjusted, based on room temperature, in order to save money.
5. Interactive Maps
Among the most interesting and unique ways that hotel chains have transformed a standard hotel room into a smart room is through the use of interactive wall maps. In fact, internet connectivity provides the option to implement maps that can deliver real-time information, such as restaurant opening times and online reviews.
The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn have taken this concept a step further, blending it with augmented reality technology. By downloading an app and pointing their smartphone at one of the wall maps, guests can see further information about some of the local tourist sites and places of interest, enhancing the map’s core function.
6. Data-Driven Default Choices
One of the challenges linked to smart room technology involves maintaining user privacy and taking the right level of care with data collection. Nevertheless, some user data can be collected and utilised, without intruding upon the privacy of individuals, and an example of this is basic device usage information.
To illustrate this point, a hotel might collect data about the most popular radio station listened to through the smart speakers provided. This then allows them to make a data-driven, evidence-based decision about which radio station to set as the default option, potentially saving future guests time and effort along the way.
7. Personalised Entertainment
Finally, a hotel room can also be transformed into a smart room through the provision of more personalised entertainment options. In most cases, this will consist of ways to allow hotel guests to make use of their own accounts with third-party online services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify and Apple Music.
Amazon have recently launched their Alexa for Hospitality product, which allows hotels to easily implement smart voice control, through a modified version of its Echo speakers. It is planning to integrate entertainment into this, enabling guests to link their own Amazon account to the device and gain access to their audio books and music.
Smart Hotel Room; What Are the Benefits for Hotel Owners and Guests
In the article “Smart Hotel Room; What Are the Benefits for Hotel Owners and Guests” you will find out more information about how smart hotel rooms can actually benefit hotel owners and guests alike.
Video: Example of a smart hotel room
Video: Smart hotel room; the hotel room of the future
Ultimately, smart room technology has taken off due to its dual ability to improve the customer experience and save hotel owners money. The seven methods listed in this article offer some of the best ways that hospitality companies can transform their standard hotel rooms into smart rooms in the year ahead.