Six key hotel technology trends
To keep ahead of the competition, hotels must remain on top of digital transformation developments. One reason is that digital-savvy millennials are fast becoming the most important group of travellers and consumers, and they expect a smooth digital experience. But new technologies are also set to revolutionise hotel operations, as well as open up the world of big data to the hospitality industry. We look at six trends pushing hotel technology adoption to the next level:
- Acting on big data. Many hotel chains have already begun the digital transformation, investing in hotel property management systems, IP telephony with tariff codes, Wi-Fi networks, video surveillance, digital signage or in-room entertainment. But how can they benefit from the collected data? The hotel tech industry is exploring solutions. The trade association HTNG, for example, is working with industry professionals and technology providers to overcome one big challenge: integrating data from various technology systems. It’s aiming at a standardised infrastructure that combines all data centrally, laying the foundation for analytical recommendation engines.
- Voice-based technologies. Hotels’ interest in voice-based guest engagement is growing. Voice-based technologies include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Alibaba’s Tmall Genie and Baidu Raven, but also a growing number of independent providers. However, hotels must ensure that voice-based technology does not infringe on the privacy rights of staff or guests. To help the industry navigate these complexities, the HTNG released a white paper in August 2018 that provides standards and best practice for voice-based technologies.
- Mobile hotel apps continue to be a growing trend. Hrvatski Telekom’s hospitality platform, for example, integrates and connects all of the firm’s relevant products and services, making it possible for both hotels and guests to enjoy a broad spectrum of premium, personalised offers.
- Blockchain technology. Blockchain, which is behind cryptocurrencies, is an “incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions”, as the co-founders of the Blockchain Research Institute, Don and Alex Tapscott, describe it. Industry experts believe it could radically change the transaction business models of hotels. It is a decentralised system that continually updates, reconciles and stores information, making it potentially hacker-proof. And, because records cannot be changed in just one place, it is transparent and auditable. The biggest hurdle for the hotel industry is to get on top of this new trend, and industry bodies such as HTNG are offering support to do so.
- Wearable technology is being tested in various forms. AccorHotels, for example, offers guests the sleep-promoting headband Dreem, which monitors and regulates sleep by diffusing sound to the inner ear. Hotel Alessandra in Houston, USA, has slicked up communication by giving staff Samsung Gear S3 wearables, which enable them to communicate directly with each other and guests without the need for smartphones. The system runs on the communication and task-management platform TaskWatch. And Spain’s largest hotel chain, Meliá, is rolling out electronic payment bracelets in various hotels.
- EV-charging stations and e-bicycles. Green services such as these are likely to become a key competitive advantage for hotels that offer them.
Telekom is paving the way when it comes to digital innovation, and regularly hosts events that bring together experts in areas undergoing rapid and exciting change. Next up, in Krakau, is our "Digital Tranformation” trend-driven workshop for the hotel industry. Top hotel executives will meet and network with innovators and each other. They will be able to share best practice, get inspiration, and gain insights into the latest tech trends in the hotel industry. (Registration is now closed for the event.)
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