Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Internet of Things And The Hotel Experience - Part 1

The inter-connection of devices, called The Internet of Things or IoT for short, promises to revolutionize our everyday lives and transform entire industries. The hospitality industry in particular stands to profit immeasurably from the implementation of connected devices in hotels. The possibilities for improved customer service enabled by new technologies will no doubt result in higher ratings on travel sites for any hotel that embraces IoT upgrades to their property. Additionally, greater efficiency in hotel operations will be a beneficial outcome as well.

Customer Service
The technological changes brought about by hotels integrating the Internet of Things into their everyday operations has the power to markedly enhance the hotel guest experience on many levels. Every aspect of the guest’s hotel stay, before, during and after will be transformed by the implementation of IoT.

1. Before Guest Stay
The ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile devices allows hoteliers to interact in a meaningful way with guests before and at their arrival on property. Online hotel booking and the expanding use of mobile payments ensures that hotels and their guests are technologically engaged in advance of the stay. Upon arrival, the profound guest experience transformation will begin. Consumers are looking for ways to streamline their lives, particularly when traveling, and standing in a line at a hotel is something they can certainly do without. This is especially true in light of the stresses encountered in the current transportation experience, whether flying or driving. The hotel check-in merely becomes the receipt of an electronic key sent to the guest’s smartphone, tablet, or wearable device. The door recognizes the owner’s device, enabling entrance to the room.

2. During Guest Stay
The adoption of the Internet of Things offers hoteliers the opportunity to truly revolutionize how guests experience their stays. IoT can enable guests to control every facet of their room from a hotel provided, multi-purposed tablet or other device. Everything from entertainment, lighting, and environmental controls, to even ordering room service or more towels can be accomplished at the touch of a finger. Their setting preferences may be saved and then revert back to hotel chosen standard settings upon check-out. Upon arrival at the hotel for their next stay, these preferences can be returned as well. This can even be taken a step further with voice and motion activation technology.
Touchscreens can be made available throughout the accommodations, providing guests all the information they need to optimize their stay enjoyment. This may yet include touchscreen bathroom mirrors, for example, which are enabled with interactive displays providing guests relevant information such as weather and news. Bluetooth technology can also pair the guest’s smart device to the mirror as well. The possibilities offered by IoT adoption are nearly limitless.

3. After Guest Stay
IoT technology promises an extremely personalized hotel experience for guests. Since their preferences regarding nearly every aspect are saved and can be brought about upon their return, each hotel stay is uniquely tailored around the individual guest’s likes and dislikes. All of this information is enabled by the collection of Big Data.
At check-out time, like check-in, the guest merely leaves the hotel. Room heat sensors can inform the front desk and housekeeping personnel when guests have departed. Here is where a vibrant social media presence makes a difference in fostering a real personal relationship between guest and hotel.
In part two of this series, we will explore the ways in which hoteliers can improve hotel efficiency levels across the board through implementing the Internet of Things into everyday hotel operations.

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