Technology plays an increasingly pervasive role in our everyday lives and continues to become ever more personalized. The advent of wearable technology has brought devices down to an even more personal level. Nearly everyone has a smartphone. However, by being worn on the body, wearables actually take technology to a new level of personal interaction. And since travel is an extremely personal experience, hospitality and wearable technology are a natural fit.
Since wearable technology is most likely a given in the hospitality industry’s future, there are a number of ways in which these developments can best be leveraged by hotels. Likewise, closely integrated with these devices is mobile pay technology, which gives users the ability to pay with merely the swipe of a phone, tablet, or smartwatch for example. A number of hotels are utilizing wearable technology to empower their guests to put away their wallets and keys while staying at the property. Wearable devices can be used to perform common hotel functions such as unlock guest room doors and pay for food and beverages or hotel services, or even check-in and out. Guests can also be enabled to see details of their reservation, view loyalty points status, or get directions.
Wearable technology can also be guest facing as well, enhancing the hotel staff’s ability to provide exceptional customer service. Both front desk personnel and concierges can improve the level of personal service through the use of augmented reality and facial recognition technology in these devices allows staff to individualize the attention given to hotel customers. For example, concierges can deliver truly personalized travel experiences tailored to the tastes of their guests. Additionally, wellness programs can be complemented with wearables. Bracelets, which monitor guest sleeping patterns, can be distributed to customers to assist them in optimizing their sleep time. These same bracelets, can be used for functions that can be filled by the Apple Watch as well.
Naysayers have reported how sales of the Apple Watch have fallen off, however this is not any indication of the future growth potential for wearable technology going forward. Early adopters have bought-in initially, and in time the public at large will buy-in as well. Whether it’s with the Apple Watch, Android Wear, Pebble, or some other device, wearables are undeniably the future. As time progresses and Millennial travelers who are most excited about these technologies come into their prime traveling age, hotel implementation of wearable technology interaction will become the expected norm, rather than a nice feature.
It is inevitable that, in time, wearable technology will become as ubiquitous as the smartphone. Its adoption by the hospitality industry can only improve the travel experiences of all hotel guests, while streamlining many hotel operations.
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