From enhanced guest experiences to the power of reserving your parking spot in advance, smart technology is becoming more common in the hospitality industry. Apps that anticipate guests’ needs help hotels and planners design events that deliver more of what people really want.
“Simple integrations like Netflix on the television and Alexa in the room make people feel more comfortable. Additional technologies like online check-in, mobile room keys and other perks only contribute to that. In a world where event planners are constantly struggling to fill room blocks, technology is yet another attraction,” said Liz King Caruso, CEO and chief event specialist of Liz King Events.
Below are the top smart technology trends in the hotel industry that will benefit meeting professionals and their attendees.
1. Guest Experiences:
Guest data can be used to better accommodate each person’s needs throughout their stay. For instance, occupancy sensors can ensure attendees aren’t bothered by maid service while in their rooms. Smart guest experience technology will allow hotels to predict multiple guest services based on previous visits and aggregated guest data, creating a more personalized experience for your attendees.
Smart sensors and hotel apps will allow guests to not only reserve parking spots ahead of their visits, but to also have their spot assigned at their arrival. This will give your guests an effortless experience from the minute they pull up.
3. Remote Check-In and Check-Out:
Enabling guests to use their mobile devices to check-in and out can give planners more time for event details. Remote check-in can notify hotel staff when guests arrive, offer the appropriate upgrades and provide each guest with an individualized experience. For check-out, guests can enjoy a self-check-out experience and arrange their own preferred transportation to their next destination without relying on the front desk.
4. Mobile Room Keys:
A smartphone app that provides guest room access, eliminates the problem of attendees losing their key card or the environmental impact of countless plastic cards. This could help your corporate social responsibility image. It’s a win-win!
5. Room Service:
Hotels will be able to push menu notifications to guests’ smartphones when they are in their rooms using smart occupancy sensors. They can also schedule texts tailored to fit their preferred ordering times, including personalized menu suggestions based on previous orders.
“Of course, a great event technology strategy starts by setting goals so while there may be interesting technology available at a particular hotel, it’s really important to focus on any pain points you have currently with your event and the goals you are hoping to achieve,” said Caruso. Focusing on your goals will help you figure out what technologies will provide the most value for your event. For instance, if your agenda is super packed, finding ways to enhance the check-in and check-out experience might be very important for your attendees.
Case Study: Accor Going Keyless
Another hospitality giant announced its own innovation to smooth the return to meetings. Paris-based Accor says it has begun a global rollout of a digital key solution that will include not only access to guest rooms in its hotels, but also to meeting rooms and elevators.
A smartphone digital key app, Accor Key, will activate on check-in and deactivate on check-out.
Accor Key will be delivered through a partnership with STAYmyway, a cloud-based access management tool. Faustino Fernandez, the software company’s founder & CEO, cited a recent Deloitte study that shows 60 percent of travelers are more likely to stay at a hotel that allows contactless check-in, and 16 percent say it’s a “must have.”
Following pilot programs in North America, Europe and Asia, the rollout will start in all new Accor hotels opening in 2021 and then extend to existing properties, with a goal of equipping 500 hotels with Accor Key this year, and at least half of all rooms across the company within the next five years.
Accor notes that the initiative will also reduce the amount of plastic used for traditional key cards and cardboard for the key holder.