The future of hotels lies on their hand only. The Hotel rooms that can access everything from your favorite food to your musical preferences – while running on technology that’s clever enough to repair itself – might sound like a page torn right out of a pulp sci-fi novel.
Hotels are doing it today, and many more are on the verge of implementing these innovative technologies. If you’re a guest at one of these forward-looking properties, get ready for a completely different kind of experience—one in which technology anticipates your every need and gives it to you without you ever having to ask.
And it isn’t just hotels that are leveraging these new tools to their advantage; so are theme parks, restaurants, and casinos. The overall effects of these new tools on the hospitality business promises to be far-reaching. From the perspective of a hotel, casino, or restaurant, these important advances have the potential to create more efficient and profitable businesses, and make your business more appealing to guests.
Here are the five biggest technology trends in the hospitality industry.
New customer relationship management (CRM) tools will replace “questions” at check-in
Remember all those queries when you pick up your room key, such as, What kind of newspaper do you prefer? Would you like a poolside or oceanside room? Asking such questions eats up hotel employees’ valuable time and, after a while, guests get tired of answering them. New customer relationship management (CRM) tools allow a hotel to gather guest preference information from various systems at property level and distribute them throughout the company. So your hotel knows what you like, right away.
TVs that deliver music, movies—and much more.
Today’s leading-edge hotels have in-room systems that do far more than allow guests to watch their favorite first-run movie. They can also control in-room music, provide gaming options, display your bill—even control the thermostat and lights.
Find yourself (and pay for lunch).
People in the hospitality industry have found a variety of uses for new radio frequency identification (RFID) technology—from helping guests find each other at a ski resort to allowing them to pay for a meal. That’s because, increasingly, this technology is gaining traction with hotels and resorts in the form of cashless payment systems that can be used on-property and, more and more often, off-property as well.
Back-office systems that are actually on speaking terms
Hotel guests might not have noticed this (and if it was done right, they shouldn’t have), but applications that handled property management, food and beverage, and sales and catering functions often couldn’t communicate with one another easily. Now they can.
Self-healing hotel technology
A hotel’s information technology (IT) systems are typically managed in a reactive way, which is to say that when something breaks down an IT person is called upon to fix it. But bringing systems offline to repair them can affect the whole operation—think of the long check-in lines when the credit-card systems aren’t working. The solution? A dynamic platform that constantly monitors a hotel’s systems for problems and fixes them before they affect the whole property.