Hotel Technology Trends – The Face of Hospitality Tech In 2019
It’s almost the end of another year and it’s been a thrilling one in hospitality. Travel is more popular than ever, technology innovations are on the rise, and as a result, the guest experience is constantly taking turns for the better.
New and exciting innovations are being created and released every day and hotel tech that only a few years ago seemed extremely futuristic, is now easily integrated into our day to day lives. The world of technology is constantly changing and always surprising.
There are, however, certain trends that impact the course of hospitality and we made sure to keep track of them, in order to help you assess what’s to come.
Take a look to learn more about those hotel tech trends that are about to influence and shape the face of travel in 2019!
This is one of the most potent technology trends, that is already transitioning from “nice-to-have” to “must-have”. We have thoroughly discussed intelligent software integration in our latest eBook, The Hotelier’s Tech Stack Guide - Must-Have Technologies That Impact The Guest Journey and I highly recommend downloading it, in order to get a deeper look into the importance of smart integrations.
With so much data to store and manage, hotel software can prove to be ineffective if not properly connected to each other. Many systems are definitely useful on their own, but their capabilities are boosted when posting them at the center of an internal “network”. For example, an internet booking engine (IBE) is meant to register and store information regarding a booking, but it can lead to overbookings when not connected to the hotel’s channel manager. This last system needs to receive the latest booking information, in real-time, in order to adjust the availability on all of the other online portals where the hotel is listed for bookings. Also, certain information, such as special requests, can be registered upon booking and that information needs to be transferred further to the customer relationship management system (CRM). When this happens, hotels ensure that the customer data that is stored is accurate and that communication between hotel-guest is not only precise, but also personal. Which bring us to the next tech trend.
Not a technology per se, but a product of it, personalization is already known to be the way to go when gaining and retaining customers. Skift has even called the concept of personalization “an obligation” for hoteliers. When in comes to travel in the 21st century, standard, generic, and impersonal experiences just won’t cut it anymore. The majority of today’s travelers and especially younger generations (millennials, generation Z), expect personalized experiences and offers. They want to book a hotel that goes the extra mile when it comes to their stay there, one that will care for their particular needs, expectations, and requests and will tailor the guest experience in such a way that it will fit them perfectly.
Personalization comes as a beneficial result of integration between hotel systems. For example, connecting a property management system (PMS) to another smart tool, such as a direct messaging one, will allow hoteliers to create a detailed customer profile, which can translate into a personalized upsell offer. This can be delivered in the form of a personal text message, which lets guests know that their specific needs can be met and honored by the hotel.
Also, enabling guests to choose their own prefered communication mean is another great way of personalizing the guest journey. People like to communicate in different ways and with so many options out there, it’s only expected from a hotel to be able to provide a large variety. TrustYou’s Guest Messaging solution enables diverse communication channels, such as SMS, live chat, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp in the nearby future, with the end goal of allowing hotel guests to personalize their experience and enjoy a more seamless, satisfactory stay.
Cloud Computing Technology
What started with a pen and paper and later on developed into Excel spreadsheets, has now taken a turn for the clouds. Not literally, of course, but very few hoteliers nowadays are unfamiliar with the concept of cloud computing. The vast majority of hotel systems and software are cloud-based and this particular trend doesn’t seem to fade away. On the contrary, reports show that hoteliers are expected to invest 7 – 8% more in cloud technology over the next years. The adoption of cloud computing tech is on the rise in the travel industry and the reasons for this are numerous. First of all, cloud-based software is more accessible, more convenient and more secure than any other hard drive type of system. Cloud technology enables better accessibility, since users can sign in from anywhere, anytime, from any device. Also, these type of systems are not prone to any physical damage and security is at a higher level in their case. Not only that, but the majority of cloud software available on the market enable multiple, different types of operations, which save valuable time and enable a higher level of efficiency. As in the case of modern systems such as PMSs, CRMs, IBEs, and other platforms, cloud technology is leading the market currently and it will continue to do so.
More than a trend, cybersecurity has become an absolute must and so many investments are currently being made into this area, which can only mean that the years to come will be highly impacted. With so many hotel tech changes and innovations, even theft has migrated to the online medium. For a hotel business, being hacked can translate into not only losing finances, but sometimes it can even escalate to the point where the actual lives of staff and guests are in danger. Between that, there’s always the identify and customer data theft, which, in a world where GDPR and data privacy are thoroughly reinforced, can prove to be extremely damaging to a hotel and its image.
Hoteliers are encouraged to deeply emphasize on cyber security in the year of 2019, in order to avoid dangerous situations, data and identify theft, and the loss of their brand’s trustworthy image.
AI certainly hasn’t lost its appeal since it hit the market. On the contrary, it’s becoming more and more popular and reliable for hoteliers everywhere. So many processes are now more efficient and time-effective due to the usage of artificial intelligence. We have previously talked about chatbots and how they are a valuable asset to the customer support side of any business, but things have developed even further. A great number of hotels are now basing parts of their daily operations and interactions with guests on artificial intelligence, in an effort to save time, money and to avoid human errors. Some hotels are taking an even more futuristic approach by relying on robots to play the role of the hotel staff, taking requests and delivering room-service.
Since we’re talking about a highly personal industry, in which the quality of customer support weighs heavily, it’s easy to see why artificial intelligence is being so raved about. There are countless ways to make good use of AI, from even before a traveler becomes a guest and up to the point when the guest journey ends. By assisting with the booking process, with managing different inquiries, answering questions, ordering meals, and controlling room temperature and other such features, artificial intelligence is becoming extremely valuable to hotels.
It’s indisputable that human interaction is still required and will probably continue to be so, however, there are many times in which AI can take the spot and solve a large diversity of tasks in a time and cost-effective way, leading to a higher guest satisfaction.
Voice Enabled Devices
We have reached a point in history when we can carry a message to any distance with only our voice. And no, we’re not referring to the telephone, but to a newer, easier, and more exciting way of communication, that does not require the use actual use of a mobile phone or the dialing of a phone number: voice messaging through AI. This is one technology trend that has been highly raved about for a few years now, starting with Siri, Google assistant and Amazon Echo, but it has only recently been integrated in the hospitality area.
For hotel businesses, voice messaging brings a world of possibilities, from enabling staff to communicate with each other faster, to offering a new and more remarkable experience to hotel guests. Voice enabled devices are becoming more and more popular in hospitality and travel and many hotels have already adopted this new and exciting piece of tech.
With this in mind, TrustYou developed an effective, yet easy to use, direct messaging feature, which also pairs with Amazon Echo’s Alexa, providing hotel guests with a voice-operated virtual assistant. This particular solution enables hoteliers to write and record answers that reflect their property and its unique personality, while integrating all voice-commands seamlessly into their property’s technology stack. Set-up is quick and hassle free and the staff can easily adjust the responses in real-time. Voice enabled devices seem to be here to stay and it’s always interesting to see how the future will shape this new technology trend.
In the end, we’ll always have technology. From here on, there’s nowhere to go but up and hospitality will forever be influenced by technology innovations and trends. We can only say that we’re looking forward to another year of amazing, surprising, and useful hotel tech and we’re excited to see how it will help improve travel and the guest experience!