Guest experience has always been the primary driver behind the way in which hotels operate, but advances in technology will truly embed and extend the principle into 2019 as new tech and innovation becomes embedded in the hospitality sector.
That’s the picture as 2019 begins and hoteliers across the globe strive to gain a competitive advantage by delighting their customers to encourage brand loyalty. With the new year upon us, what will be key trends in the next 12 months?
Everything is “smart” these days and hotel rooms are no different. We live in a world in which non-tech savvy guests no longer exist. Lighting and heating controllable via an app is becoming commonplace, as is the ability to order fresh towels and room service from a smartphone.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will increasingly enable hoteliers to deliver a service personalised to each guest based on their past experiences and preferences. The ability to do just this will drive the ability of hotel chains to deliver loyalty programmes and encourage repeat bookings.
Big data certainly isn’t a new concept but its application has yet to be fully utilised in the hospitality sector. Hotel companies by their very nature gather huge amounts of data on customers and partnering with other travel sector businesses to utilise big data has enormous possibilities which have yet to be fully tapped.
With so much data to manage and to store, hotel software can be pretty ineffective if systems aren’t properly linked up with each other. System capability is significantly boosted when each element is networked.
The challenge will be to ensure the internet booking engine talks intelligently to the hotel’s channel manager. Additional information such as special requests needs to be effectively received by the customer relationship management system (CRM) and so forth.
Demand for Augmented Reality will hit
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology which enhances real-world environments in real-time. It might not boom in 2019 but we will see hoteliers increasingly adding graphics to their physical environment and to be using the technology as a marketing and personalisation tool, for example by offering 3D views of their rooms and the location itself to sell its product.
Self-service and Voice Assist
Today’s hotel guest expects a speedy and convenient service and developments in self-service will erode the need for customers to interact with a human being in a transaction. Coupled with this is the rise of voice assist technology meaning guests can order food, drink and services via smart technology.