Many experts are predicting that 2018 will be the year that new technologies make the leap into mainstream hotels in order to provide a more efficient and connected experience for travellers. From speeding-up check-in to helping you find things to see and do in the area, technology can solve so many of the issues we have when staying in a hotel.
Will 2018 be the year you experience any of these exciting advancements in your chosen hotels?
New ways of accessing your hotel room have been growing over the past couple of years and this year could be when we see them used more universally. Instead of waiting at the check-in desk to receive your key and then having to remember to carry it around with you for the duration of your holiday and not lose it, solutions such as facial recognition and smart locks are being implemented.
Hilton Hotels has already rolled out their Digital Key concept to over 700 of their hotels and more brands are set to follow. This form of room access allows you to check-in remotely, choose your own room and then tap your smartphone to unlock the door once it is ready and you are standing within a few feet.
You know that feeling when you need to call down to reception for something and you know it’ll probably be a while before someone has the time to bring it up to you? Well, robot butlers may soon be patrolling the hallways of hotels all over the world to make this task a lot smoother. Staff can simply place the item into the robot’s capsule and then program which room number it needs to be taken to. Aloft Hotels started using a robot known as Botlr in its Silicon Valley hotels in 2014 and have since introduced them further afield.
In smaller hotels, other technologies are being used to help guests get the items they request sooner. Company apps or touch screens in reception allow you to tell staff what you need without having to queue at the desk.
The main use for virtual reality is obviously gaming, but the hospitality industry is starting to realise the potential it has in the world of travel. Whilst travel agents are using VR headsets in their stores to help customers imagine and experience certain destinations, in the hope they will then want to go there in real life, hotel chains have found other uses.
Best Western Hotels and Resorts has been using VR to allow customers to get a feel for around 2,000 of their properties, so that they can experience USPs, see the location and ultimately decide whether the hotel is what they are looking for. Marriot Hotels, on the other hand, are using this technology in a different way. By offering guests the option to request the use of a VR headset for 24 hours whilst staying at one of a select number of hotels, they are providing an entertainment service which lets users view VR content or watch a range of VR Postcards that feature real travellers in different destinations around the world.
With the launch of Amazon Echo, Google Home and various other virtual assistants, voice controlled devices have taken over our homes and will soon be doing the same in our hotel rooms. The Wynn Las Vegas has decided to put an Amazon Echo in each of its rooms and more companies will be experimenting with this throughout 2018. With smart TVs, smart lighting and a variety of other inanimate objects now connected to the internet, voice assistants may soon be used to control every aspect of your hotel room experience.
If you are unfamiliar with the idea of chatbots, they are AI interfaces that are beginning to take the place of humans in online conversations. Facebook is using them to help users find what they need when talking about it, cinemas are using them for film recommendations and cooking websites are implementing them to help suggest recipes that are more relevant to a person’s tastes. You simply talk to the chatbot via online messages and it will respond and adapt its answers to the situation.
Many hotel brands are using these futuristic conversations to help guests at different stages of their stay, reducing waits at reception desks and eliminating the need for staff to carry out menial tasks. Chatbots can be used to recommend sights in the area, make restaurant reservations, listen to customer feedback and much more. They are typically found within the brand’s dedicated app.
If you want us to help you find a futuristic hotel in 2018, or you want somewhere to escape the increasingly connected world in which we live, the TravelQuest team can help you find the perfect place to stay. Call us on 0800 021 3237 to speak about your next big adventure.