The entry of disruptive intermediaries into the hotel value chain poses a major threat to the sector’s smaller accommodation providers, the Head of Strategy and Transformation at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has warned.
Gavin Flynn said the emergence of new players like Booking.com and Expedia had increased the speed of innovation and driven hotel companies to give consumers greater choice and price transparency.
“The hotel industry has been, until very recently, really quite horrible about controlling pricing. You could find the hotel rooms at wildly different prices in different channels,” Flynn said.
“And so when an Expedia or a Booking.com says ‘we’re the cheapest’, it’s actually quite hard to challenge.
“Now in recent times, we and other hotel companies have tried to drive very consistent pricing across the channels and make sure that actually when you book direct you’re not disadvantaged and ideally it’s even a little cheaper than booking on an intermediary.”
10 Innovation in the Hospitality Industry
Cloud / SaaS (Software as a Service) in Hospitality
SaaS has helped to reduce administratively and IT issues particularly for small hospitality businesses that cannot afford to invest in in-house technical help.
SaaS has definitely transformed the Hospitality industry. Artificial intelligence is coming as an offshoot of this which by many is being considered as innovation as important as the wheel.
Even the budget hospitality establishments can afford fully automated systems to run and manage their organisation.
2. Easy check in
Aside from the traditional check-in experience, technology has made it easier for guests to check in, inquire about their rooms or upgrades as well as obtain RFID keys.
Technology has played a key role and Easy check-in is one of the things which is simple yet one of the most important innovations in the hospitality industry over the past decade.
No more hassles now with Technology backed smooth checking as one of the key Trends in the Hospitality Industry.
3. Keyless Entries- Smartphone Operated Room
With free companion apps in the market, it is now possible to control your room remotely through your phone or tablet to turn on the TV, browse and order for food, and so on.
It is one of the best hospitality technology that has already been in operation at a lot of hotels now.
When air travel is already mobile, why should the hotel industry hold back? Smartphones can easily act as a key, remote control and voice command operating device.
Not only does this enhance the user experience but also, drives down the cost for the hotel business in the longer term.
It also helps in getting key information about the customer that can be used for personalized marketing offers and services.
A lot of hotels are now allowing everything to be operated through apps.
Right from check in- checkout to managing your lighting. Right from cooling/heating to ordering food. It’s all possible through one app now. You would see most of the chains implementing the app facilities in the near future while it would be a few more years for the rest of the hotel industry to catch up.
The smartphone operated rooms feature is definitely one of the most interesting new technologies in hotel rooms. Think about smart thermostats, wi-fi control and several other facilities that these smartphone apps can achieve for the better guest experience.
4. Be your own concierge (Or let Siri be your Concierge and butler)
Apps available for both Android and iOS can now allow guests to access a range of services including booking appointments for spas, set wake up calls, ordering a taxi, etc.
‘Siri’ is a smart virtual assistant in Apple’s iPhones and will soon be seen in your hotel rooms. Isn’t that interesting? Yes, this is one of the most interesting technologies in hotel rooms of the future.
Is there anything that is beyond expectation? Voice responding hotel rooms is definitely not one of them. Now, Apple’s ‘Siri’ will soon be seen acting as a virtual assistant even in your hotel rooms. Aloft hotels with the help of Apple’s ‘Siri’ has started providing voice responding services to guests as a pilot project.
If your hotel room is too cold or the TV is up too loud, you can just tell your hotel room what you want it to do. So, if you want to increase room temperature or want to order some food and wine, do so just by commanding your room.
With ‘Amazon Echo’ already live in a few hotel rooms, this is going to be another milestone in technological advancements in hospitality.
Are you aware of the Project Jetson with Apple’s ‘Siri’ as the virtual Butler / Virtual Assistant? Aloft Hotels, a Starwood brand, now offers a new voice-activated guest room service that is certainly the wave of the future.
The project is called Project Jetson, and guests will stay in high-tech rooms that, with the help of Apple’s assistant Siri, who will respond to their commands. Project Jetson is currently available at the company’s Boston Seaport and Santa Clara locations.
The system can be accessed via a person’s iPhone or the in-room iPad. Once the device is connected to the room, they can turn on and off the TV by asking Siri. It will also control the air conditioner, GPS, lights, etc. Guests can learn where the closest restaurants and stores are by asking their rooms for advice.
Aloft has plans to bring more features with Project Jetson 2.0 such as room service orders. A Related article by Bloomberg- Siri & Alexa fight to become your butler.
5. Workflow Management tools in the Hospitality Industry
We live in an era of continuous innovation. Thus, we only get excited about hi-tech and transformational innovation.
Technology also has introduced some incremental innovation in the hospitality industry.
Workflow management tools are a great example of such incremental innovation.
Workflow management tools have become important because they help to reduce instances of dropped guests.
Workflow management tools that have the power to communicate across departments can enhance the overall effectiveness.
6. Improved In-Room Hardware as an innovation in the Hotel Industry
Nowadays, there is no shortage of in-room technology that can make the guest experience better.
From phone activated keys to being able to use your tablet to control the temperature, the future of the hospitality industry looks brighter than ever.
Some Innovative hotel concepts have properly wrapped up in-room technology with imagination to come with lovely examples of how innovation is changing the hospitality industry.
7. Wearable technology (And Virtual reality in Hotel Rooms)
Wearable technology has been making rounds in several high-end hotels across the globe and is by far one of the best inventions in the hotel industry.
Wearable tech such as keycards, both for employees and guests, can collect data such as the most frequented locations by your guest so that service can be tailored.
Another super interesting innovation in the hospitality industry is the use of virtual reality in hotel rooms.
So, instead of a bucket of fries or a sandwich, you can now order a virtual trip through room service. These services are pioneered by Marriott and are in beta phase for a lot of hotel chains. There are a lot of other things in line and the feature would not limit you to just local sightseeing.
This is definitely one of the top technology trends in the hotel industry in 2018 and beyond.
8. Better ways to compare hotel prices
It is now easier than ever to track down the best deals with the help of Big Data and innovative sites that help consumers make their decisions.
Such sites allow guests to filter hotels by location, price, and proximity to the airport.
Best Travel Websites around the world are making the best out of this concept which has made the travellers the true winners through the innovation tide.
9. Free Wi-Fi in hotel rooms
Now, will the innovation list for the hospitality industry be complete without this one?
The internet has affected every corner of our lives so much so that the guest will not stay at a hotel if they cannot access the wi-fi.
This innovation has now been commoditised and most of the hotel now provides Wi-Fi for free. It’s not even a few years when hotels used to charge a hefty price for Wi-Fi usage.
10. The Sharing Economy
Because of the sharing economy, people are now renting directly from others.
The peer to peer networks has changed the hospitality industry as it has placed more pressure on hotels and guesthouses.
Companies like Airbnb are changing how the hospitality industry used to tackle travellers.
Other travel aggregators are following the model and travellers come out as the victors.
Here you go, a quick collection of the top innovation in the hospitality industry over the past couple of decades.
Aloft’s Project Jetson isn’t the first Jetson-like foray for the company. There are a lot of other hotel industry innovation that you might find extremely interesting.
These hi-tech projects have worked tirelessly to change rented rooms into a dream world for the techies.
For instance, the Cupertino, Calif building has a robot butler as well as mirrors that have a built-in touchscreen display, which is on trial at the Newark, New Jersey Element, a sister brand of Aloft.
There are other interesting projects going around like the automated hotels in Tokyo or Virtual reality by Marriott.
Future of the Hospitality Industry is bright and is being driven by technology and customer focus.
Information Technology in the Hotel Industry is driving the change and Siri in the Hotel room is one of the many projects of artificial intelligence and machine learning within the hospitality industry.
‘Siri’ in itself is an interesting project by Apple which has made a virtual assistant available to one an all. Virtual Butler or Virtual concierge services in Hotels would be a great addition for Siri. The next version is gearing up for incorporation of ‘artificial intelligence’ which will be more intelligent and adaptive. With the next version of ‘Siri’ by Apple or Alexa by Amazon in your rooms, you never know of the possibilities that lie ahead as far as the innovation in hospitality is concerned.