When I read that hotels in Japan would soon unveil robot staff, I got a flashback to The Jetsons. We may not have flying cars yet, but Rosie the Robot maid is becoming a reality.
Many have lamented the lack of innovation in the hotel industry, but there is a flurry of recent activity that shows this is about to change.
Much has already been done to enhance the guest experience before they enter the hotel room. Mobile bookings are on the rise, hotels are beginning to adopt wearable technology, and some travelers can access room keys from a smart phone.
It shouldn’t be about technology for technology’s sake. It should be about installing an underlying ecosystem which enables the kind of flexibility to empower your business to continue to grow and adapt to the needs of your guests.
Launch of the Apple Watch
With the launch of Apple Watch we are already seeing Starwood, American Airlines and Trip Advisor primed and ready with apps. The change is coming. But as the pre-stay guest interaction matures, hotels should also have their eye on the in-room experience.
Guests should be able to not only control and interact with their room – but also be able to enjoy their stay in a personalized environment. More and more, people expect the comforts of home when they travel.
This is no longer a small subset of cutting edge technology enthusiasts. The barriers to adopting newer technologies and integrating them into our lives continue to plummet. As we see growing traction in the home automation space, where consumers equip their homes with smart appliances, locks and automated thermostats, it is only natural that hotels will need to follow suit.
These interfaces are prime real estate to engage guests
For example, touch-screens which let the guest control elements in their room, as well as interact with services and order room service, are becoming table-stakes in guest rooms. These interfaces are also prime real estate for the hotel to engage their guests and provide yet another layer of personalization.
If the guest wants dinner reservations or a spare tube of toothpaste, it’s theirs with a tap of a button. Every technology touch point, in every room, is an opportunity to delight your guests. The ability to instantly adapt the in-room experience to meet a specific guests needs is just around the corner.
It’s this kind of intelligence by design and guest-focused thinking that will breed unsurpassed customer loyalty.
A barrier to entry for hoteliers is often the issue of organic growth during a time when technology is rapidly evolving. When a hotel installs a system for in-room room engagement, they should consider whether you are buying features which are focused on today’s perceived needs or are you investing in technology that will be an asset to build upon for the future.
When investing in technology, step back and look at the big picture. You may not need it now but you should invest in technology which is ready for the innovation and change that is most definitely coming. A flexible framework, built on a solid foundation is technology worth investing in.
About the author
Leo Daiuto is SVP of User Experience and Product Strategy | CXO of Evolve Controls. Evolve Controls creates customizable enterprise-class solutions for automating, controlling and monitoring connected spaces. Leo is responsible for product innovation, design and marketing initiatives. With over 15 years of experience building and leading creative teams, Leo is passionate about creating compelling experiences. Prior to Evolve Controls, Leo was the Founder and CEO of software design agency, Slamm Creative and served as Director of Human Factors and Design and Unisys Corporation. In Leo’s free time, he is a musician, father, and technology geek. Follow him on Twitter at @LeoADaiuto.