New and emerging Hospitality Technology Trends in 2019

 TrendsAs the oldest cloud-based Hotel Property Management System, Hotelogix has, for over a decade now, been closely watching and assessing industry trends. We’ve seen trends that revolutionized the way the industry functioned and others that didn’t last very long.

With the intention of initiating dialogue and sharing our perspective with the hospitality fraternity, we began publishing our annual Hospitality technology Trend report. A reality check report, if you will, for hoteliers from both the independent as well as the chain hotels. This report will take you through if and how the trend forecast for the year gone by was successful, as well as what the future holds for us all in the ‘trends’ department.

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Earlier this year we had deepened our insights on the latest hotel technology trends that would affect Hospitality in 2018. As the year comes to an end, we now take the story one step ahead by predicting how some of these Hospitality Technology trends will evolve and shape up in 2019. So, let’s take a look at what will matter to your guests in 2019 and how technology will help you serve them better.

Technology trends predicted for 2018 and their evolution in 2019

Let’s dive into what we had seen as hospitality trends for 2018. This past year has seen a new digital wave taking over the hotel industry. While it may not be feasible for you to adopt every hotel industry trend for technology mentioned below, it will empower you to have a greater understanding of what lies ahead.

The Hype around Data- This will become more of a reality in 2019

Our prediction for 2018 was…

 There are huge amounts of data collection happening via mobile bookings, guest reviews, the internet search engines and even a cloud-based PMS, as integrated by the hotel. The key here lies in understanding and prioritizing data. Data collected and analyzed properly will help a hotel to boost guest experiences and increase revenues. For hoteliers, being able to store and analyze such huge amount of data enables them to have a competitive edge when it comes to taking vital decision pertaining to the business.

How this will shape up in 2019:

Big data is everywhere- right from when we wake up in the morning and check how the traffic is going to be on our office route or at what time we will reach our destination, we are actually looking at the excellent work of big data mapping at the backend of Google maps. Our dependency on Big data, as a generation is unparalleled. And the hospitality industry is no exception to this trend.

Soon hospitality will learn to rely on data more and more for managing the finer aspects of guest experience and hotel operations management:

  1. Revenue management

Combining insights from PMS guest history with market rate intelligence – In 2019, we see more and more independent hoteliers adopt this approach and it will no more be a thing that only chain hotels do.

  1. Management dashboards and reports for decision making

A single-view approach to take stock of all operational data is surely ruling the roost and will continue to do so in the near future. Fully customizable reports with intricate filters will also be inevitable for hoteliers to stay on top of their game.

  1. Refined marketing communication to guests- With guest data being as easily available, extreme personalization in marketing communication is but a matter of time. And the year to come promises to see a breakthrough in how hotels approach their guests, whether prospective or otherwise.

AI and Predictive Analytics – Dependency on technology with Recommendation Engines to increase in 2019

Our prediction for 2018 was…

Investing in the right kind of technology in the hospitality industry will help you to be prepared and improve a hotel’s management in all aspects. For e.g. any hotel that includes multiple POS outlets needs to focus on providing a personalized service to their guests. This will ensure you have a higher chance of getting repeat customers. Any data that helps you to understand a guests’ preference is considered to be the best use of data. Guests are interested in knowing about the choices relevant to them rather than looking at a plethora of choices. Technology will be helpful to suggest which guest is suitable for any specific promotion, offers, and discounts. Usage of this information gives a holistic view of  the customer’s requirements.

How this will shape up in 2019…

In an earlier blog, we had discussed how big data can help hoteliers increase hotel revenue. While this will still hold true for the coming future, recommendation engines will also gain more popularity in the hospitality space, as they have in the retail industry.

Recommendation engines can play a huge role in generating more non-room revenue. Think of how if you were to buy a phone on Amazon, you get recommendations of a phone cover, headphones, etc. And I know I have been convinced to add a few more items in my cart, thanks to these recommendations!

Similarly, hotels can use this technology to prompt bookers to upgrade to a better room, add services to their booking like a session at the spa, holiday activities, or just about anything at all. With sufficient guest data, one could even personalize these recommendations to suit different demographics, preferences and such.

While on the topic of AI, how can one discount chatbots! Agreed they aren’t really the latest tech trend around, but that does not mean they are irrelevant. Chatbots are still extremely effective in improving customer loyalty, and understandably so. Why make something static and one-sided when it can be dynamic and interactive.

Chatbots are super-efficient in building pre-arrival guest experience. Instead of expecting the guest to make a booking on a “flat” web booking engine page, you could get your chatbot to ask details like, “So when you plan to arrive at *Hotel Name*?” or “How long do you plan on staying with us?” and so on. Imagine the impact that such personalized interactions will have on your guest loyalty!

Virtual and augmented Reality- High chances of Virtual hotel bookings gaining popularity in 2019

Our prediction for 2018 was…

Hoteliers, marketers, advertisers have been struggling to grab the attention of customers in this competitive market. This is when virtual reality brings a massive change to the way properties are advertised and customers are informed. This is going beyond images, text, and audio-visual ads. You can use virtual reality to give the guest a view of the conference room, amenities, guest rooms and even offer a quick trip to interesting locations nearby. Virtual reality for the hotel industry allows guests to make better decisions by knowing what to expect during their stay. It’s important to use this technology to tell an engaging story to ensure guests enjoy the experience and give preference to your hotel over others.

How this will shape up in 2019…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_VxlcdP0Kk – future of hospitality

With travel bookings already taking the VR route, it isn’t a distant dream for the hospitality industry to follow suit. Technology has thrown open the doors to the future where you can experience hotels to such an extent that you can visit rooms, pick one and also try different chairs and take a pick on which one suits you the best! With all this possible, it is no surprise that you can also make a virtual booking. While we cannot forecast just how wildly successful this will be in 2019, it is definitely bound to take shape.

Robotics- Lessons to be learned from Japan

Our prediction for 2018 was…

Some leading names in the hotel industry have already started deploying robots. These are useful in various departments such as to play the role of a virtual concierge or even at the front desk. The fascination of robotics continues this year as this largely brings down costs and offers service 24X7. The interaction between the robot and the guests assists hoteliers to analyze cognitive behavior to understand guests’ preference, and more.

How this will shape up in 2019…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmt6OCBeS94

It is no news that Japan lives in the future. While the rest of the world still grapples with contemporary real-world issues like “how do I train my staff better” or “How am I going to deal with the lull after the holiday season”, Japan is showing us how the future of hospitality could look!

Chain hotels, the world over, have begun experimenting with robotics in different areas of their operations. Either as a concierge, or with the front desk, check out how Sheraton Los Angeles is using robotics in their hotel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsXRfZPo3Mw

When it comes to Hotel Technology Trends, now’s the time

For over a decade now, technology has been revolutionizing the way the hospitality industry operates at a rapid pace. Yes, we have come a long way since the ‘booking register” days or even MS excel days, but there is still a long way to go before the industry can claim to be tech-driven. The transition needs to happen soon for hoteliers to unleash the real potential that lies on the other side of tech adoption. The pace at which you adopt could be specific to your business needs and there is no doubt that there is something for everyone here.  Here are a few other technology trends that will continue to rule the roost even in the near future:

  1. Blockchain: Since the last time we approached this topic, there has been a lot of evolution. It does have a lot to offer but when it comes to practical application, the industry is yet to come to a consensus. Data security is definitely guaranteed, but again there are several other applications too.
  2. Going Mobile: A lot has been said about the benefits of mobile hotel app, but it still continues to be relevant to the hospitality industry. The progression of mobile apps is more likely to be towards enabling and empowering guests as well as staff to confidently approach ‘self-service’ options.
  3. Biometrics: Following the successful application of this trend across many industries, hospitality will also be embracing biometrics and recognition technology, paving way for better, faster efficiency along with unmatched accuracy. You can count on this trend for simplifying check-in & check-out as well as for expediting billing process, improve hotel’s surveillance & security, staff management and so much more!
  4. Customization and Personalization: There is no denying the validity of this trend in the hospitality industry. Nothing is as powerful as personalized service. Right from open APIs allowing more technological customization to targeted and customized marketing initiatives, to hyper-personalized guest experiences, the options are as limitless as the possibilities.
  5. Integrations: When the best-in-class systems come together, your PMS becomes invincible. The myth that a reservation system alone is capable of managing a hotel is soon dissolving. Hoteliers are waking up to the real potential of a cloud-based property management system that allows multiple integrations- be it to manage your revenue, accounting, online reputation, marketing automation, etc. Holistic property management has never been this seamless and this trend is only going to get better with time!

There you go! You are now fully equipped with everything we feel will prepare you for the year ahead. You have seen what worked in 2018 and also how to maneuver through them here on.

Is there any other trend that you feel will rule the roost in 2019? Feel free to write into us and we will add it to our list, so the hospitality fraternity can benefit from it.

Here’s wishing a year of greatness and success. May your property flourish with absolute efficiency, great guest reviews and multiplied revenues! If at any point any of these start to threaten your peace, reach out to Hotelogix. We will make this happen! As a gesture, in this season of giving, you could stand a chance at winning a free Channel Manager. Just sign up for a quick demo and find out.

 

 

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