We’ve come a long way from the days of entering a hotel room using a conventional key. While there are still properties – particularly budget ones – that use deadbolt locks and other low-tech solutions, the majority of hotels on the market use at least a punched card key and newer technologies.
In fact, technology has been transforming the hotel business a lot these past few years. Gadgets and new solutions are changing how we interact with amenities in a hotel and holiday properties. What are the top technologies with the biggest impact? Let’s find out!
Integrated Hotel Management System
The biggest technological advancement in the hotel industry is actually related more to the software that hotels use rather than the gadgets available in the property. Newer hotel management solutions now run in the cloud and offer better features that benefit both hotel management and guests.
With the hotel management system running in the cloud, hotel chains can manage multiple properties with ease. Loyalty programs can be more comprehensive, and the solutions can even include endpoints such as the on-site restaurant and clubs using cloud-based Point of Sale systems.
There are also online travel agents making it easy for us guests to find rooms. Through APIs and other connectivity options, online travel agents can get information about room availability, best prices, and special deals in real-time. Even booking directly on the hotel chain’s website is now easy.
Smooth User Experience
The use of an integrated hotel management system brings one major change to user experience: everything is smoother and more seamless today. Instead of manually entering your personal details, the front desk officer can find your data in the cloud and check you in within seconds.
Card keys are generated faster too. The keys now hold more information such as the duration of your stay and the facilities you have access to. You can use the keys to go to the pool or access your free breakfast in the morning, all for the purpose of streamlining guest experience.
There is also the on-site wireless network, which usually requires you to log in before every use. Now you can use your room number and last name as the username and password for the wireless network, and you only need to log in once to use the network continuously.
Mesh Wi-Fi Network
Speaking of on-site wireless networks, more hotels now use a mesh Wi-Fi network for better reliability. We all remember the old days when finding Wi-Fi signal in the room or near the pool was difficult due to the use of a single access point. Those days are clearly gone.
Modern hotels take advantage of faster Wi-Fi mesh for seamless and more reliable wireless connectivity. The mesh uses a single SSID, so we are back with the single login setup we discussed earlier. Your device will move from one AP to the next without dropping connectivity.
Additional features based on this technology are also available. IP-based streaming TV is becoming more common (as opposed to ordinary cable) and hotels can now stream premium movies and contents to select guests if they choose to do so.
We really can’t talk about hotel gadgets and technologies without talking about smart TVs. They certainly take in-room entertainment to a whole new level. You no longer have to bring your own HDMI cable or go through the trouble of plugging it in to watch your own videos and content.
Smart TVs are accessible wirelessly. You can stream TV series from Netflix or Amazon Prime using nothing but your phone or your laptop. As long as you are connected to the hotel network, you have the option to cast your device’s screen and watch your favorite movies in high-definition.
We are also seeing early implementations of gaming in hotels, also thanks to the use of smart TVs. Guests, especially families traveling with children, can stream console games and play with real controllers without having to have the game console installed in the room.
Wireless connectivity isn’t the only thing hotels are now implementing across their properties. We are also seeing a huge increase in hotels providing high-speed internet to guests. This isn’t a surprising decision at all; high-speed internet is more of a necessity than an option or luxury.
Interestingly, fewer hotels now charge a premium for their high-speed internet connectivity. Instead, the feature is offered as a standard to all guests, which is a shift towards the right direction. With more bandwidth available, guests can work, watch videos, and do other tasks in a more convenient way.
High-speed internet is also beneficial for the hotels themselves. They can use cloud-based hotel management systems more seamlessly and even upload promotional materials or provide guests with online customer support seamlessly.
Advanced Climate Control
My personal favorite is the advanced climate control devices that hotels now use to pamper guests to the max. Before we get to climate control, however, it is important to note how hotel chains are putting more emphasis on eco-friendliness these past few years.
When a hotel chain decides to build a hotel, it takes energy efficiency seriously. This is why newer properties are designed from the ground up to be energy efficient, including through the use of specific features such as UV-resistant windows and large green areas.
Eco-friendly buildings are more expensive to build, but financial institutions such as Assets America are showing support for eco-friendliness, including for properties with their own solar panels or energy-efficient windows.
The in-room climate control system benefits from these features. It can now control the interior climate without consuming more energy. In fact, you can use the in-room control display to dial the exact temperature you want in a very detailed way.
These new technologies are only the beginning; that’s actually the most exciting thing about seeing hotel technologies. More technologies are entering the industry and it will be interesting to see how they affect the lives of hotel guests and how hotels do business. I wouldn’t be surprised to see virtual concierge and hyperconnected rooms becoming more common in the near future.