HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

January FOCUS: Mobile Technology

 
January, 2020

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.


This month's feature articles...

Alexander Shashou

If you polled 100 different people asking for their definition of hospitality, chances are that you would get 100 different answers. However, many of them would directly or indirectly mention safety, comfort and feeling well cared for. Hotels can spend time focusing on impressing their guests with exciting offerings from guest-facing mobile technology to new and exciting experiences, but the basic hospitality needs of hotel guests still need to be met. Providing hotel staff with mobile technology, especially housekeeping software, is one way for hotels to efficiently and seamlessly provide exceptional hospitality. READ MORE

Megan Pope

The modern traveler is accustomed to streamlined self-service throughout most steps of their journey. The breakdown happens when they arrive at their hotel and have to wait in line to check-in and get their room key. Fortunately, technology has made it possible for hoteliers to streamline and expedite guest check-in by automating the process with mobile technology. As mobile technology continues to gain traction, guests are increasingly demanding access to the self-service experience they're accustomed to in the airline and ride share sectors of the travel industry. For these reasons and many more, mobile check-in is set to be hospitality's biggest trend in 2020. READ MORE

Katerina Berezina

Some customers are digital natives, inclined to do everything on their phones, including their interactions with hotels, e.g., selecting a hotel, booking a room, setting up their customer account, texting the hotel before arrival, and using their smartphone as a key. However, there is also a group of consumers who would choose a hotel based on a billboard advertising or a printed catalog, who would call the hotel to make a reservation, and would ask to cut a key for them upon arrival. Therefore, hotels need to manage their efforts of technology adoption in such a way to serve the whole spectrum of customer groups. READ MORE

Ajay Aluri

Mobile technology has existed since the 80s, but it was not until late 2000s that it reached the mainstream consumer. Since then, mobile technology has become much smarter, drastically changing the way consumers use it on a daily-basis and reshaping the way they search and make purchase decisions. From eCommerce to the sharing economy, from Facebook to TikTok, and from texting to virtual assistance, mobile technology has reframed the world consumers inhabit. The next evolution of mobile technology is capable of changing our immediate surroundings with applications that offer interactive and immersive experiences that merge real-life and virtual worlds. It is time that the hotel industry start exploring these applications, that is, Augmented Reality (AR) technology. READ MORE

Adam Gillespie

It is no exaggeration to say that technology is advancing so rapidly that it is often difficult to keep up with the changes. Year after year, one area in which this is apparent is within the hospitality industry, as more hotel brands respond to the needs and requirements of discerning customers who expect an experience that fits their modern lifestyles and expectations. Many market leaders have responded well, with new and exciting innovations, while others lag behind. As we approach the start of a new decade, take a brief insight into where hotel technology stands at the moment, along with some suggestions as to what we might expect to see in our hotel rooms for 2020 and beyond. READ MORE

Andrada Paraschiv

With a long tradition in service excellence, razor-thin, cyclical margins, and a complex ownership/management structure, hospitality has been slow at adopting technology. Today, hospitality companies must embrace new advancements in technology, if they want to remain competitive. Guests and employees expect the same level of digitalization in a property, which they've become accustomed to in their private lives. To adopt technology that sticks and adds value to the organization, there are a few things hoteliers need to consider: return on investment, making sure the technology stack combines into a cohesive ecosystem, have a strong employee adoption strategy and finally have the ability to measure success. READ MORE

Ted  Horner

Consumers have embraced voice technology with a high adoption rate in homes in the USA. The end result is that hotels moving forward are seriously looking at this technology. In a recent study of technology investments in 2019 30% of hotels stated they were going to invest in voice technology in 2020. With more than 100 Hotels having made the investment to date the feedback is that the technology is driving new revenues by making guests aware of, and removing the friction to engage with, high margin amenities and services. READ MORE

Robert Rauch

Hoteliers can leave no stone unturned in this extremely competitive business environment, and a key weapon in our arsenal is technology. Mobile technology, in particular, is in a constant state of flux and continuously unlocking new opportunities to boost marketing efforts and improve the guest's experience. There are a few exciting advances in mobile tech that hoteliers can look forward to employing as mobile and 5G come together. Though as these innovations develop, it's important to take a step back and recognize how users from different generations will perceive and interact with these new marketing tools. READ MORE

Richard Walsh

How are hotels responding to the daily challenges of the escalating evolution of tech services for their properties and more specific for in-room convenience that is becoming an expectation by their guests? In-Room Technology has become a critical issue for all hotels and there is no one answer for all hotels. The evolving changes in guest expectations and tech service selections confronting hoteliers today will continue to escalate and to continue the hotels will have to implement in-room technology services same as they did in the past with air conditioning, television, phones, digital keys and more. READ MORE

Joe Schwinger

For hoteliers, meeting planners are a crucial audience. Planners have the power to direct hundreds of guests to a hotel, often for several events a year. To attract planners (and their business), it's important that hoteliers understand their needs and expectations - especially when it comes to technology. Here, MeetingPlay CEO Joe Schwinger shares some insight into event technology trends in 2020 so you can better prepare your hotel for meeting planners' evolving expectations. READ MORE

Frank  Vertolli

An evolving array of tools and services led by smartphones is fueling the modern travel experience. From pre-trip dreaming and planning, booking and the travel experience, to the post-trip journey home and sharing, mobile technology plays a pivotal role in modern tourism. Start to finish, all of these touch points represent opportunities where travel suppliers and service providers can build brand awareness, enhance engagement, and add value for users. By leveraging evolving mobile technologies, the travel and tourism industry can continue to place the focus on creating an enhanced guest experience, prioritizing specific needs and desires to ensure the traveler's experience exceeds their expectations. READ MORE

Tracy Ford

Robust indoor wireless networks are enabling building owners and managers to employ technology and applications that allow their staff and systems to be more efficient. These applications include automated systems that monitor and control various environments within the building, including security systems, housekeeping and maintenance functions. Citizens Broadband Radio Service spectrum has recently made available by the Federal Communications Commission in a novel shared approach that could prove advantageous for hotels. CBRS spectrum can facilitate private back-of-house communications for staff using private LTE spectrum that has all the advantages of cellular with the ease of deployment that Wi-Fi offers. READ MORE

Tim Peter

Is your hotel mobile-ready? Mobile-first? Mobile-native? Well, brace yourself, more changes are coming. Just when you thought that you were getting the hang of using mobile to drive interest and action among guests, your customers have started using mobile in wholly new ways. And these behavioral changes represent "the new, new thing" for mobile marketing and distribution. What is the change? An increasing use of voice among guests when they search and interact with information in mobile situations. Voice already plays a key role in travel sales and marketing. Here's how to make sure voice plays that role for you. READ MORE

Gustaaf Schrils

Chatbots and voice assistants. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. And, Natural Language Processing? What possibly could these have to do with serving guests in a hotel? It's the ultimate Sci-Fi question: can humans and machines not only coexist but blend into a single entity. It's time we take our humanity and cobble on some AI and ML, mix it with a dash of NLP and top it off with some Deep Learning and punch out a robust, not robot, service initiative to enhance guest satisfaction and the bottom line. READ MORE

Court Williams

With mobile technology gaining ground almost daily, the hotel industry is under pressure to keep up with guests' expectations. Recent research shows 65 percent of guests would pay more for hotels that offer the mobile technology they consider essential. Fulfilling these wishes requires hotel companies and chains to make significant investments in hardware, software, staff recruitment, and training. Hotel management also faces the challenge of ensuring that their back-end systems and procedures are capable of meeting the risks and vulnerabilities that accompany the shift to mobile technology. Biometric authentication offers the opportunity for hotels to address these risks using the latest in technological advancements. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2022...

Hotel Spa: Now More Than Ever


In the aftermath of the global health crisis, there is a newfound appreciation for the need to be fit - both in body and mind - and hotels that provide a spa or wellness clinic will reap the rewards. What are clients seeking? Better health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness. It is no longer sufficient for spas to only offer massages or facials; clients are demanding more for the benefit of their overall well-being. For example, a medical spa might offer services such as botox, dermal fillers, body sculpting, and microdermabrasion. Other spas are emphasizing the importance of preventative therapeutics and are using technologies such as body scanners to evaluate their clients' health. Some spas are enlisting osteopaths, naturopaths, fitness coaches, yoga masters, even psychologists, to promote vitality, stress management, and emotional balance. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these and other advancements, and document how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.