If we had to sum up the trends in hotel tech in 2024 it would be through the three c’s: communication, convenience and choice. Hotels are no longer just places to stay, but intelligent ecosystems that create experiences to remember by treating each guest as an individual, and anticipating their needs before they’ve even expressed them.
It seems very futuristic, but with the right technology integrations it’s not as far-fetched as it may seem. Imagine tailoring the guest experience so much that you don’t just meet, but exceed expectations? And, through local partnerships, your hotel could become the gateway to the city, unlocking opportunities for guests to explore nearby businesses at the click of a button while also booking their stay.
This is how hotels will stay competitive in 2024, with increased loyalty and positive reviews to show for their efforts. Here, we go into more detail on some of the anticipated hotel trends this year.
1. Interactive rooms
Many of us will have experienced fumbling around in a hotel room trying to find the light switch. If you want to watch the TV you have to grab the remote control, and, if the temperature isn’t to your liking, you’ll have to get up and adjust the heating.
These days are becoming a distant memory.
Technology has become so advanced that you can now buy smart mirrors that transform into an electronic display, showcasing the weather, news, and other important or personalised information!
But for those looking to dip their toe into the world of in-room IoT controls, you can always start small.
Being able to dim the lights, shut the blinds, adjust the temperature and control the TV through a smartphone app or voice command will be appreciated by guests because it’s convenient. In a report by Oracle Hospitality and Skift, four in ten guests (43%) expressed an interest in having voice-activated controls for all amenities in their room. In addition, a quarter of guests would like in-room controls that auto-adjust temperature, lighting, and even digital art, based on pre-shared preferences.
Travellers could even be greeted with an in-room tablet that allows them to discover what else is on offer at the hotel – providing an additional revenue through passive upsells – along with local information and recommendations, or maybe even a virtual tour.
Not only does this make for a great guest experience, it’s also operationally efficient. Automatic adjustment of lighting and temperature based on occupancy can lead to a reduction in a business’s carbon footprint, and significant cost savings.
2. Anticipatory hospitality
Employing a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works.
Guests are all individual in their preferences and desires, which is where hyper personalisation comes into play.
Imagine your delight as you walk into your hotel room with the lighting and temperature just as you like it, and the minibar stocked with your favourite drinks.
On the table is a tablet showcasing local restaurants, attractions and experiences that make you think “‘wow, this is so me! I’d love that”.
AI-driven chatbots and concierge services can do just that, becoming the ‘invisible butler’ of your hospitality operation.
Of course, nothing can really replace human interaction, but it’s all about building an emotional connection with visitors through different means.
Another thing we expect to see happening this year are hotels moving towards e-commerce style websites. Hotels tend to bundle popular items such as spa treatments and dinners into packages, but guests increasingly want flexible options. By unbundling services, guests have the choice to customise their own trip, just the way they want it.
3. Partnerships with local businesses
A report by Hilton highlights how almost half of all guests (49%) actively look to become immersed in local cultures and products while travelling. This goes hand in hand with the rise of the ‘bleisure’ trend, which is being spearheaded by Gen Z and millennials. A bleisure trip is one undertaken primarily for business purposes, but with the addition of leisure activities, providing individuals a chance to explore new destinations.
This trend offers hotels the chance to create hyperlocal partnerships with local businesses, which unlocks an array of upsell and affiliate marketing opportunities. For example, a hotel could partner with a local museum, offering guests an exclusive discount while earning a commission on every sale.
It is a win-win for both businesses, providing the guest with an authentic experience while boosting the local economy. Highlighting these opportunities at the same time as booking – or via a dedicated guest experience platform – gives them everything at their fingertips, with payment taken automatically using their saved details.
4. Data sentiment analysis
Feedback surveys are great but response rates are low, especially if there’s no incentive involved.
Luckily, there are now advanced tools on the market that aggregate and analyse guest reviews and social media mentions to provide valuable insights into guests’ emotions, preferences and pain points.
AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) can also detect recurring positive and negative keywords, all of which can be used to improve services, personalise communication and enhance the overall experience.
Sentiment analysis can be extended to monitor competitors, allowing hotels to benchmark their performance against industry standards and identify areas where they can outshine.
And, for those wanting to take things a step further, the data can be integrated within certain Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to create a comprehensive profile of each guest. This allows for even more hyper personalisation as hotels start to become attuned to individual desires.
5. Demise of the check-in desk
Many hotels chose to adopt a contactless check-in during the pandemic. Now, guests would much prefer a fully digitised experience, with nearly three-quarters of travellers (73%) wanting to use their mobile device to manage their hotel stay, including checking in and out, paying, ordering food, and more.
Keyless entry and self-service kiosks are now popular, while biometric authentication is still in its infancy. Fingerprint, facial and iris recognition software can help hotels to achieve the highest levels of security, with little chance of a breach or fraud.
The redundancy of the check-in desk gives guests more independence, while reducing wait time and increasing overall efficiency. Of course, many hotels will still have a number of staff on-site, but their time becomes freed up to provide more personalised communication and address specific guest needs, rather than routine check-in and check-out procedures.
Forgoing keycards also aligns with the industry’s increasing focus on sustainability by reducing paper usage and the need for physical infrastructure.
6. API-first systems
One-size-fits-all property management systems (PMS) no longer suffice. Many legacy systems have limited customisation options and will charge clients for integrations, which leaves operators struggling to keep up with evolving demands.
API-first systems are created with the flexibility and freedom for hotels to ‘plug in and play’, with integrations able to effortlessly share information with one another. Operators can add or remove features whenever they like, driving an unparalleled guest experience.
This agility allows hotels to adapt quickly to emerging technologies and market trends, creating a future-proof foundation for continued innovation.
7. Frictionless digital experience
Offering a frictionless digital experience ties together a few different points in this blog.
Every touch point needs to be streamlined and as smooth as possible for the guest, from the booking and check-in to the departure.
This experience may include:
- Making a reservation via a mobile-first direct booking engine
- Invisible payments
- Keyless entry or self-service kiosk
- In-rental IoT controls
- 24/7 digital concierge service
Invisible payments, in particular, are becoming a convenient way for guests to save their payment information securely upon booking or check-in. Subsequent charges for bookable amenities or ancillary services are automatically deducted without further need for cards or interaction, which is likely to increase revenue, especially if they’re personalised too.
About Abode Worldwide
Abode Worldwide is a global public relations agency on a mission to supercharge the authority of the tech pioneers, transforming the way we work, rest, and play.
As trusted partners to our clients, we help them build influence and gain market share across the multifamily, hospitality and living real estate sectors. Our cut-through public relations approach with unique industry partnerships, in-depth sector insight, and worldwide reach means we are best placed to supercharge your brand.
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