The top 5 hotel tech trends disrupting the sector right now

From 2012 to May 2022, the hotel and hostels sector pulled in $7.6 billion in investment. This makes it the most well-funded vertical in travel in 2022. Hot on its heels: short term rentals. New dynamic brands and technologies in this space have attracted warranted attention, with public debuts and tech startups scaling at pace. Much has been written about the merging of these two accommodation sectors, including the benefits which come from how these different categories might learn from each other.

Has the hotel sector been taking note of the tech innovations in short term rentals? It certainly seems that past hesitancy from hoteliers to adopt technology is at last ebbing away – 78% will increase their investment in tech in the next three years. Hotels and hotel brands are increasingly leaning on solutions to get in line with their competitors and to support recovery after a 1% decline in business globally.

So, where are we today, and what’s to come? Let’s take a closer look at how tech is currently shaping the hotel industry.

5 hotel tech trends disrupting the sector

1. AI & guest communication

Guests have, rightly so, been at the forefront of almost every major hospitality tech trend in recent years. The focus is to maximize the guest experience for brand loyalty, five-star feedback, and increased bookings. We’ve seen technology for everything from welcome books to guest communication.

The latter uses AI technology, which massively reduces reliance on customer service calls while improving feedback time to guests. It means guests with simple, common queries such as ‘what time is check out?’ receive instant resolutions, freeing up customer services to respond quickly to more urgent or complex requirements. This type of tech will continue to evolve and enhance the guest experience to the benefit of hotels as they compete with other accommodations.

2. Digital check-in

Many hotels now offer guests a digital check-in service, removing the need for the front desk with keyless access to rooms. Instead of a physical key, guests can use their phones or a pre-arranged keycode to gain entry – streamlining their experience as well as hotel operations.

To achieve this, hotels (of all sizes) have been integrating smart lock solutions throughout their buildings, including front entrances, communal rooms (like gyms), and for each room’s door. Hotel managers are realizing that they can bring the human touch to the guest experience in other ways than greeting their customers at the front desk. From ‘surprise and delight’ tactics to in-room multimedia, there’s a whole menu of options on offer to hotels to up the experience for guests.

3. Pricing and payments

Reliance on revenue management systems is increasing. Pricing solutions are designed to automatically react to changes in order to optimize booking prices, meaning hoteliers can make the most profit out of every situation. This hospitality tech is especially relevant now the industry is facing the oncoming challenges of rising costs in a challenging economic climate. Spreadsheets just don’t cut it anymore.

Payments are also becoming digitized. Technology has changed how we all shop and spend with businesses, from contactless payments to mobile wallets and now biometric authentication. Hotels, along with others in the accommodation industry, use secure authentication systems such as Stripe when gathering deposits during the booking process.

4. Amenities for working from anywhere

Now that remote working is becoming commonplace, and work policies are reflecting this, we’re seeing even more guest stays driven by those living a digital nomad lifestyle. Amadeus predicts this trend to continue into 2023, especially since governments around the world are beginning to adjust visa schemes to incentivize extended-stay travelers.

The research also predicts that as workers hop from accommodation to accommodation, travelers will be taking less with them. In a bid to encourage this, hotels have already started offering extra amenities, such as hirable gym wear. Hilton has gone one step further and partnered with Peleton, so that guests can access tech-powered equipment during their stay to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on the road. This also feeds into the ongoing wellness travel trend.

5. Sustainability

Economic pressures continue to drive the sustainability trend in all accommodation sectors. Hotels are now following in the footsteps of short term rentals and multifamily properties by installing energy-efficient technologies, such as smart thermostats, to help combat rising costs. These solutions support hotels to reduce costs while also being environmentally conscious – an appealing factor many travelers now actively look for when booking accommodation.

There’s also a rising demand for technology that helps hotels reduce food waste. The Winnow AI system, for example, monitors food wasted or saved and calculates real-time data so hotels can make smarter decisions. Earlier this year, Iberostar installed this tech in five of its hotels and are already seeing savings of 618,000 meals per year. This is a significant step towards their goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Hotel brands choosing to harness tech to appeal to more guests, reduce operational costs, and increase sustainability, will be the ones to succeed in 2023. Top tech trends, such as AI guest communication, digital check-ins, payment systems, working from anywhere, and wellness tech, are currently driving the industry. But over the next few months, even as hoteliers weather challenging economic storms, we can expect to see even more tech dominating the hotel landscape.

Are you a hotel tech company looking to build your reputation? Is your tech brand ready to take the next step and up its game? Book a call with us today to discuss how we can work together.

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