Technological advances have transformed all areas of our lives – and the hospitality industry is no exception. While some may worry that improved tech will make hotel stays and vacations feel less personalized, the opposite will be true. Technology will instead allow industry professionals to make each experience individualized. Plus, every guest will receive better service, thanks to improved devices and software.
First of all, hotel guests can expect to interact with AI in a multitude of ways. This hospitality technology has been in service for a while, of course, but hotels have found ways to make it even more helpful to guests. Take Hilton’s AI concierge Connie, for example. The robot relies on Watson technology from IBM to provide guests with suggestions of local tourist attractions and restaurants. She can also wax-poetic about the hotel’s specific features and amenities.
On top of that, AI technology can help front desk staff work through a long line by checking guests into their rooms. The bots can also order room service, should your customers prefer a more discreet way of doing so. All of this lessens the load on a hotel’s human staff, which means they can spend more time with customers who want face-to-face service.
Voice and Facial Recognition
Technology like Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant makes your home life simpler. You can ask the device for the weather or request that she play the song stuck in your head. Now, hotels hope to adopt the same technology to make their rooms customizable to you.
Alexa for Hospitality, for one, promises to bring the concierge to guests while they relax in the comfort of their rooms. She’ll also be able to adjust the room’s lighting, order fresh towels, help with checkout, and perhaps even report maintenance issues.
Another exciting addition to your next hotel stay might be facial recognition. In some instances, it’ll be similar to the concierge bots described above – facial recognition will scan you and check you into your room. But this hospitality technology can also be useful throughout the hotel, re-issuing a lost key or checking you into breakfast each morning, no staffer required. Again, this frees up staff members to provide the personal service customers seek at the front desk or on the phone.
Fortunately for those who work and travel, connectivity will be better than ever before. You have long been able to remotely access your work computer, of course, as most hotels offer free or low-cost Wi-Fi access. Now, though, you can expect seamless connectivity, from the airport to the plane to the front doors of your hotel.
Eighty-two different airlines now offer onboard Wi-Fi, a boost of 17 percent since 2017. It’s a lucrative business for airlines, too – most charge for access, and the industry expects to rake in billions from the service.
Cruising Through Security
Of course, not all vacations require you to hop on a plane or stay in a hotel – you might also find yourself boarding a cruise ship and setting sail. For one thing, Carnival Cruise Line has begun adding 3D X-ray scanners to its ports in an attempt to snag more contraband from suitcases as customers board. Of course, these thorough security checks will give you greater peace of mind as a passenger, too.
But cruises have more tech-related advancements up their sleeves. For starters, cruise line apps will give you the opportunity to order drinks, book daily activities, and make special requests with just your phone in hand. On top of that, you might have access to a wearable device that tells the cruise line where you are at all times. It’s a good thing safety-wise, and it can also make food and drink ordering easier. Once your plate is prepared, the server can find you at your exact location.
Cruise lines are using this same hospitality technology to cut the time to board at ports, too – some companies say they’ve shortened the process from an hour to 10 minutes. All these advancements come from common customer suggestions and complaints, so there will undoubtedly be more additions to this lineup in the future.
If you’re loyal to a particular hotel chain, this is great news: more and more brands have come up with an IoT platform to make your stay personal every time you check in. To that end, check-in might require a tap of your smartphone. You might eventually be able to open your hotel room door with the device, too.
Once inside, the IoT technology will adjust your room to your predetermined preferences. That includes your go-to temperature, lighting levels, and perhaps a bit of music, too. High-end hotels have already started rolling out this personalization technology, so expect it to expand into other chains soon.
Sweeten Your Stay
Now, it should be clear that technology will only improve your future hotel, cruise, and airline experiences. So, be on the lookout for these and other tech-savvy swaps that make it all easier and, better yet, customized to you. We think you’ll be pleased with the upgrade.