ITB 2019 Special Reporting
The Challenge: Finding Out How Much Technology Your Guests Actually Want
By Beachwood Custom
Monday, 7th January 2019

The recent shifts in what a consumer expects from their travel and hotel experience have forced hotel operators to rethink all aspects of their hotels, add to that the emergence of online travel agents, travel apps, and room sharing services, and the need has become more urgent for hoteliers to incorporate new and emerging technologies to stay competitive and maintain the interests of guests.

As hotels begin to pioneer the development of coworking spaces and robots into their design and processes, we take a step back to dissect where the perfect balances lie.

Today’s hotel guest appreciates, and expects, a certain level of customization and technology; but there is still value in the human touch and person-to-person customer experience. CallisonRTKL released their 2017 report on the Hotel of the Future to determine what hotel guests expect from today’s hotel – and what the hotels of the future will look like.

How hotel design has changed from the past to the future

In the past, hotels were used to get away. Guests sought out all-inclusive resorts and bed and breakfasts where they could escape to a faraway place where all the amenities they desired were in one place.

Today’s perception of a desirable hotel stay is drastically different. Rather than seeking out a place to hide away, today’s hotel guests are generally looking to make connections – both with the new town or state they’re visiting and the people in it.

Given the recent hotel tech trends, we expect the hotels of the future to relish in the micro-local environment. They want the convenience and technology that allows them to have a personal and customized experience while enjoying every aspect of their hotel stay. Hotel designs of today should cater to these evolved desires. In a study done by Oracle, 65% of consumers reported that modern hotel designs (smart locks, smart lighting, audience and video streaming) would enhance their experience.

Technology’s role in the traditional hotel meeting room spaces

Hotels of the future should leave no room un-innovated – especially meeting room spaces. The inclusion of digital platforms in hotel meeting rooms will encourage businesses to book their next meeting or event with the venue.

Also, in the Oracle survey, 59% of respondents said that modern hotel designs that included more meeting areas, wall TVs, and gaming lounges would enhance their experience. This may allude to a shift from traditional meeting spaces to ones set in new environments – such as a patio or coffee shop – leveraged with tech like virtual reality and holographic presentations.

The hotel of the future requires the perfect balance of automation and in-person service

To effectively incorporate tech into your hotel involves understanding when your customer needs one-on-one attention and when automation can provide more efficient and seamless service. Creating the right balance will not only revitalize the customer experience but also allow hotel operators to cut cost and maximize staff.

When determining the right balance, convenience reigns supreme, and the proof is in the data. 62% of respondents in the Oracle study said automated recognition using biometrics and facial recognition would enhance their experience. The same can be said for the use of robots. 41% of respondents said robots used for cleaning would enhance their experience while only 33% said that robots serving or greeting guests would have the same effect.

This identifies that while hotel guests don’t mind the use of robots for processes they typically are not involved with, like their room being cleaned, they would still prefer a person to greet or assist them rather than relying on automation. Meaning robots aren’t meant to replace the human experience but supplement them.

How hotel technology plays into the future guestrooms

Again, it’s all about the balance. Hotel guests want tech available exactly when and where appropriate, and nowhere else. Which helps hotel operators determine how to minimize waste (and cost) when necessary. The future of hotel guest rooms will be smaller, with less furniture, but reflect both local flair and the smart hotel convenience.

The Hotel of the Future report found that 59% of consumers want to control room lighting and temperature through voice-activated devices, like Amazon’s Alexa. The number stays consistent from the minds of hotel operators as well. 56% of them said guestroom tech upgrades were a priority.

Where does design come into play with the hotels of the future?

Since 1992, Beachwood Custom has been immersed in the twists and turns of the hospitality industry. Our wide range of experience in design, purchasing, manufacturing, and installation makes us the perfect match for helping hotel customers open a hotel that fits their vision and works with the technology, rather than beside it.

The Beachwood Custom team has been immersed in the hospitality industry since 1992 with a range of experience including design, purchasing, manufacturing and installation – the art of opening a hotel. Our passion is providing bespoke service to three to five-star hotel customers, serving our clients with a combined 100+ years of international experience. We travel the world in search of top quality furniture and finishes to offer the best custom furniture solutions for our boutique and premier hotel clients.

Learn more about how Beachwood Custom uses its expertise in design, purchasing, manufacturing and installation to help hotels worldwide connect with their guests. Contact us today

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