The Hotel of the Future
Date Posted: 04/24/2017
Hotels today are spending as much time, effort and resources on technology and improving their internal networks as they are on the quality of their linen, food and service.
The hotel of the future will employ many fewer staff as automation takes over. A recent article in the Financial Times illustrates this by pointing out that at Bloc, the newest 245 rooms hotel at Gatwick airport, only 2 members of staff are normally on duty.
It seems that every week a new tablet device is launched or a new robot is being introduced to do the work of a person. While some hotels have simply added Kindle rentals to their amenity checklist, others have gone above and beyond in terms of incorporating modern technologies into every day hospitality.
It will be all about technology in the hotel of the future.
Room Selection and Personalization
Industry experts agree that the hotel of the future will be completely personalized. Systems will track a hotel’s room inventory and give guests information about what is available in each room so they can choose just the right configuration. Taken a step further, guests will be able to specify what they want in a room: from the height of the desk, chair and bathroom mirror to the firmness of the mattress to room temperature. All of these will be customized to each guest’s preference when they make their booking.
Front Desk-Less & Keyless Entry
The hotel of the future will be without a front desk. The room number will be sent via text to the guest’s mobile device on the day of a planned stay with a barcode that unlocks the door. Once at the hotel, the guest can skip the check-in and go straight to his/her assigned room and unlock the door with the barcode. Not only is this a solution to guests losing their keys, it also prevents serious security risks that come with magnetic key strips that store personal information. And without keys to return, guests can check out using their phones.
The Virtual Concierge
Once in the room, the guest receives a message on an iPad, TV, or on the touch-sensitive tablet walls that display text and graphics and which becomes their 24-hour virtual concierge. At the touch of a button, guests can make reservations in a restaurant; order a spa treatment or get a golf tee-off time. The device will also be used to order room service, get a wake-up call, check on local events and attractions, etc. Adjusting lighting, temperature and music will also be a steal.
Secure, reliable and scalable Wi-Fi connections throughout
Wi-Fi is now a deciding factor for most travellers in determining where they stay. Wi-Fi access needs to be easy, reliable, fast and secure. The hotel of the future will package Wi-Fi in tiers to accommodate someone who just wants to check email and the news, as well as to accommodate the person who wants to run multiple videos and audio streams into his/her room.
Interactive TVs are falling into hotels’ must-have category. These enable guests to sync up their mobile devices with the TV to actually customise their own content on the in-room flat screens. Basically, guests will expect the tech in hotels to be the same as they have at home, including access to their own content library while on the road.
The Ultimate Blow Dry
Don’t expect a stack of fluffy, white towels to be waiting in the bathroom in the hotel of the future. Head-to-toe body dryers will take their place. This is great news for the environment, as millions and millions of gallons of water are used every day to wash hotel towels, not to mention the electricity, detergent and labour that is also required.
With global warming, energy efficiency is important. Future hotels will have room sensors that detect when people are in the room and when they are not. When the room is empty, hotel room settings will adjust – from lighting to cooling – to make sure that the hotel is not wasting energy and dollars.
Smart cards or similar pieces of plastic embedded with microchips will be used by hotels to personalize the guest experience, from checking them into the hotel automatically to remembering each guest’s preferences (some guests always want a king-sized bed or a non-smoking room, etc.)
Service in future hotels may not necessarily be performed by humans. Food and drinks could be dispensed by machines or robots, rooms could be cleaned by built-in vacuum and disinfecting systems, and a quick back-and-foot massage could be provided by a robotic apparatus.
Hotel rooms equipped with molecular nanotechnology will deliver customized rooms that transform themselves to the customers’ liking. Want a king-sized bed with a sofa, or prefer a single bed and desk? On the more immediate horizon, the technology promises scratch-resistant furniture, self-cleaning coated glass, upholstery that stays clean, and windows that filter UV/IR light.
So far, the technology is limited but anything is possible today. The new technology will be a boon for hoteliers as well as business travellers who like to go directly to their room which has all the right things, such as: sound proof walls and doors; good ventilation; a comfortable bed; good blackout curtains and a full set of amenities in the washroom where all appliances work using a smart phone.
In the past, consumers looked for a hotel with a clean room, a hot shower and a comfortable bed. Today’s hotel customer is looking for a new level of comfort and convenience that only technology can provide. The reduced number of staff the hotel of the future will need will have to be the best. Staff who are engaging, efficient and savvy. Staff who understands their guests and what a well-travelled customer is looking for. Finding the best hospitality staff even for hotels of today is not always easy, so why not leave it to Ikon to find the ideal employees for your hotel, restaurant, spa and other outlets. You can trust Ikon’s services and be certain that every detail of the hiring process is maximized in finding you the best candidates.
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