Mobility, digital guest experience, hotel Wifi, IoT connectivity and security: key pillars identified in the recent survey among international hotel operators
The Hospitality industry is facing rapid changes in technology driven by guest expectations. Which technologies take the lion’s share in investments? What about trends such as hotel Wi-Fi, IoT, artificial intelligence, analytics, location-based services and voice control devices? To meet new needs, hotels are moving towards digital transformation and put hyper-focus on three areas: mobility, digital customer engagement and connectivity.
In 2018, we discussed digital transformation with our hospitality customers: at events, customer meetings and through an in-depth survey on their digital transformation. The purpose of this survey is to better understand the challenges and trends that will affect hoteliers in the future.
What are the current trends in hotel technology?
As brands identify the best ways for their organizations to respond to the explosion of mobility, wifi connectivity and digital engagement, priorities are shifting to put greater emphasis - and investment - in security, networks and analytics. The multitude of connected devices isn’t only limited to those brought by guests, but also includes those involved in room automation or security such as video protection systems and temperature or access sensors. The growth of connected objects and the traffic generated create a new complexity that can be managed by IoT containment.
Analytics offer a real opportunity for hotels: the ability to use data instantly to offer location based services or to control the room environment. The integration of artificial intelligence with guest applications and in-room automation opens new possibilities for hoteliers to offer a unified and omni-channel customer experience. It was the case with Jeju Shinwha World in Korea that not only uses room automation to personalize the in-room guest experience, but also an IoT Hub behind the entire solution to gather data from all the hotel connected objects.
In terms of Connectivity, innovators identify guest Wifi, CRM/loyalty and customer-facing mobile apps as top investments for digital transformation. Hotel Wi-Fi has specific constraints of design and performance, which is why Wi-Fi access points adapted for rooms, common and outdoor indoor spaces are necessary, as well as securing guest data when they are connected. The implementation of a secure guest Wi-Fi infrastructure will quickly pay for itself with the addition of new services such as location-based marketing or voice-activated eConcierges.
The last few years have been highlighted by the return of smart rooms in the hotel industry. With more guests having voice activated systems like Google Home or Alexa to control systems in their own homes, hotels are finding it necessary to implement these same technologies to provide a ‘wow’ factor and a frictionless guest experience. For this reason, we have integrated an eConcierge with voice command into our solutions (Rainbow CPaaS and room stations). You can see it in the HITEC 2018 overview below.
In 2018, hotels are giving priority to mobile and customized services and communications to drive customer experiences! Thanks to open APIs, customer mobile apps can be integrated into the hotel ecosystem to provide advanced features such as AI integration, interactive kiosks, voice recognition and hotel management systems. An end-to-end solution that enable digital collaboration between guests, teams and partners’ ecosystems with audio/video calls and screen sharing for staff and all stakeholders, via audio/video calls, chat and screen sharing. Such integration between all actors creates endless opportunities.
Outlook and challenges for 2020
By 2020, the hotel industry will undergo rapid and wide expansion with technology. The market will become extremely competitive as brands are seeking guest attention in many of the same ways.
Laggards will develop hotel guest wifi systems, CRM/Loyalty and mobile and guest mobile apps, whereas leaders will distinguish themselves with analytics and taking personalization even farther with location-based technologies and Omni-channel experiences. Most of the digital engagement leaders (88%) will have location-based systems in place by 2020 and 45% of all hotels expect to have a first Artificial Intelligence and voice command system by 2020.
However, hotels will face several challenges and problems. For 51% of hotels, two issues are emerging: integration with existing infrastructure and security concerns. These appeared, by far, as the main challenges besides network overload. Indeed, by 2020, hoteliers feel that 73% of networks will be strained by guest streaming content.
Exponential growth of technology will bring opportunities for hotels engaged in digital evolution, but it will require strategic and thoughtful technological applications to meet both customer expectations and operational requirements.
The Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Hospitality Digital Transformation Report is based on a survey of global hotel operators, that directly impact 15,762 units. This sample includes diversity of property types from across the marketplace and range of revenue tiers.
Find out how to move beyond digital transformation and stand out from the competition with the results of the full survey.