The 3 Technology Trends for Hotels in 2016, You Can’t Afford To Miss

As you probably already know, emerging and ever more advanced technology and software is bringing about unprecedented and irreversible change to your industry. Just think how technology has changed the hotel business in the past ten years. Providing free Wi-Fi in bedrooms used to be a luxury but in the age of constant connectivity, not having free Wi-Fi in a guest’s bedroom is like not having a bed in a hotel room.

I know it can be a bit daunting trying to get your head around all the latest technology and software trends and innovations. However the right technology if used in the right way can really help your hotel improve its operating efficiencies and generate higher revenues.

  In this blog I want to share with you the 3 most sufficient technology trends for the hospitality industry for the next two years. After reading this blog I want you to have a far greater understanding of how technology is changing and shaping the business you rely on.

Personalisation and Mobile Devices

Contemporary hotel guests are a demanding bunch. They want and expect hotels to deliver an ever more personalised service that caters for their own specific needs and wants. Guests want you and your staff to make them feel important and to treat them like a VIP.

The demand from guests’ for greater customer service has lead to the creation of what industry insiders call the “Personalised model” of guest service. The personalised model gives guests greater control over their hotel stay.

For example, guests can decide through their smartphones, the lighting in their room, what size their hotel room will be, what type of bed they will sleep on, what temperature the room will be set at, and what type food will be stocked in the minibar. Just think how impressed your guests would be if they could, through their phones, personalise their hotel bedroom the way they want.

Jonathan Barsky in his blog, “Personalization is Becoming a Reality Across the Hospitality Industry”, gives a really good example of personalized service, “Imagine this, you leave your hotel with the lights dimmed half-way, your favourite news station on the television, and the thermostat set at 68 degrees. Then, two weeks later you return to the same hotel, and you find the room exactly the way you left it, except the room number is different.”

Delivering a personalized service however does require hotels to fully embrace mobile technology. Guests need to be able to download apps to their smartphones that allow them create their own unique personalised hotel stay. Mobile Media are one of a number of companies that focus on developing apps for hotels and have a good record.

During the 2012 Olympic Games Samsung and Holiday Inn teamed up to allow travellers control their room TVs, lighting, and air conditioning via smartphone apps and Samsung has continued to develop apps for the hospitality sector.

No segment of hotel guest embodies the move towards the ultra personalised service than the tech savvy millennial generation (The generation aged between 20-35 years old). The millennials are very used to being able to tailor services and products to their specific needs and wants; and they are also the generation that lives their lives through their smartphones.

As the millennials come of age and their incomes grow they become ever more important to the hospitality sector. It is forecasted that the millennial generation will replace the baby boomers as the dominant consumer group by 2017.

If you want to attract the modern young professional hotel guest to your hotel you will have to ensure your hotel provides the best possible personalised service. Many tourists and hospitality experts argue that technology enabled personalisation service can generate increased customer loyalty, higher occupancy rates, and larger income for hotels.

The Benefits of Cloud Software as a Service

   Cloud software as a service (SaaS) is increasingly been adopted by hoteliers as an alternative to on premise web servers. SaaS has been around for a number of years but hotels have been slow to fully embrace SaaS.

However, 2016 will be the year hotels finally jump on the SaaS bandwagon. Under the SaaS model hotels subscribe to a licensed cloud provider and software applications are delivered via the internet and browser. The hotel doesn’t buy the software, it simply rents the software app from a cloud service. Think of SaaS the  same as you think of an electricity company. You don’t produce your electricity yourself; instead you sign up to an electric company and pay a fee for whatever amount of electricity you use.   

Benefits to this Include:

  • Low Costs: The main advantage of the SaaS platform is the costs of maintaining servers, networks, maintenance, data backups, and storage capacity is zero.
  • No Location, No equipment: SaaS businesses apps are accessible anytime and anywhere by using an internet enabled device. Hotels don’t have to invest in expensive equipment when they’re operating on a cloud service.
  • Automatic Software Updates: With the cloud platform you are always logging into the latest updated version of property management software solutions (PMS). You will never again be behind the curve when it comes to latest software for hotels.

           Calum Mclndoe in his blog, “Six Technology Trends Revolutionising the Hospitality industry”, writes “Hotels like SaaS because, upfront investment is lower with the cloud as there are no initial hardware costs or associated expenses such as full time in-house IT staff to maintain the system.”

Hotels also favour the cloud because they like the idea of taking IT off site and freeing themselves of the headaches IT can bring. Hotels from large chains to small boutique hotels and everything in between are increasingly seeing the benefits of SaaS.

Cloud software as service is finally reaching the hospitality industry and once it arrives it won’t be going anywhere because the sky really is the limit for cloud computing.

Group Payment Software  

If you work in a hotel that caters for a lot of group bookings, you will know the hardships and problems group bookings cause hotel staff. Having to constantly chase up organisers and group members for payment, finalise the group size while also trying to get a room lists together in time can be very frustrating and stressful.

However, there are group payment systems available for hotels that are specifically designed to alleviate many of the problems and stresses linked to group bookings. The best group payment systems allow individual group members to book and pay for their accommodation online via smartphone/tablet/laptop/desktop.

Allowing individual group members pay online for their accommodation has two major advantages for hotels. First, hotels receive payment weeks in advance of the arrival, which is always nice. Secondly, a group payment system makes organising and finalising room lists for group bookings considerably easier and less stressful.

Conclusion   

My goal for this blog was to share with you the latest technology trends which are dramatically changing and revolutionizing the hotel business. Traditionally the hospitality industry has been slow in utilizing new technology.

But that has got to change.  If your hotel doesn’t fully embrace new technology, then you risk your hotel been left behind in the last century along with the fax machine and dial up internet.       

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