2016 had important technological breakthroughs that changed how we live, work, play and travel. In 2017 the hospitality industry needs to prepare for more disruptions and hotels need to look beyond the boundaries of their own industry to understand current technological trends.
Predicting the future is hardly a precise science but we can still identify trends and developments by paying close attention to what’s happening. What do we expect in 2017 in the hospitality industry? There are many tech trends we’re watching and as a hotelier here is the top five you should keep an eye on:
The guestroom is a challenging area for hotel technology. Guests are plugging in their own devices for in-room entertainment, so the biggest concern is to deliver high-speed wireless Internet to support the content and devices that guests are carrying with them. Hoteliers will also invest in delivering new platforms to elevate the in-room experience.
Startup to watch in 2017: Magicbox
Mobile communication and chat bots
People are expecting in hotels the same easy technology-driven check-ins they already experience in airports. Not only this, but guests will be able to do everything from ordering room service to book a massage with a digital device instead of standing in queues or calling the front-desk. Hotel’s apps failed to gain the expected traction in the last few years and chatbots (available in the main messaging apps) will be this year’s trend.
Startup to watch in 2017: HiJiffy and their most advanced AI in hospitality
Robotic service options
Futuristic experiences will be a reality soon, as hotels are going to be modernized with robotic service options. There are already robots delivering items ordered through room service to the guestroom’s door. These will make easier for hotel staff to deliver items whilst offering a new kind of digital experience. By embracing robotic technology, hotels will refocus the human aspect of service from functionality to surprise and delight.
Startup to watch in 2017: Immersive Robotics
Social media had a profound impact upon the hospitality industry in the last few years but TripAdvisor still is the main source of information when researching holidays and hotels. It’s expected that Facebook and Twitter will become as influential. Monitoring social media mentions and reviews will be critical for hotels so that they can manage property’s online reputation. This should be one of their top concerns for 2017.
Startup to watch in 2017: Conversocial
“Personalization is the next manifestation in the evolution of brands,” said Starwood CEO Frits van Paaschen, which believes that “The expectation of people of brands is you should know me and know what I want.” This is the case for hotels, as guests expect their experience to be personalised: from the welcome message to their food preferences or services they booked in the past. This will be accomplished by linking new technologies like chatbots to their CRM. It isn’t just a case of linking the data — hotel’s will need to proactively start using it.