Hotel-Tech: Key Trends for 2022
Our Takeaways from Hotel360 Expo in London
Having worked closely with the teams behind Resorts World Birmingham, Vintage Inns and Lakeland Leisure Estates as well as Pure Morzine chalet rentals, we are always looking to learn more about innovation in the hospitality space and challenges faced by the lodging industry. Earlier this week (28−29 Sept 2021) the annual Hotel360 Expo spread across the ExCel centre in London, a former NHS Nightingale hospital, for the first time as an in-person event since the start of the pandemic.
The 5,000-ish visitors to “UK’s Leading Hospitality Event” were met with a smörgåsbord of offerings and ideas from businesses of all sizes as well as trade associations and other interest groups. The organisers promised to deliver a free event that provides a
“360-degree viewpoint of the hospitality industry encompassing 5 topical areas; business growth (finance & marketing), technology, operations, sustainability & design”.
At its best, tech enables hoteliers to streamline operations, automate processes, supercharge marketing, improve cyber security and even help reduce emissions. Available data can also be used to provide state-of-the-art hotel experiences, improving service, increasing retention levels, saving money and helping to boost revenue as well as direct bookings.
Here are our key takeaways from this year’s expo:
Trend #1 – A new norm for hygiene
Perhaps unsurprisingly, sanitising solutions and products aimed at the reduction of human touchpoints were very much present at this year’s event. From cleaning chemicals and fogging services to nanotechnological coating innovations and sanitising lights, it is obvious from walking into Hotel360 that there is a whole new level of expectation for sanitary measures for hotels looking to regain the trust of their customers.
Air cleaners developed by brands like Sanispaces, Cool Tech and BiOxyplasma were an attractive offering for businesses looking to sanitise large areas in one go. BiATM’s Contactless Reception, Cantelli’s Digital Workers and Wundermart staff-less hotel shop envisage a future where machines work alongside hotel professionals. Convenience, efficiency and low cost are the obvious benefits of automation, but personnel-free hotel services could also benefit those who are immunocompromised or looking to limit exposure to infectious diseases during their stay.
There is a whole new level of expectation for sanitary measures for hotels looking to regain the trust of their customers.
Acomos’ property management system (PMS) and Agilysys’ software for POS (point-of-sale), PMS and table management showed that efficient operations start with connected systems that deliver the right data so people can concentrate on caring for customers.
With the right software, data and associated processes, staff can efficiently run the hotel and easily monitor performance. The key to this is the integration of data sources and making sure data is organised in a way that makes it useful for humans.
Verse can help you streamline your data and processes for an information architecture that flows beautifully from connected services to one central platform for a single-source-of-truth. Book an appointment to find out how we can benefit your organisation.
Trend #3 – AI Sound: Uncover customer desires and sentiment using Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Here’s one that will give your inner Edward Snowdon shivers! AI Sound is a trend that Aiello’s customers put to full use by collecting and making use of data about visitors from all available sources, including phone calls to reception, interactions with Voice Assistants on smart speakers and on-premise conversations.
The process includes using Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to collect and make use of anonymised data on comments or queries relating to the hotel’s services. The goal is to uncover customer trends and supplement data sourced from emails and chat transcripts to understand customers better.
Use cases for this technology were uncovered by Aiello CTO Sharif Ma on his Tuesday keynote. A resort client used the technology to uncover that visitors had lots of questions regarding the use of the pool facilities. The hotel was then able to provide better documentation to clients on towel availability, pool opening hours, water quality, child policies and water temperature.
Mr Ma noted that the service’s primary function is to work as a Voice Assistant for Travelers. Some queries the assistant can help customers with include questions about time, alarms, weather, wifi, breakfast, the gym and other facilities, check-out times, housekeeping requests, complaints, messages to staff and any emergency calls. The Area search function also allows guests to find information about their destination’s transport system, nearby sights, convenience stores, restaurants and more.
Ma noted that the AI assistant results in better customer experiences as clients do not have to worry about bothering the staff with too many questions. Pretty nifty!
Trend #4 – Mobile, mobile, mobile
Time-saving mobile solutions help to streamline processes such as check-in/out, without the need to interact with the front desk.
A hotel app is ideal for allowing guests to customise their stay from managing their booking, making payments, taking virtual tours, checking in/out and contacting hotel staff via chat. Why not use the app to reconnect with guests after their stay through push notifications? Send a text message to offer a discount code on the anniversary of their stay? The opportunities are endless.
At Verse, we have built award-winning headless websites and apps for some of the biggest hospitality brands in the world. Get in touch with our team to find out how we could help your business grow.
Trend #5 – Personalisation: Leverage on digital to create unforgettable experiences
Radisson’s new Radisson+ service was the focus of Tuesday’s keynote by Patrick Apostol on digital experience design. The new service lets Radisson
“delight guests with a more flexible, efficient, and personalized travel experience”
“create memorable moments by managing your stay, from pre-arrival to check-out, in a way that is natural and comfortable for you”.
Features currently available on this customer loyalty boosting service include e-check-in/out, pre-ordering room service or ‘e-concierge’ and a live chat that you can use to ask questions or customise your stay.
It’s worth noting that customisation and personalisation are two different concepts. The first one gives customers alternative choices to customize based on their preferences, whereas the latter involves serving customers based on their preferences. Personalisation leverages data collected from previous stays, and works well when used as part of a loyalty scheme for repeat customers.
When done right, personalisation has the power to encourage customer loyalty and make every stay with you feel special.
So, how could you implement personalisation as part of your hotel’s operations?
Data is key here: collect preference data thought-out your guest’s stay. For example, when sending out booking confirmation e-mails, you could ask customers to choose a drink of their choice, tell you if they require hygiene products, or ask for their robe size.
Team Verse is here to help you leverage your customer touchpoints and interactions to create experiences that get your guests hooked.