Technology's impact on the hotel industry

picture of a Centennial College Hospitality Hotel Operations Management program student working as a concierge speaking with a guest

It is no secret that technology and the Internet of things have changed virtually every industry and hospitality is no different. Technological advances have made swipe cards as room keys look like child's play. With tech savvy travelers, from business people to families with children, it is actually essential for the hotel industry to ensure it is on top of all things tech. In fact, according to a report by Oracle Hospitality, 64 per cent of surveyed U.S. hotel guests said it is "very or extremely important" for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience.

Here is a look at some of the ways technology is changing the hotel industry.

Keyless entry

Forget those swipe cards I mentioned because they are set to be replaced by an app on your smart phone that will serve as the key to your room. The Hilton Hotel and Starwood, especially, are leaders in this area, having deployed smart room keys in 2015. In 2016, Starwood took the technology globally and Hilton aims to have keyless entry service in 2,500 hotels by the end of 2017. Thanks to technology, we will no longer have to worry about losing or de-magnetizing our room keys!

Robotics

Travel Weekly covered the Americas Lodging Investment Summit and reported that predictions were being made in the increase of hotel robots to deliver amenities and clean rooms. That means, if predictions come true and investments are made in these technological innovations, you could see Maidbots cleaning your hotel room in the next five years. A boutique hotel near Apple's headquarters, called Aloft Cupertino, already has a robot butler called Botlr that is able to move between the various floors of the hotel to take items such as toothbrushes, chargers and snacks to guests, reports Aurecon Group, a consulting firm.

Personalized Experience

Customer relationship management systems are becoming more sophisticated, according to Best Hospitality Degrees, resulting in improved levels of integration. For example, if data inputted into the system indicates a guest's beverage choices, not only can the guest be greeted with that beverage choice the next time but the data can also be linked to the organization's supply purchase systems. The information shared during check-in or checkout is essential to this personalized experience, and improving the hotel's operations.

Social media and review sites

Did you know that a TripAdvisor survey revealed that 87 percent of TripAdvisor users feel more confident in their decisions when they read travel reviews, and 98 percent say they find them "accurate of the actual experience." Similarly, according to LateRooms, 90 percent of travellers avoid booking hotels labelled as "dirty" in online reviews. This is a small glimpse into the impact review sites are having on the hotel industry. Social media, meanwhile, is also playing a role as it equips consumers with a powerful tool that allows them to post reviews in real time and ensures that hotels consider the implications of these reviews.

Those who want to be at the forefront of the hotel industry, with all of its exciting advancements, may consider Centennial College's two-year Hospitality - Hotel Operations Management. This stimulating offering focuses on knowledge that will actually allow students to open doors to various areas of management within hotels such as: front desk management, housekeeping operations, food and beverage management and human resources planning.

By Izabela Szydlo

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