High-tech features and gadgets are slowly making their way to the hotel room and redefining the way we enjoy our stay. Consider a future in which a butler robot wakes you up with a freshly-squeezed glass of orange juice and an impeccably ironed shirt. Hard to believe, right?
We may not see Rosie Jetson in our hotels rooms just yet, but a number of exciting innovations are already changing the hotel rooms. And, these transformations are not only about technology, but also about a consumer-centric, personalized hotel experience.
The Internet of Things shapes the hotel room of the future
According to a Deloitte report, the hotel room of the future will be even more customer-centric and experience driven than it is today. Hoteliers will seek to offer a memorable hotel experience that is uniquely tailored to their guests. And for that, the Internet of Things (IoT) will play a key role.
The iPhone turns 10 this year and since its introduction, many other products, not just phones, have been labeled as ‘smart’. From fridges and scales to cars and watches, everyday objects are getting smart and connected via the internet. If you’re not familiar with the term, the Internet of Things refers to a network of physical objects that speak to each other, sending and receiving data. For example, your car may schedule a visit to the garage if a repair is needed or your fridge might re-order milk when you’re running low. You laugh – but it’s already happening!
Smart hotel rooms
Thanks to the Internet of Things, we can expect to gain full control of the hotel room of the future. Lighting, curtains, shower and room temperature, TV, music will all be connected and easily controlled by the guest. And, forget about fiddling around with buttons or screens. You’ll be able to interact with your hotel room with just your voice. Think of adjusting the room temperature in the middle of the night without getting out of bed, or switching the music on while you’re in the shower with just the cry of ‘Don’t Cry for me Argentina’. With voice-controlled home assistant devices present in the room, we’ll have at our disposal a 24/7 virtual, invisible concierge.
Aloft Hotels is already piloting voice-activated hotel rooms in Boston and in California. This approach has the potential to offer the kind of ultra-personalized experience that regular business travelers dream of.
In a similar fashion, in-room entertainment is adapting to guests’ wishes. Business travelers want to enjoy their free time as if they would be in their own living rooms. TV channels and video on-demand have become a thing of the past as streaming services such as Netflix gain popularity. In order to offer a personalized experience, hotels must find a way to allow their guests to keep on watching their favorite shows – in an environment that is practically home-from-home. To this effect, Marriott is working on a solution to seamlessly pair a guest’s device to the in-room TV.
For hotel owners, gadgets and technology pose a tremendous infrastructure challenge. To stay ahead of the ahead, hotel chains and individual properties will have to make major investments to implement the necessary infrastructure. And, like all things, the first to do it will win the prize!