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The rise of hoteltech

Sep 2018

While online reviews and websites create expectation, the moment a guest arrives, it is all about the experience – enjoyment translates into loyalty and positive word of mouth.

Many hotel brands are recognising that in-room technology is appealing to millennials as a way of making stays more personalised and convenient. Guests increasingly see their smartphones as a way of linking to a hotel’s ‘concierge for a digital age’ and they want to use their own smartphone apps in their rooms and shared spaces.

A growing number of hotels, including Radisson RED and Hyatt Centric, are already alive to this and offer guests the ability to stream their Netflix onto their room’s television. Others such as Hilton and Hotel EMC2 enable control of lighting and thermostats remotely via their app. Some hotels have even added an Amazon Echo unit so that guests can stream music, check the weather and search for local things to do via voice command.

The world is also becoming more health conscious and fitness focused. More than a quarter of millennial travellers factor ‘natural and healthy’ as important in their holiday choices. Hilton is one company that has already embraced this by creating the Five Feet to Fitness room concept. Five Feet to Fitness is available in nine locations so far and enables guests to exercise in the privacy of their room. A computer kiosk provides over 200 bespoke, guided exercise tutorials and over 25 classes as well as 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options.

It seems that getting the basics of technology in hotels right should be the priority and that more advanced technologies are not as essential. 89% of millennials say their personal devices should be easily connected to in-room technology and 92% expect there to be free high-speed WiFi in their rooms. Climate control and apps for hotel services also featured highly and 63% of millennials would happily forfeit some room space for a high-tech room with features such as NEST technology. In contrast, only 20% of millennials would like to see voice-based in-room technologies in hotel rooms like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and only 20% want digital door keys through a mobile device.

In some respects, hoteliers seem to be on the right track. 70% have introduced high-speed WiFi over the last 12 months, and 59% have introduced apps for hotel services. However in several areas they appear to have misjudged millennial demand for certain features. So far, only 35% have introduced climate control technologies. 23% have introduced digital interactive screens, with a further 20% planning to do so in the next 12 months, despite only 18% of millennials ranking this as a particularly desirable feature. A similar pattern emerges for other high-tech features like automated room service delivery and digital door keys through a mobile device.

Read the full report “Finding the balance: human touch versus high tech” here.

Authors

Thomas Page
Thomas Page
Partner
London