hotels and technology

How the “Internet of Things” can help hotels bounce back from COVID-19

The world has changed, and if hotels want to bounce back from the pandemic, they will have to change with it. The old status quo is a thing of the past; replaced with a “new normal” of mask-wearing, social distancing and more. Thankfully, we live in a highly digital age where technology can help hotels quickly bend and adapt to new social norms. Here, we discuss how the Internet of Things (iOt) in hospitality can help hotels bounce back even stronger from the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Internet of Things (iOt) is a digital system of internet-connected objects that communicate wirelessly. This type of system is vital in today’s digital world for hotels who want to create stunning, custom guest experiences. In today’s uncertain COVID-19 climate, hotels are beginning to see how IoT can not only elevate the guest experience, but also enhance hotel safety and operational efficiency. More and more hotels are exploring the benefit of leveraging IoT to limit guest-staff physical contact as well as reducing potentially unsafe touch-points around the property. For example, using IoT, guests can use their phone or laptop to check into a hotel without ever visiting the front desk. They can also use this technology to unlock their room via their mobile device and so much more. These types of processes not only enhance safety for guests and staff, but they also provide guests with a high-tech, user-friendly hospitality experience. 

But the benefits of IoT go way beyond contactless check-in. Marriott was ahead of its time when it built the first Internet of Things (or IoT) hotel-room prototype. This room of the future, was unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas to great fanfare. A technologically-stunning room, it enabled the guest to use voice commands to request extra pillows, set water temperature, schedule wake-up calls and much more. It allowed multiple responsive IoT (Internet of Things) systems, devices, and applications to communicate with each other wirelessly. Marriott believed (correctly) that this would not only enhance guest satisfaction and love of custom experiences, but it would also create an uber-efficient room. Now that we have entered a “new normal” the potential for IoT is limitless.

Hotels will find that IoT saves them money by creating massive efficiencies. Take, for example, lighting, which would be automatically adjusted based on how bright it is outside or time of day. Or temperature, which would be automatically increased or decreased based on how many people are in a room. Just consider the energy savings your hotel would reap by automating just these two functions. And the perks don’t end there because IoT in hospitality can also be used to predict maintenance issues before they’re an issue. This predictive maintenance would tell you when an in-room mini-fridge is about to burn out so you can replace it before a guest experiences a problem. This not only saves you the frustration of last-minute room changes, but it also increases guest satisfaction and reduces complaints. How much is THAT worth to you?

Leveraging leading technologies like IoT not only offers solutions to the “new normal,” but also may end up reviving the hospitality sector. Hotel owners would do well to research how they can start making strides toward more technologically-driven systems and processes, keeping in mind that an eye must always be on keeping your hotel data safe.

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