Back in 2008, when we talked about the hotel of the future, we dreamt about “smart bathrooms, toilets functioning both as a toilet and bidet with in-built washing and drying, windows able to show news reports, and armchairs that vibrate to the rhythm of the music. It doesn’t sound bad, but our future vision today, ten years later, is much more ambitious and so are the technology trends.
Robots to assist us in every day chores, biometrics, using a mobile as a key and to enjoy and personalize services ... are some of the things that we are starting to see. However today the most promising technology trends of the digital revolution in the tourism sector are here:
The power of the mobile
Mobile management systems that give client control of all aspects of their stay: checking in and checking out online, home automation, hotel services, suites with voice control technology; hotels with built-in artificial intelligence, software designed exclusively to work with voice assistants...
Robotic personnel that work as room service, delivering luggage and other items, serving drinks, or providing information to customers. They are already being tested by several hotel chains, but their real value has yet to be seen. Future will tell whether they will become indispensable "workers" in hotels or not.
Mobile key or biometrics
Mobile keys are one of the latest technology trends of the hotels of the future. They must be secure and compatible with thousands of different mobile devices, crossing the uninterrupted passage from the parking lot to the room itself, and also allow other features such as checking in, or payment of other products and services. Besides the mobile key, other technologies are already being used, such as biometric facial or finger recognition.
International hotel chains are using augmented reality to offer their customers 360-degree views of properties for sale abroad, or even for more practical issues, such as calculating –before a trip– the size of the luggage and finding out if they fit the tariff policy of different airlines.
Intuitive apps, designed to save time and adapt to what is known as an “omnichannel customer experience”. This includes advanced voice recognition interfaces that work through attendees.
Lastly, as experts argue, the human factor will always be present. And that is because, despite the progress made, there is still a long way before interacting with robots or chatbots can fully meet the needs of a customer. Nothing can replace the inherent empathy and understanding of human beings, at least for the moment.