This is the second in our blog series about how new technology is helping hotel owners and operators increase guest satisfaction while meeting their business and sustainability goals. In my last post, we saw how the newest guest room management systems (GRMS) are delivering the connectivity and control that millennials and Gen-Z expect. These solutions also help staff respond faster to problems and automate room HVAC, lighting, curtains, etc. to minimize energy consumption and costs.
In this post, we’ll look at five ways that the Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling hotel brands to forge stronger relationships with their guests, while guests arrive to a pre-personalized experience.
1. When It All Comes Together
As mentioned in my last post, though millennials are a big focus for hotel brands, Gen-Z is increasing in importance. 54% of parents say their children have some influence over their travel planning and, for Gen Z, travel is all about the experience. An important part of that experience is connectivity, convenience, and control. Both millennials and Gen Z are expecting to take full advantage of IoT-enabled amenities.
IoT-based connectivity has begun to permeate every industry and infrastructure. It has also enhanced many aspects of our lifestyles through mobile devices and apps. The more connections it enables, the more power is unleashed in terms of visibility, control, and convenience.
Hotels are a perfect example, in which the entire infrastructure – from electrical power distribution, to HVAC, to security – is progressively becoming more connected.
Smart devices across each building system share data with centralized applications, enabling advanced capabilities for hotel management, staff, and guests. The newest room controllers manage HVAC in each guest room based on occupancy. They also connect to all other controllable features of a room, including lighting and curtains, and guest-facing features like bedside panels and tablets.
Hotel software applications are also converging. The newest guest room management systems can be tightly integrated with power management, building management, property management, and door lock systems. Many of these apps are now also hosted in the cloud, enabling access by personnel across teams, wherever they are.
These advances are providing new levels of functionality and control that are enhancing the guest experience in many ways.
2. A Personalized Stay, Right from Check-In
Connectivity enables a personalized experience, starting at check-in. Hotel staff can remotely prepare room settings while the guest is still at the front desk. For guests that frequent the same chain, hotels can store their preferences and automatically activate them upon check-in, even if that’s done from a mobile device. Thanks to integration with door lock systems, the guest can use their own phone for room access through the hotel’s loyalty app.
While guests make their way to the room, a welcome message can be sent to be displayed in the room, in the guest’s own language. Over their stay, customized special offers or other information can also be sent to the room.
3. Welcome to Your Connectivity Hub
Once in the room, the guests are greeted with their preferred temperature, unit of measure (Celsius or Fahrenheit), and native language on in-room devices, making them feel at home, no matter where they are from. The room then acts as a connectivity hub, with an intuitive digital experience.
A variety of engaging options can be provided for interaction with their environment. IoT-enabled bedside panels, tablet, the room’s TV, or their own smart device can be used to provide convenient control over every aspect of their comfort and entertainment. They can create exactly the ambience they want by adjusting temperature, dimming lights, controlling curtains, or selecting “room scenes” to create the perfect setting for their mood.
4. When You Need Something, Just Say It
Some solutions may also offer integration with voice control options. For example, Marriott International has begun rolling out Amazon Alexa for Hospitality to select hotels in several its chains. This is giving guests the ability to use voice commands to control the room environment or place a room-service order. Chat bots are another option that hotels can explore, giving guests the ability to make a request with the front desk using their mobile device, whether they are in their room or away from the hotel.
5. A Closer Connection with Needs … and Values
The evolution in hotel connectivity will also always keep staff aware of a guest’s needs. The guest room management system will immediately flag hotel personnel when any request is made, from do-not-disturb to maid service, or when a maintenance issue arises—like a low battery status on the door lock.
However, with deep integration between power management, building management, and guest room management systems, the hotel’s maintenance team will most often be aware of an issue (like a light bulb needing replacement) before the guest even notices. If the guest does call with a problem, the front desk and maintenance teams will already understand the room conditions and can troubleshoot remotely. Oftentimes problems can even be resolved remotely.
For guests concerned about sustainability, IoT connectivity offers the opportunity to collaborate with the hotel on energy efficiency goals and be rewarded for their efforts. The integration of power, building, and guest room management systems allows the guest’s room energy usage to be automatically tracked and reported during their stay, with positive results converted to loyalty program points, for example. Guests can also be rewarded with loyalty points for opting out of maid service. And if the guest is a supporter of “green mobility,” their electric vehicle charging costs can be automatically posted to the property management system to be applied to their bill at check-out.
In my next post, we’ll look at how integrated hotel information and control systems help boost staff efficiency and cut operating costs.
Schneider Electric offers a complete range of solutions for hotels, including beautifully designed guest-facing technology and guest room management, power management, and building management applications that integrate seamlessly with other hotel systems. Solutions are designed for simple and fast installation and commissioning, meeting all hotel owner and brand requirements. Discover EcoStruxure™ for Hotels.
Markus Schoen joined Schneider Electric in 2018 as a global account director. He has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry with 26 years in various disciplines at Marriott International. Markus believes that the innovation, scalability, and reliability of Schneider’s hotel offer will significantly improve our customers’ sustainability achievements while addressing tomorrow’s travelers’ needs. He also knows that data analytics plays a key role in identifying future hotel market and customer needs. This knowledge and experience are transforming Schneider into a global leader in the hotel sector. Markus enjoys travel, winter sports, and technology.