Hotels are emerging from some of the toughest trading months many of them have ever seen, and scrambling to attract vacation-starved guests with the best experiences possible. And while, after the restrictions of the pandemic, simply not having to make your own bed or having access to a minibar might be enough to create a truly outstanding experience, there is no doubt that hotels playing the competitive game for the long haul need to set their sights a little higher.
As in so many industries, the IoT has a valuable role – or rather, many valuable roles – to play. Let’s take a look at just some of the ways in which IoT technology is transforming the hotel guest experience.
Ensuring exceptional comfort
Smart building technologies such as connected heating and lighting systems are hardly new, but they can make a great different to guest comfort. Enable guests to control the environment in their room from a smartphone app, for example, and you enable them to automatically ready the room for their arrival after a day out and about, or ensure that the environment is kept exactly as they like. Meanwhile, hotels which position themselves as technologically savvy or offering guests the very latest in gizmos and gadgets are likely to want to take advantage of connected entertainments systems including smart speakers. And smart sensors which determine when a room is occupied and when it is empty can ensure that housekeeping never again knock on a door when a guest is still sleeping.
Safety and security
IoT-enabled security systems can go a long way to helping guests feel protected and secure – or simply less likely to lose their room key. Automated smart door locks, for example, can be unlocked with a secure app on the guest’s phone, rather than requiring them to keep a separate door key or card close at hand. Connected cameras in rooms can enable guests to check in on their room whilst they are out and about. More broadly, across the entire hotel, connected security systems can ensure faster and even automated interventions in the case of security alerts, including triggering door locks and lighting systems.
More and more hotel guests are thinking about their environmental footprint and sustainability when they travel, so hotels which can take a proactive and engaging approach to going green can have a substantial advantage. As outlined above, smart building technologies can ensure that lighting, heating and air conditioning systems are switched off when rooms are empty, whilst connected sensors in plumbing systems can alert maintenance when a leak first occurs, ultimately saving water. Such environmentally-friendly interventions are cost savers too – win-win for the hotel.
Maintenance and repairs is a huge function for any hotel, ensuring that wear and tear is kept to a minimum, small problems are fixed before they escalate, and the entire environment is safe and appealing at all times. As in many other sectors, the IoT enables a predictive approach to maintenance by embedding sensors in key physical assets, and providing automatic alerts when maintenance is required. This enables maintenance to be scheduled seamlessly and intrusively around guests.