Hotel operators and their guests want more technology. That is the main takeaway of the Oracle Hotel 2025 report, which surveyed 150 hotel operators and 702 consumers to understand how they are embracing technology innovation in an age of online travel agents, personal digital assistants, and room-sharing services.
Personalisation matters for both operators and guests. In the next five years, 72 per cent of the hotel operators plan to use facial biometrics to improve guest recognition at check-in and other contact points. 41 per cent of hotel guests said are more likely to book a hotel if staff at contact points recognise them without their having to give their name or show a loyalty card.
Younger generations of guests have shown a preference in receiving personalised service than collecting loyalty points. Even so, the value of loyalty programs for operators lies in getting guests to book directly with them, enabling them to own the customer journey, rather than let a third-party agency manage it.
Artificial intelligence (AI) holds interesting possibilities for hotel operators, with 72 per cent expecting such AI-based systems to be mainstream by 2025. 47 per cent of guests surveyed feel their experience would benefit from food items and other services being smartly suggested using the hotel’s artificial intelligence and based on past purchases.
Hotel operators are interested in voice-activated features. 78 per cent expect that guests will be able to manage room controls and ambiance via voice commands by 2025, and 70 per cent foresee the same for ordering room or hotel services.
Voice recognition could also function as a way to gather customer feedback, with 68 per cent of hotel operators expecting to use it in the next five years. These results, as well as a general preference by younger generations for self-service, seems to indicate that that the concept of a “people-less hotel” is not only possible, but may even become a trend.
A virtual experience
Virtual reality (VR) is another nascent technology that is showing promise for the industry. By 2025, hotel operators would like to see VR being used to train staff (68 per cent), provide guest entertainment (64 per cent), and allow guests to preview meeting rooms (63 per cent).
For 66 per cent of guests, VR tours of hotel properties would improve their experience. 44 per cent would find enjoyment in using VR lounges for entertainment.
More than half (58 per cent) of hotel operators like the idea of robots being used for tasks such as cleaning, but machines are not expected to replace hotel staff anytime soon. For guests, 37 per cent said being served by a robot would not benefit their experience, while 22 per cent said a hotel staffed by robots would result in them visiting less often.
In the next five years, wearable devices may be used by hotel operators to boost workplace efficiency. 63 per cent said they would use the technology to monitor staff activities, while 78 per cent said they would use it to check their employees into work.
A digital world
The results from the survey show that hotel operators are keen to implement automation, though they should do so without sacrificing personal service. In today’s digital world with more choice than ever before, guests are interested in hotels that that offer new technologies, as long as they feel they are in control of their stay.
We’ve already assisted hospitality organisations such as MGM Resorts, Sky City and others with their digital transformations and improving their consumer experience. If you are looking for guidance with new technology such as AI and VR, contact us today to learn how we can ensure the best quality experience for you and your audience.