Smart solutions make guests feel right at home

Smart solutions make guests feel right at home

Besides operational efficiency, hotels seek to deliver a greater guest experience to retain customers. This has become more important as, in the midst of intense competition, finding ways to get guests back is essential. Again, thanks to IoT devices and the data they generate, hoteliers can deliver a truly customized experience that caters to the guest’s various needs.

“If the customer uses the fridge all the time, they will allocate a room that has the fridge well stocked up. If he is really particular about the toilet, they will allocate a room that has a bigger toilet. If he spends a lot of time watching TV, they can give him a room with a large TV with more channels,” said Patrick Lim, Director for Group Sales and Marketing at Ademco Security Group. “Most hotels are still doing the manual way, where upon check-out they ask you have you consumed anything, and they give you a customer service form asking which was the most important part of your stay. Most of the times guests are too busy to fill out the form or they don't fill out the correct info. Now you don't need to depend on the customer to fill out a form. You know what they have done or what they liked the best.”


Another way through which hotels deliver a better guest experience is mobile check-in, which is already pretty common in the airline industry and is demanded by hotel guests as well. With mobile check-in, the guest can pre-register through the hotel’s app, which inserts a credential to the smart device that they can use to unlock doors on the day of check-in. This way they can bypass the front desk and go directly to their rooms via elevators that take them automatically to the said floor. Further, they can use their mobile device to check into various facilities – restaurants, pools and gym – leaving a record so the hotel can bill to their account. Inside, guests also have the option to use their smart device to control lights, HVAC, shades, and TV.

“This helps not only the end users who demand a better experience but also operators who can deploy few resources at the front desk. What we could report on is that mobile key is becoming a strong differentiator in full service hotels. This trend is accelerating starting with major chains such as Hilton, Starwood and Marriott. We also now see that this is now being adopted into regional and independent properties,” said Rune Venaas, Assistant VP of Business Development Lodging Systems for EMEA at Kaba.

More importantly, this encourages the guest to book through the hotel’s app instead of online travel agencies or OTAs that offer booking and other types of service. “If a guest books at the hotel and not the OTA, then the hotel can save 10 to 30 percent in OTA commissions. And hotels are using ‘guest loyalty apps’ as the tool for getting back their online bookings,” said Steve Dunn, CEO and Co-Founder of LEAPIN Digital Keys.


Meanwhile, with beacons becoming more popular in applications such as retail, hospitality operators are considering using beacons in their premises to enhance the user experience, too. For example, beacons can be used to direct guest to their rooms or specific areas they want to visit, be it the gym, the pool, or a particular roulette table in the casino downstairs. Then, beacons can be used to send “location-specific alerts,” for example a particular discount at a restaurant or a special event in the conference room, to the guest’s smart device as they approach the area.

“We provide location-based information solutions which allow end users a better experience during their stay in the hotel,” said William Goh, Director of ADP Tech. “In the near future, we will see more hotels will install beacons for information pop out."

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