As the new year begins, hoteliers are celebrating a stronger than expected 2017. Occupancy grew 0.5 percent, average daily rates grew by 2.1 percent, and revenue per available room grew 2.5 percent. The industry is facing pressure to evolve to new customer expectations and market pressures, but has remained largely resilient in the face of major disruptors like Airbnb.
In fact, it might be fair to say that these pressures have brought the best out of the entire hospitality sector. Investments in technology are at an all-time high and growing, which has led to some fascinating deployments of hi-tech hardware and software inside hotels. These technology deployments have proven to dramatically improve the quality of guest experiences. Here’s a quick look at three technologically innovative hotels in the US who are helping to drive these trends.
1. Yotel, New York, New York - Technology Driving Design
As soon as guests walk into the lobby of Yotel, it is clear they are in for an unique and memorable experience. Looking past the remarkable design, breathtaking terrace views, and stylishly suited staff, the digital experience offered is one other luxury hotels can learn from. Guests begin by checking themselves in through an intuitive kiosk. The half-dozen machines eliminate any wait time for tired travelers just looking to make it to a warm bed.
Like other leaders on this list, Yotel employs robots as bellhops, carting up guests’ luggage with speed and efficiency. Additionally, the rooms are also technologically ahead of the curve: beds are adjustable, towel racks are heated, and the building’s “mission control” center provides all the tools and services one needs to stay productive. Finally, a useful mobile app acts as a concierge for visitors, and a gateway to special offers for future stays.
Yotel does a fantastic job of creating a cutting edge look and feel across every square inch of real estate, and its usage of robotics makes for a stunning visual that puts an exclamation point on its technology-centered theme.
Another example of their unique tech-forward experience, is the virtual tour of the property they have curated and posted on youtube. Take a tour to experience it for yourself.
2. Hotel 1000, Seattle, Washington - A Building Immersed In Technology
On the surface, Hotel 1000 seems like a modern luxury hotel with classic touches in design. It’s the details, however, that demonstrate how the entire building is immersed in technology. Each room, for example, is equipped with infrared sensors, which inform housekeeping if a guest is inside - a small touch that goes a long way to minimizing disturbances and saving housekeepers time.
The hotel has integrated environmental controls into its multimedia devices, meaning rooms are almost fully customizable to an individual guest’s preferences. A beautiful touchscreen allows visitors to play music, adjust temperatures and lighting, and even change the artwork in the room. Interactivity with devices carries over to the touch-screen phones, as well as the virtual golf simulator and game room.
Hotel 1000 deploys its technology in subtle ways that make a substantive impact, working to provide guests with almost total control over the experience of their stay. In a market where consumers have an increasing desire for personalization, Hotel 1000 has responded with a solution that bridges the gap between operational pragmatism and customer demand.
For a visual of how Hotel 1000 uses technology to offer a personalized experience to guests, watch this two-minute tour.
3. Marriott Hotels, National - A Brand Immersed In Technology
Marriott Hotels deserves special recognition across their entire chain for adopting new technologies and paving the way for innovation. Placing 19th in Forbes’ list of most innovative companies demonstrates just how focused the brand has been on embracing digital transformation over the past 10 years.
The technological experience with Marriott begins well before a guest ever enters a hotel. Marriott’s mobile app is a nearly full-service tool that members can use for many more things than simply earning and redeeming rewards. Marriott delivers tailored content to users at any stage of their travel, from planning their trip to remotely checking in or out of a hotel. Couple this with the tremendous loyalty program they have developed and it’s easy to see how the franchise is setting the standard for technology adoption in the hospitality industry.
But Marriott has shown it’s not content with simply owning the mobile experience; individual hotels are bringing a new level of innovation indoors. Its Anaheim, California location recently deployed SoftBank Robotics’ Pepper to act as a state-of-the-art concierge. The humanoid robot augments human staff by answering questions for guests, providing directions to local attractions, and educating visitors about different features and amenities that can make their stay unique. In addition, advanced systems have been installed to gather real-time customer feedback.
Marriott’s technology initiatives both outside and inside their hotels make them the leading innovator amongst the world’s biggest hospitality brands, and the results are demonstrable. They just raised their full-year profit forecast due to increased demand, and the business seems poised to continually exceed already lofty expectations.
For more information, you can watch a one-minute overview of Marriott’s approach to innovation.
The Future Looks Bright for Tech-Savvy Hotels
The hotel industry is regaining its strength and form as technology continues to bring efficiency and opportunity to buildings across the globe. In the US, Yotel, Hotel 1000, and Marriott have displayed a true tech savvy that has helped position them as leaders in the digital age while delivering a better personalized experience to each one of their guests. Their calculated investments have shown returns and have fostered a culture of innovation that will lay the groundwork of success in the decades to come.
Guests will continue to raise their expectations as consumer technologies advance and deliver more value through their personal devices, and hoteliers have a finite time frame to catch up. Thankfully, the technologies reshaping hospitality are ready for prime time and can help improve the guest experience safely and efficiently.