You’ve just arrived in Tokyo after a long flight from Los Angeles, you’re hungry, you’re jetlagged — and now you’re stuck in traffic. Fortunately, your hotel notified you before departure that your smartphone can work as your room key by downloading a specific app, meaning you can skip out on the long-winded check-in and check-out process and head straight to your room. Plus, no more lost keys! You enter the room and – to your surprise and satisfaction, the room is fully equipped to cater to your jet lag; dim lights and cool room temperature, picked up from the settings in your smart home. Furthermore, everything is easily accessible and can be controlled from your phone – no wasted time spent on searching and figuring out the light switches, curtain controls and TV operations! After you wake up, you feel well-rested and a bit hungry you could try these out. There is a knock on the door and a hotel attendant has your favorite meal waiting for you, recognized from your most frequent orders on your app. You are told by the attendant who brings your food that by placing the tray outside of the door, room service is notified to pick it up (due to a sensor on the door and the tray) – this means no continuous calls to housekeeping! Suddenly you have a strong urge to brew some coffee, so you order a coffee pot to your room through your phone. The coffee pot arrives within minutes because every guest requested item is tracked in the hotel – fast and efficient! Before going out for the day, you decide to take a dip in the hotel for some relaxation. When you get back to your room, housekeeping came, cleaned and left all while you were out of the room – hassle free! This is where the hotel industry is headed. Seamless and connected.
While the above description of the “perfect stay” is more of an idea today, parts of this connected hotel concept is being implemented by several hotels. Hospitality companies are becoming more equipped for guests by analyzing internal and external data sources. This data collection allows for more of an understanding between the hotel and the guest, which creates an unbeatable and seamless experience. According to Barb Darrow, a writer for Fortune.com, “A Microsoft executive cited data at a recent hospitality technology conference, that confirms my experience, noting that a typical hotel guest takes 12 minutes to figure out the thermostat, lights and TV controls in a hotel room.” If hotels get their hands on this data and more, they will have the ability to cater the design of the rooms and overall experience to be more guest-friendly. With increasing competition from companies like AirBnB and HomeAway, hotels must continue to adapt and implement concepts like the connected hotel to remain competitive and drive repeat customers!