There is no doubt that technology is changing how we stay at hotels. From booking to check-in to check-out and enjoyment of all the amenities in-between, the hospitality industry, like most others, has been impacted by high-tech. In no population is that truer than with business people utilizing hotels for their conferences or travels. But which aspects of technology matter most to them, and why?
Connectivity is key. Contemporary consumer expectations are being fueled by the immense power of IoT in most every industry, and hotels are no exception. It is not just about having a strong Wi-Fi connection in every room anymore. Using data acquisition that connectivity makes possible can help hotels not only understand consumer needs but also begin to predict those evolving needs. Today’s advanced technology can track issues like travel behavior and amenities preferences to satisfy current customers, drive future bookings, and even impact both short- and long-term renovation plans. Data is arguably the most critical asset to any brand, and leveraging that data is critical to attracting business guests.
Who are today’s hotel-frequenting business people? Two populations emerge in current hospitality trends: the global middle class (which has expanded, especially in Europe and Asia), and Millennials. The growth of both groups has impacted how hotels function, and technology has a central role to play here, if hotels hope to entice these folks into their facilities. As noted, connectivity is critical, but to reach future international guests, the integration of mobile tech, in particular its location-based aspect, is a big draw for these potential customers. The use of social media in marketing has also shown to attract estimates of up to 50 percent of some major hotels’ international bookings.
With Millennials occupying the fastest growing sector of business guests, it’s smart to know what they desire most. As a group, this generation trends toward spontaneity, hence mobile research and booking availability are important. Known for their emphasis on the experiential, Millennial business guests will also appreciate the integration of various technologies to enhance their experiences during their stay. And amenities that have been improved by high-tech, such as state-of-the-art fitness facilities and personalized menu choices that integrate vegan and other specialized diets, will also satisfy this group’s interest in wellness.
It is impossible to cover all the ways that technology is changing hotel operations. The old clunky armoire with the huge television has been removed in lieu of a sleeker wall-mounted set, for example, allows for more creative uses for hotel space. The list is long, and will keep growing, because, rest assured, the industry will continue to change in this dynamic era of technology innovation.