No Reservation for Innovation: Hotels Power Into Digital Age With New Features

Consumers expect an experience that is easy and convenient when staying at a hotel. What guests want, and need has long been a catalyst for innovation in the hotel industry. Here is a look at the hotel industry’s history of innovation and what might be coming next.

Milestones in the 20th Century

In the first half of the 20th century, hotels were establishing many ways to offer convenience and comfort. Electricity was introduced in 1910 and shortly after, bathrooms were commonplace in rooms, replacing communal ones. By the 1940s, TVs were first placed in rooms.

Innovation rapidly occurred from the 1950s to 2000, from the first reservation systems to telephones designed specifically for hotel rooms. Reservations made by credit card begin in the 1980s as the precursor to online booking.

The 21st Century Ignites Innovation

After the turn of the century, hotels began to add several features online. By 2003, most hotels had Wi-Fi, which was followed by hotel apps that provided guests the ability to do everything from making reservations to requesting in-room amenities.

Since then, technology has delivered many significant developments for all stakeholders from self-check-in to robotics.


Check-In and Check-Out with Less Wait

How necessary is it for a guest to check-in with a staff member? Usually it is not if the room is pre-booked. With touchscreen kiosks, hotels now allow guests to check-in, which includes the ability to leave a credit card on file. The kiosk then provides the keycards. Upon check-out, the visitor can print out a copy of the bill and deposit cards. This process saves time and alleviates the frustration of waiting.


Robots and Automation

Robots could be greeting guests at the hotels of the future. The industry sees real potential with 22 percent of hotels considering them as a possibility, according to Hospitality Magazine. [1] One way in which robots are currently serving guests is with amenity delivery. Aloft Hotels and Hilton properties have been experimenting with the robotic concierge idea.


Hilton, teaming with IBM, has created “Connie,” which uses cognitive technology to interact with visitors, processing information so it can adapt and provide better service. This machine learning will be critical in getting guests what they need without the wait.

As hotels look to stay competitive, technology will play a key role. Technology improves guest satisfaction and can help the property run more efficiently. It’s a win-win for all stakeholders in the world of hospitality.



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