The discussion about technology has changed immensely over the past several years, and hoteliers worldwide have received the message: all guests, millennial, gen z, or otherwise, want mobile tech included in their experience. While the main conversation is about adjusting to consumer needs, there's a more prescient matter on the table for properties in development: considering technology in the design stages to stay ahead.
Businesses should be ostensibly "future-proofing" their properties, considering that technology and user expectation for more privacy and a customizable experience have taken precedent. A guest's hotel stay is no longer just about the brick-and-mortar aspects, it's now extended out to an entire brand experience. When it comes to designing for the modern traveler, designers need to be up-to-date with the latest in emerging technology usage when crafting a space. It's no longer enough to flaunt location or chic interiors, hotels need to be looking ahead to build out an extra level of functionality for their tech-savvy guests.
There are easy solutions for the future-proofing dilemma that hoteliers are facing, it takes finding the best tools for the property. There are now emerging platforms in the technology marketplace that can provide guests with instant control over their experience: mobile check-in, keyless entry, streaming music, and reservation management available through an accompanying app. If hoteliers install an in-room tablet component that marries all of the things, the user desires are met for a seamless visit. The additional perk of hospitality platforms is that they do all of the above, while providing the hotel numerous behind-the-scenes capabilities to manage operations, and stay ahead of guests' needs.
It's far more cost-effective to consider technology in the development stages of a new property than to make changes down the road. As it stands, more than 50% of hotels are making guestroom technology upgrades a priority, so why shouldn't this aspect of the guest experience be factored at the design-level of development? According to HT's 2016 Lodging Technology Study, 54% of hotels are devoting more of their spends on technology to match escalating guest expectations. If tech specs are factored into the construction as a proactive measure, the costs are far significantly lower than knocking into completed walls, dealing with lock upgrades, or the associated costs that go into redoing Internet and in-room controls infrastructure. Playing with these aspects in advance invites more creativity and can save money in the short term.
Once technology factors are integrated, new levels of guest experience can be optimized. The physical flow of mobile check-in, the casual sleekness of in-room design with the tablet- these subtle tweaks epitomize how people are defining and value luxury. Additionally, there's money on the table when considering that technology can provide upsell points tied to geolocation or time of day, or analyzing the guest's experience for potential recovery should any hiccups occur while they're still on the property. The LBMA 2017 Global Transitions Trends Report found that 25% of marketing budgets are spent on location-based marketing, and over 50% of brands are using location data to target their customer base. There are literally 10s of millions in ad revenue up for grabs if hotels use localization and customer targeting with in-room tablets to connect guests with local culture- neighborhood dining, must-see events, and finding various hidden gems.
Considering investing in technology during the design process of a new hotel property can only promote innovative ideation, allow hotel brands to expand on their experience, and save on installation costs. With the rise of Airbnb and the litany of problems that come with its scattershot approach to "quality," the designers behind tomorrow's hotels have an opportunity to elevate the brand experience by factoring in how users engage with tech.
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Robert Stevenson is a seasoned tech and entertainment executive with over 20 years’ experience across a number of disciplines. An early investor in KEYPR, he’s served as Chief Executive Officer since July 2017. Prior to joining KEYPR, Robert served as Head of Content Strategy at Facebook for Oculus, the world’s largest VR & AR platform. He also served as Chief Product Officer at GAIKAI, under Sony, where he led the brain trust behind PlayStation Now, the world’s largest game streaming service. When Robert is not focused on building great businesses, he spends his time with family, friends and fine wine… often in combination.
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