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How to improve the guest experience with hotel networking

Last updated on July 1, 2024

Hotel networking can be a game-changer when it comes to improving guest experience. After all, technology has grown at such a pace that there are many ways in which hotels can use technology to improve the guest experience and increase their revenues.  

We’ve scoured the globe to uncover the latest and greatest hotel technology trends of 2024. So, let’s break into the comms rooms, peel back the cables and see why investing in your hotel’s technology makes sense. Here are 11 ideas to improve guest experience with hotel networking. 

1. Energy positive hotels 

The concept of energy-positive hotels is to use wind and solar energy to power their property and hotel technology while producing more energy than they need. In this way, excess energy is available for the benefit of others in the local community. Norwegian-based Hotel Svart, is one of the pioneers of this environmentally conscious and innovation-oriented concept. Located in the Arctic Circle and with a circular shape, Svart’s rooftop solar panels will receive ample sunlight throughout the day, particularly during the summer, saving 85% of its annual energy consumption whilst providing the hotel’s energy needs.  

2. Smart hotels 

A smart hotel uses Internet of Things (IoT) powered smart electronic devices. Because IoT devices connect to the internet, they can both send and receive guest data. This helps to improve communication whilst delivering a truly personalised guest experience. Examples of IoT devices include smart security systems, facial recognition, smart door locks, smart sensors, and smart mirrors.  

Smart security system technology covers a range of areas. 

  • Hotel surveillance camera systems combined with advanced video analytics can secure your hotel premises and keep your guests safe from theft and other crimes by tracking visitors and preventing break-ins. Biometric authentication, such as facial recognition or fingerprints may also be worth considering, especially if there are specific areas that you do not wish all your guests or staff to access.  

  • Facial recognition technology uses facial analysis and biometric methods to identify and verify people. Commonplace in smartphone technology, facial recognition is becoming important for hotels too. Hotels are using facial recognition for security, restricting parts of their property to specific staff and guests, whilst also using it to improve service delivery and payment security. In some hotels, it has become so popular that guests no longer need to carry around a physical key or keycard. 

  • Smart door locks are one of the safest ways for hotels to improve security. Powered by electronic lock technology, guests can access their rooms by either using an app within their smartphone or a digital key. Because digital keys can't be duplicated, the hotel security team are able to track access and remotely de-activate each digital key at any time if their security has been compromised.  

  • Smart sensors enable hotels to increase their energy efficiency and reduce their energy costs, by, for example, controlling in-room air conditioning so that it automatically switches off once the room has reached a specific temperature. 

  • Smart mirrors offer personalised content and media via a touch-screen display. This is a great example of a smart device because it enhances its original purpose by providing a customised guest experience. Hotel staff can use the smart mirror to create a personalised guest greeting to welcome them or explain how to get the best out of the smart mirror. It is, after all, more than a gimmick. Guests can use the smart mirror to check the weather forecast, time, date, news updates and some top traveller tips.  

The Marriott hotel chain pioneered the use of smart mirrors in their IoT Guestroom Lab. It helps guests in lots of ways, for example, from starting a yoga routine in front of a full-length mirror to asking for additional housekeeping. 

3. Interactive TV systems 

Interactive TV systems provide a wealth of opportunities for hotels to enhance their guest’s stay and, at the same time, increase their revenue. By integrating your hotel’s Property Management System (PMS) with your Interactive TV system, then you will be able to: 

  • Welcome the guest by name, reference the length of their stay and even suggest personalised content to suit the guest.

  • Customise a group booking so that each guest under that booking receives similar information and content. 

  • Include a range of products and services to promote on the TV system, such as a TV meal deal (that could include wine and fancy popcorn!), spa treatments, table bookings or in-room food deliveries. Guests are more likely to make additional purchases when they are at ease, which is why offering additional products and services to them when they are in the comfort of their own room makes commercial sense. 

  • Introduce a guest experience rating system on your TV. Your PMS system should inform you of any low scores whilst the guest is still in your hotel, allowing you to address any problems before the guest leaves the building or, even worse, leave a review on TripAdvisor.  

Learn more: What is a hotel PMS? 

4. In-room screen sharing

When they are in their own home, your guests will be at liberty to stream a plethora of apps such as Netflix, Prime Video, Spotify, Disney Channel and YouTube, which, unless you are a large chain, presents you with a problem. Because apps like Netflix are illegal in the commercial environment due to licensing issues and the risk of guests’ personal information being accessed by others. While Netflix has licensing agreements with some of the largest hotel chains, it hasn’t yet found a way to roll this out for smaller hotels. An alternative would be to allow your guests to enjoy their room by screen sharing. In this way, they log into their mobile phone, tablet or laptop and connect to your hotel TV, which sends them a link through a casting app installed on your TV. Casting apps come with a range of functionality, from a simple, cost-effective casting solution for small and budget hotels to all-in-one sharing devices that can offer screen casting and screen mirroring.

5. State of the art conference facilities

If you are fortunate enough to offer conference facilities, then consider some of these game-changing ideas:

  • Digital whiteboards - A digital whiteboard is a cloud-based solution that enables virtual attendees to participate in a session as if they were in your conference suite. Anyone with a bright idea can take control of the digital whiteboard and contribute content regardless of whether they are in the room or not.  
  • Meeting room displays – These are now commonly employed to show each room’s availability and, or an agenda. This is particularly useful when the facilities are being used to hold more than one workshop or presentation.  
  • Voice-recognition technology – A real game-changer. Voice recognition can work much like Alexa or Siri and can be configured to control most aspects of your facilities, including lighting, music, and blinds.
  • Wireless connectivity – Standard in all modern offices, wireless connectivity will allow guests to connect their personal devices, such as smartphones and laptops, to the conference room equipment.
  • Smart lights – Smart lights offer a level of lighting flexibility that can enhance the guest experience whilst reducing your energy consumption and improving safety and security.

6. Digital signage  

The increase of digital signage in the hospitality industry has driven down prices and created a range of affordable options for digital menu boards, information boards and stunning video walls. Digital signage offers some great benefits:

  • Inform and interact with your guests – Well-placed digital signage in your reception, public areas and conference spaces enables you to promote specific products and services while informing them of important information from weather forecasts to restaurant availability, local transportation options, and check-out times.  
  • Increase staff efficiency – Digital signage systems are often cloud-based, meaning they can be customised and updated in real-time from anywhere in the world. You can increase staff efficiency by using the signage to publicise frequently asked questions whilst reducing and avoiding interruptions.  
  • Increase your sales and reduce your marketing costs - Digital signage is a great way of promoting special offers (from 2-4-1 Afternoon Tea to Happy Hour at the bar), enabling you to up-sell and cross-sell to your customer base. Having digital collateral at your fingertips will reduce your reliance on expensive print collateral.  

7. Self-service technology

Contactless check-in technology, check-in kiosks, contactless payments and keyless entries are great examples of how technology has created a self-service experience. It empowers guests, giving them more control, whilst offering them the freedom and flexibility to customise their stay, without the disruption of a long conversation with hotel staff or waiting to be served. Let’s look at a few examples; contactless payments and mobile check-in.

Contactless payments now play an important role in the hotel experience, improving the speed of transactions whilst offering a more hygienic solution to processing a physical payment. The beauty of contactless, is that it offers customers the choice of payment options since they can use their debit or credit card, mobile wallet or wearable device.  

Mobile check-in allows customers to check in using a mobile app. This can help hotels move away from having set times where guests need to check in, because the check-in process can be carried out without human interaction. In this way, mobile check-in shares similarities with contactless payments since both aim to reduce friction for customers. 

8. Virtual reality and augmented reality

Recent advances in virtual reality (VR) have made it easy for hotels to prepare virtual reality tours for their guests. Hotels are finding them particularly useful for organisers of large groups, conferences and events because they are able to get a real feel for what’s on offer, including whether the space, equipment and technology will meet their needs.  Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, is a boutique hotel proudly showing its rooms and facilities through carefully curated 3D tours to sell its rooms and event facilities.  

Technology developments have meant that standard web browsers can host virtual reality tours on a computer, mobile, or tablet, although nothing beats a dedicated virtual reality headset!

Augmented reality can enhance the physical environment of the guest through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Hotels are using this technology to offer in-house interactive elements such as maps and points of interest, supplying guests with relevant information when they are located within certain areas of the hotel, such as details about the artwork that they are passing, or featuring special offers as pass the hotel restaurant or spa. 

9. Voice searches

The rise of commercial products such as Alexa and Siri has increased the level of technology behind voice searches. There are more products available. The level of detail incorporated into the voice programming is more sophisticated. Voice search is now at a point where it can add value to a hotel operation. Guests can, for example, make reservations from their room, or immediately contact staff members using dedicated voice-activated applications.

10. Hotel robots

Leading hotels in the tech space are already creating an infrastructure where robots can operate within their hotels. It is a fascinating technology trend. Some hotels use robots to greet guests upon arrival, provide tourist information on a 24/7 basis, and assist with luggage transportation, security, room service, and restaurant waiting. They are also used to perform housekeeping activities, such as vacuuming floors and killing germs. From an infrastructure perspective, it is important the robots have access to secure maintenance and charging bays.  

11. Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest version of Wi-Fi. Compared with other Wi-Fi standards, Wi-Fi 6 is best equipped to deal with a heavy load, in a busy location, which means it’s ideal for hotels. The capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 will help with a growing number of connections, especially IoT devices. With Wi-Fi 6, more devices can be connected to the hotel Wi-Fi and still perform as expected, facilitating video streaming, web browsing, smart device usage, and much more. In fact, the data rate improvement associated with Wi-Fi 6 is estimated to be greater than 30% and throughput improvement over a network is likely to be 300%.  

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