Hotel Technology: Guest Preferences

What Types of Hotel Technology Do Guests Prefer?

self-service hotel technology

The Hospitality Industry has undergone a transformation in recent years, with more hotels investing heavily in technology.  At first the investment in technology was a response to the pandemic, as hotels took safety precautions to limit interaction between employees and guests.  But now hotel technology is a must have that is helping hotels to weather staffing shortages, as hotels no longer have the manpower to deliver guest experiences the way they did in the past.

Hotels are turning to technology such as mobile check-in, mobile key, and self-service kiosks to fill gaps caused by the labor shortage and to meet guest expectations of a fast and convenient check-in experience.  According to the AHLA’s latest survey, 82% of hotels surveyed were experiencing staffing shortages and 26% considered those shortages to be severe.  Although, 64% of hotels are offering more flexible hours and 36% are expanding benefits, 87% of hotels are still unable to fill open positions.

In addition to managing staffing shortages, hotels will also have to cater to the influx of travelers this year.  Consumers are more likely to travel in 2023 than in previous years, according to the National Booking Index survey research commissioned by the AHLA.  60% of adults are likely to take more leisure trips in 2023 than they did in the prior year and 45% of business travelers are likely to take more business-related trips in 2023.  Investing in technology has become a necessity for hotels to meet guest expectations and to stay afloat while they wait for employees to return.

Hotel Technology is in High Demand

contactless check-in solutions

Self-service technology is in high demand, 73% of travelers were more likely to stay at hotels that offered self-service technology.  Guests also want more control of their hotel experience, 38% wanted a fully self-service model, with staff only available upon request. So, it makes sense that hotels would put the investment of hotel technology high on their list of priorities.  54% of hoteliers reported that their highest priority is to adopt technology that improves or eliminates the need for the front desk experience between now and 2025, according to an Oracle Hospitality and Skift survey.

According to the survey, below are the most popular technology that travelers would like to be permanently adopted within 3 years.

1.     Contactless check-in and check-out – 53.6%
2.     Contactless payments – 49.1%
3.     Mobile guest services – 39.3%
4.     Work-from-anywhere hotel deals – 27.1%
5.     Less frequent room cleaning – 17.1%
6.     Work from hotel common spaces – 16.4%

Must-have technology according to guests that would create a more amazing hotel stay.

1.     On-demand entertainment access – 43.2%
2.     Voice controls – 34.4%
3.     Use my own devices for hotel access – 25.4%
4.     Automated comfort controls – 17.6%
5.     Smart mirrors/interactive walls to replace TVs – 12.4%
6.     Facial recognition and biometrics – 12.3%
7.     Touchless, wearable sensors – 9.1%
8.     Virtual reality consoles in the room – 7.8%

Hotels Have Increased Investments in Technology

Travelers want the convenience of hotel technology during their hotel stays and more hotels are making the investment.  The 2023 Lodging Technology Study surveyed 18,000 properties worldwide and discovered that hoteliers are embracing contactless/self-service technology.  The study found that 88% of hoteliers currently offer or plan to offer contactless payments in 2023 and 90% of hoteliers felt that contactless payments had high potential for the Hospitality Industry.  Mobile and other hotel technology allow hotels to streamline their operations and offer guests a seamless hotel experience.

Popular Hotel Technology

Hotel TV system

Contactless and Mobile Technology

Almost 54% of guests would like to see more hotels adopt contactless check-in and check-outs.  Contactless technology such as mobile check-in and mobile key allow guests to check-in from anywhere and removes the need for guests to wait in line, verify their identities and complete lengthy paperwork.  Guests can arrive at hotels and go directly to their rooms, mobile key allows guests to access their guestrooms and do not require guests to carry a physical key card.  These technologies significantly improve the check-in process and allows hotel employees to focus on other important duties.  Guests can also use mobile key to access elevators and conference rooms and enables hotels to control access to specific areas of the hotel.

Contactless Payments and Digital Menus

Contactless payments allow guests to pay for their hotel expenses with the use of their mobile devices.  This removes the need for guests to carry cash or to physically touch payment terminals.  Contactless payment technology utilizes mobile payments, NFC (near-field communication), and QR codes to enable guests to make payments from their mobile devices.  Contactless payments are highly convenient, 49% of guests are in favor of hotels providing contactless payments for its convenience.  Hotels have also began investing in digital menus, which allows guests to access menus, place orders and make payments directly from their mobile devices.  Guests can place orders from the convenience of their guestrooms or anywhere on the hotel property without the need to visit or to contact the front desk.

In-Room Technology

73% of travelers were more likely to stay at hotels that offered self-service technology, hotels can invest in in-room technology to provide guests with the technology experience that they want.  Allowing guests to use their mobile devices to control their comfort level is highly popular among travelers.  Guests can use mobile devices or a voice control assistant to control the room temperature, the lighting, the curtains, and the hotel TV.  Smart TVs is another popular option that allows guests to place room service orders, scan menus and hotel services and to check-out directly from the hotel TV.

How can Hotels Maintain a Human Touch?

More hotels are planning to invest in technology, almost 54% of hoteliers plan to utilize technology to streamline the front desk experience in the next three years.  As more hotels invest in technology that streamlines the check-in process, the role of the front desk associate will change.  Front desk associates will become lobby ambassadors, who will greet guests and make themselves available to answer any questions that guests may have.  This is a great way to still offer guests that personal touch that may have been removed by contactless technology.  Providing guests with contactless and mobile technology will help hotels to fill gaps caused by the staffing shortages, as well as offer guests the convenient and high-tech hotel experience that that want.

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