Providing outstanding customer service in the hospitality sector has always been a critical success factor for any establishment, whether for a global hotel chain or a local motel. It involves understanding the customers, their expectations, and their true needs and desires.
The ideal customer service experience consists of the delivery of seamless and personalized services with utmost excellence and care - precisely when the customer is expecting such services. While technology is helping immensely in extending the services and offerings in today’s world, it is also expanding the horizons of customer expectations. Things that used to be ‘beyond imagination’ only a mere decade or so ago are now part of the expectation and desire. Hospitality and Hotel industry is no stranger to such rapidly augmenting tech scene, and we recently wrote a blog about how the need to embrace technology (especially in the context of In Building Wireless connectivity) is getting dire by the day. Hilton Group, for example, is a perfect example of a global chain that is adopting new technologies and embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) in their In-Building Connectivity System to drive higher customer satisfaction and excellence in experience.
The technology powering the Internet of Things (IoT) is already transforming many industries; hospitality is no different. The customer expectations are broadening by the day and so is their behavior. With the rise of mobile adoption and wireless sensor technologies, the IoT market is hitting a tipping point. It’s no surprise that the hospitality and hotel industry is in a position to benefit from the adoption and integration of the new technologies in not only pleasing its customers but also in improving operational efficiencies, increasing revenue, and reducing expenses. Some examples are:
- A smart energy management system that can be positioned in the guest rooms that would automatically alter the room temperatures and turn off lights and TV when the rooms are unoccupied. This would help reduce energy consumption.
- Such intelligence in the energy management system will allow the guests to adjust the lights and temperatures, and open curtains in the room using voice integration - without leaving the comfort of their bed.
- They could also be able to do so while they’re out and about using an app. Such convenience can undoubtedly help boost the levels of guest satisfaction.
- The guests will also be able to connect with the room service, adjust room functions, order movies, listen to any music and so much more without leaving their hotel rooms - and in turn, create an at-home feel.
- Sensors in the guest rooms and the data they fetch can be used to automatically notify maintenance and the management when assets show distress, thereby saving money through issue-identification before it becomes costlier.
- There is also a possibility of providing content personalization by allowing the system to memorize a guest’s specific comfort preferences and automatically set up the room for their next stay or visit. Adding such personal touch (before, during and after the stay) helps in establishing lasting customer relationships.
The hotel guests are demanding more technology every year to keep up with their busy lives. Internet of Things can be used to bring the highest level of comfort and convenience for the guests and revolutionize the hospitality industry. Additionally, Internet of Things in the hospitality industry helps hotels to cut down expenses and adds an innovative touch to the general guest experience.
The hotels endure constant challenges in maintaining the same levels of comfort and satisfaction for their customers, and a smart guest room could be the solution to this (and a norm) in the coming few years. Guests will come to expect more automation to heighten the experience of their stay and the Internet of Things is positioned to do exactly that. Currently, IoT products such as the LED lighting help in detecting natural light in the guest rooms and assist in adjusting the brightness. The LED lighting is just one of the many smart products that make the guests’ stay worthwhile ("Major technology trends revolutionizing the hospitality industry | Hotelogix", 2017).
Pre-empting customer needs, through understanding their behavior is key to providing customer service and ensuring repeat and loyal customers. The smartphones alone are not going to fix the hospitality businesses that do not have an excellent customer service reputation. The Internet of Things and ideal technologies, in addition to an excellence in customer service, will help the hotels to better understand their operations, fix the loopholes, explore possibilities, and gain competitive advantages.
The Samsung’s LYNK Hospitality Management Solution, for instance, provides a robust tool for automating guest rooms. The system combines intelligent room management, energy management, in-room controls and content management services in one user-friendly platform (Gregory, 2016). To make the check-in process as seamless as possible, the Hilton Group plans to use digital keys that are automatically sent to customers once their rooms are ready before they check-in.
By adopting location-aware technologies such as beacons allows the hotels to detect when a guest enters the hotel, thereby enables an automatic registration. By adopting technologies like this, hotels can blot out the traditional and highly-manual check-in process and provide guests with much faster and more comfortable check-in alternatives. There is no doubt that IoT is improving business efficiencies and maintaining and reducing operational costs. They key to such adoption? Enabling the hotel premises by installing adequate In Building Wireless (IBW) capabilities and infrastructure and getting it truly ready to explore all the possibilities that IoT has to offer. When the tap is clogged, the water cannot flow freely no matter how pure and good that water is. Regardless of how great all the potentials of IoT are, the businesses cannot take full advantage of it without ensuring the In-Building-Wireless connectivity is at its utmost stage. DAS (Distributed Antenna System), Small Cells, and Enterprise WiFi systems can collectively help these premises get ready to handle the capacity the IoT will demand.