There was a significant increase in the number of 'smart' hotels entering the market in 2015, according to hotel search engine Trivago. However, what are smart hotels and how can they improve the holiday experience?
Smart hotels offer their guests more than just the latest tablet or television. They utilise technology in smart ways to simplify the guest experience and to provide a stay that is akin to being at home. Hotels can't offer the fine detail that Airbnb apartments can – but that's where smart technology comes in, making the guest feel like they are staying in a home from home in other ways.
Smart technology also has the power to wow guests – offering unique experiences that they'd struggle to find anywhere else. Let's look at a few examples found by the Independent to help explain what we mean:
3D holographic technology
We thought voice over IP (VoIP) technology was pretty impressive. That was until we got wind of 3D holographic technology. The NH Collection Eurobuilding hotel in Madrid has gone big on the technology, making it the first in the world to be able to project life-size holographic 3D images of people to talk to live, no matter where they are in the world. You'd never have to go home – your friends and family will be the same room as you (or as good as).
Virtual reality technology
As we and many others believe, 2016 is the year in which virtual reality (VR) technology will finally catch on. With that in mind, Marriott has tested a "VRoom Service" in two of its New York and London hotels that allows guests to order in-room virtual experiences using Samsung Gear VR headsets, much as you would a movie on the TV. Meanwhile, Qantas has been testing the same technology on flights and in its airport lounges, to see if it has any benefits for its passengers as they wait to get to their destination.
Have you ever wanted to view and book a day trip whilst en route to your destination? Thomson Airways believes passengers have been calling out for a means to contact staff members in destination resorts in order to glean resort recommendations and book excursions. Thomson has equipped its 2,600 cabin crew with iPads with this in mind, meaning you only need ask from the comfort of your seat to find out all the options available to you when you land. Commenting on the initiative, the company's Jeremy Osborne said: "[We're] personalising our service and modernising the customer's experience during every step of their journey, from booking to beach."
So, it's evident that smart technology is not only making travelling easier, but more exciting. And we've not seen half its potential yet.