When it comes to the use of technology to entice new customers and retain old ones, the hotel industry has certainly stepped up to the plate and for good reason. Internet travel booking revenue has grown by more than 73% over the past five years and it's no secret that travellers are increasingly looking to browse, make reservations and manage their bookings through a range of devices - after all, 65% of same day hotel bookings are now made from a smartphone.
However, as well as streamlining the booking process, hotel technology is also being used to personalise and perfect the guest experience. And when you consider the fact that Millennials, a demographic who are more in tune with technology than any other, are set to surpass the Baby Boomers as the generation spending the most on travel by 2017, it's not hard to see why 54% of hotels will be investing more on technology this year.
So, what are the key trends in hotel technology that you need to know about right now?
1. Payment and data security
Hospitality Technology found that the top priority identified by hotels for technology spending in 2016 is beefing up their payment and data security. Guest privacy has become more of a challenge thanks to the ever-increasing sophistication of hackers and data piracy - intrusion detection and prevention remains vital.
2. Smart controls
Leading hotel chains such as Hilton, Starwood and Marriott hotels now offer guests the opportunity to utilise their smartphones to control lighting, temperature and access their rooms and different areas of the hotel. We predict full personalisation of rooms to emerge on the horizon with apps to pre-set and select amenities for rooms in the future.
Marriott and Starwood hotels put beacon technology to use in slightly different ways this year. From allowing guests to stay informed of discounts and deals on their mobile devices as they passed by strategically positioned beacons to keeping house-keeping informed of when rooms were vacant, the possibilities for beacons in the hotel industry have unprecedented potential.
Tech industry market research firm Trendforce predict that sales of VR headsets are set to rise to 38 million in 2020. Virtual reality offers guests the chance to explore a hotel before they make a booking. Additionally, Marriott demonstrated the potential of VR to the travel industry as a whole with their 'Travel Brilliantly' campaign where users could virtually visit eight cities all over the world.
5. Integrating mobile data
Hotels are developing their use of data to create the sort of personalised experiences that travellers want. Intelligently integrating mobile and reservation data can help upsell customers and offer valuable insights into guests behaviour that can create strong relationships moving forward.