Virtual reality is becoming a trend amongst hotels. Hospitality Tech confirmed Marriott piloted a virtual reality headsets program at two properties that enabled guests to take virtual trips to exotic locations. Handy Travels explains the hotel introduced an in-destination VR service called VRoom Service which guests can use for 24 hours. The VR devices are loaded with "VR postcards", which provide guests with travel inspiration, showcasing people's first hand travel experiences. This has the potential to encourage new holiday bookings and even experiences offered in-destination. 2018 will see the rise of Virtual Reality, which will become the norm for hotels. Guests will not only want to familiarize themselves with the location pre check-in but also experience local activities before booking them. In HT's study, 14 percent of hoteliers said they think personal holograms have real-world potential as property concierges/guides.
IoT: Internet of Things
Hospitality use of Internet of Things technology can already be seen in Disney's MagicBands and guest room control systems, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. IoT will expand to enhance both guest experience and operations efficiency in everything from deploying staff where guests are congregating to preventing equipment breakdowns. On exhibit at CES this year, for example, was a sensor that measured UV risk at its specific location and advised when to reapply sun-screen; imagine this sensor embedded into a hotel pool chair. Hotel brands have considered IoT platforms due to better cost efficiencies and enhanced guest experience. Hilton, for example, has built a beta test room control for selected hotels.
They are looking to build a brand new hotel room with built-in voice control, temperature and lighting settings that are controlled via a custom app, available on the guests smartphone.
By 2021 the number of people using messaging apps to communicate will reach 2.5 billion according to Statista report, making messaging a primary form of communication. Brands such as IHG Group and Hyatt are already using third party social media messaging platforms, while others such as Marriott have built apps to facilitate instant messaging. Notably as hotels attempt to engage guests through this technology, travel agencies are also entering this space to drive loyalty. Technology providers are looking to integrate chat with hotel systems. Chat communication is just another digital channel hotels can use to increase guest engagement and communication. Through a smartphone amenity with an app for example, we should see more engagement opportunities than just to change booking details, such as pre-stay and post-stay communication.
22 percent of hotels in HT's study said robots have real potential in this industry. Relay robotic concierge from Savioke was named first runner-up "Most Innovative Hospitality Technology" at HTNG's 2016 TechOvation Awards. Relay autonomously delivers amenities to guest rooms, and the technology is already being used at select Aloft Hotels. In a similar move, Hilton Worldwide has teamed with IBM to pilot its robot concierge, "Connie." Connie uses cognitive technology to process information as it interacts with guests, enabling it to adapt and improve recommendations as it learns.