How to Use Tech to Enhance the Guest Experience
Technology is shaping hospitality design as hotels find new ways to adapt to sociocultural changes and personalize the guest experience. Smart features and gadgets—from dimmer switches to multifunctional spaces—are showing up in hotel interior design and redefining what constitutes a good stay.
However, hotels should avoid getting carried away when creating tech-savvy interiors. Not every guest wants to “plug in” when traveling. Some actually seek to disconnect from their tech-dominated lives. As always, balance is the key.
Following are five areas in which technology is having an impact on hotel design:
1. Smart Rooms / Connectivity
Today’s guests want multiple and conveniently located outlets and ports, on-demand video, streaming services and seamlessly integrated cross-compatible solutions, all of which depart from traditional hotel design and present infrastructure challenges. Tech-savvy guests enjoy using their smartphones to enter rooms and control lighting, temperature, blinds, and entertainment.
2. Front Desk / Flexibility
Wireless technology is altering the traditional front desk by enabling guests to make reservations, check in and check out using their smartphones. This tech-driven change frees up space in the front desk area, which can become part of a multiuse, living room-like lobby that attracts guests and enhances their experience.
Wireless personal devices allow guests to work and socialize anywhere in the hotel, requiring a floor plan that mixes public and private, small and large spaces throughout the lobby and other public areas.
3. Selfie Spaces / Self-Promotion
Today’s hotels need to consider their social media presence, not only in terms of profile pages and post activity but also in terms of how they photograph. What used to be a “Kodak Moment” has become the Instagram or Twitter selfie. “Selfie spaces” are appearing in hotels throughout the world, calling for designers to create ideal selfie spaces for guests, further engaging them and enhancing their guest experience while promoting the hotel in social media.
4. Interactive Digital Walls / Business & Pleasure
In person business meetings are being quickly replaced by video conference calls and digital presentations, prompting significant changes in traditionally designed hotel conference rooms and business centers. Designers must find creative yet practical ways to incorporate additional outlets and ports, adjustable lighting, adequate furniture and fixtures and, sometimes, interactive digital walls to facilitate virtual meetings.
Smart walls can entertain guests with art and games, provide access to news and weather reports, facilitate virtual business meetings, and aid tourism with maps to local shops, museums, restaurants, and sights.
5. The Stuff of Sci-Fi
While some hotels take the leap of tech into robotics, retina scan room entry and virtual experiences, Starwood Hotels & Resorts has been experimenting with smart bathroom mirrors featuring touchscreen buttons that allow guests to check weather reports, news headlines and sports scores. The company also is experimenting with voice-activated controls and working on smart floor tiles that map out a faint lighting pad from the bed to the bathroom and from the elevator to the room.
Improve Your Hotel’s Guest Experience
Customer experience nowadays is intrinsically intertwined with various technologies and the individualized experiences they offer. Hoteliers and hotel brand managers need to understand how to use technology to attract and engage guests, turning them into loyal customers and brand promoters.
To learn how technology is transforming the hospitality industry and how to use it to boost the guest experience to a new level, download this helpful guide: