Some hospitality technology trends come and go and others cause a digital disruption and become widely adopted. In the last few years, we’ve seen the pandemic fuel most of the latest tech trends. Challenging times catalyze ingenuity and the hotel industry has innovated more in the past 6-months than industry leaders projected over the next 6-years.
Deloitte’s 2022 Tech Report suggests that; “It would be a mistake to view them (trends) as a direct response to COVID-19 disruption. Rather than reorienting businesses’ goals, the pandemic has simply put an exclamation mark on existing priorities.”
For those of us who keep an eye on hotel technology trends, we looked at how hospitality businesses are automating, abstracting, and outsourcing their business processes to increasingly powerful tech tools.
RoomRaccoon compiled a list of trends that we believe are worth watching in 2022.
What is hospitality technology?
Hospitality technology is an umbrella term to describe a wide range of applications, software tools, systems, IT resources, and similar solutions within the hospitality industry. As with all tech solutions, the purpose is intended to make routine tasks easier for hospitality workers and to improve the overall experience for hospitality customers.
For instance, when a mundane task like creating and sending an invoice is automated, you save a lot of time. And at the same time, your customer enjoys fast and efficient service. It’s a win-win.
Hospitality tech typically does one of three things:
- Automate processes to increase efficiency; saving you time and costs;
- Generate more revenue with smart tools, data collection, and analysis; and
- Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Why are hospitality technology trends important to follow for companies operating in the industry?
Not every new tech solution that arrives on the market is right for your business. But it’s important to keep an eye out for hospitality technology trends. Why? Because your competitors may have invested in the latest technology, giving them a significant competitive advantage over you. This is especially true if they adopt technology that appeals to customers, while you continue as normal. Simultaneously, technology enables hotels to quickly adapt SOPs in hyper volatile markets and is the key to unlocking new operating models.
Naturally, as new trends emerge and as technology becomes widely used, your customers are going to start to expect to see certain things. This makes hospitality tech essential for living up to customer expectations.
A recent example is leveraging contactless technology during the pandemic. Hospitality businesses that adopted contactless technology were able to keep their doors open by promoting safety for both staff and customers. Think about restaurants that added their menus to Uber Eats and hotels that started offering online check-in.
Top 5 Impactful Hotel Technology Trends in 2022
Over the past century, hotels and other accommodation properties have increasingly adopted technology to help them stay competitive and get their inventory front and center on distribution channelslike Booking.com. However, the pandemic brought an entirely new set of challenges.
The good news is that cloud-based property management systems (PMS) were able to tackle these challenges. For example;
- Creating a safe experience for guests and staff
- Maintaining a high level of service with less staff and cash flow
- Meeting guest expectations as they evolve
- Adjusting pricing and distribution in a time of tough competition and less demand
It’s expected that even more hotels will take the leap into the future by implementing low-cost cloud-based systems that are not shackled by legacy limitations. This means that a hotel manager is able to manage his/her daily operations remotely and can easily integrate the property’s PMS with other applications through APIs to stay competitive and meet guest expectations as they evolve.
What should you consider when shopping for a cloud-based property management system in 2022?
Accommodation managers have a buffet of PMS solutions to choose from. However, many solutions are just that; a PMS solution. What about capturing direct bookings on your website? And managing your rates and availability across multiple distribution channels?
You could install a booking engine and channel manager from different vendors or you could invest in an all-in-one solution that comes complete with a property management system, channel manager, booking engine, and revenue manager.
2. Guest room technology
In-room hospitality technology trends give guests more of what they want to ensure they come back time and again. Consider incorporating the latest technology into your experience as you revamp your hotel strategy for the year ahead.
Guest room technology may seem like a ‘nice to have’ but most of the time it can result in major cost-saving for hotels and other accommodation businesses.
For example, smart showers with water and energy usage reduction are subtle enough that guests won’t really notice but powerful enough to cut down as much as 30% of your water consumption per room.
Interactive devices like Alexa Smart Properties have enabled hotels to improve their service levels at a much higher level than they would be able to do because of the pandemic. For instance, during the busy check-in period guests can simply ask Alexa the common requests, such as “Alexa, what is the wifi password?” or “Alexa, where is the gym?“. This means that the front desk staff is not interrupted, allowing them to concentrate on providing the best service to arriving guests.
More guest room technology trends in 2022:
- Room service apps
- Guest mobile apps
- Service robots
- Interactive TVs
- In-room tablets
- Smart energy management
- Green linens
3. WiFi 6
WiFi is extremely important to travelers and plays a big part in customer satisfaction. Most hotels and restaurants offer free Wifi access but the key question is: is it good enough?
Even the highly acclaimed 5G wifi slows when one guest is streaming Netflix, another is playing a game, someone else is video chatting, and a whole bunch of smart gadgets like door locks and in-room technology is being utilized at once.
In 2022, the latest trend in hospitality will be Wifi 6. This new generation is designed to handle more bandwidth-demanding apps, allowing you to adopt more smart technology, provide better service and drive positive guest reviews and repeat business.
4. Mobile check-in
Wave goodbye to front desk queues, annoyed guests, and time-consuming manual entries with mobile check-in technologies. Mobile check-in gives guests the convenient option to skip the front desk altogether and head straight to their rooms.
This ties in with wider contactless technology trends within the hospitality industry like smart locks that allow receptionists to generate and send digital keys from the PMS to guests that have checked in online. At the same time, guests can use digital ID scanner technology to scan their own identity documents during online check-in.
Some guests prefer the personalized experience of being greeted and welcomed at the front desk. Others, especially frequent business travelers, may not want to be tied down with a particular way of interacting with your property. Letting guests choose how they engage is a quality of modern accommodation properties.
5. Big Data
It’s important to recognise that data has become the world’s most valuable resource. Data is the oil of the 21st century and tech has made it possible for companies to gather, analyse, and use data to make better decisions.
Hotels are just starting to realise that they have a lot of data on hand when it comes to guests and what they like and dislike. They’re just beginning to figure out how they can use that data to book more people into their hotels and how they can get those people to spend more money once they’re there.
If you don’t have software like GuestRevu and Guest Data Platform integrated with your property’s PMS, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Think about it: your PMS is the engine that drives your property and it knows everything about everything that happens in your hotel. Data software is the key to providing rich guest profiles and gathering feedback from guests to help you provide personalized service. It can also help you target your marketing effectively, making it worth the investment for any hotel.
The hospitality industry is at the forefront of technology and it’s constantly evolving. You can never get too comfortable and lean back on your laurels because if you do that, you’ll quickly be left behind the competition.
Here’s a recap of the latest technology trends in the hospitality industry in 2022:
2. In-room technologies
3. Wifi 6
4. Mobile check-in
5. Big data