Top 5 Hospitality Technology Trends for 2021
Never in history has the hospitality industry experienced a year quite like 2020. No single aspect was left untouched. As with previous crises this will undoubtedly have lasting effects on how the industry operates and we can expect to see new opportunities rise from this too.
This time round, the paradox is to be found where hotels need to adopt innovation and embrace technology at a faster pace, but at the same time have never been more challenged in their options to do so.
Here are our Top 5 Hotel Technology trends for 2021:
Hospitality Technology Trend #1: A Contactless guest journey
A term that has been widely used during the pandemic is that of a ‘contactless guest journey’. It simply means that hotel guests should encounter as little physical touch points as possible to offer them the most hygienic and safest possible stay. When planning for a contactless guest journey keep in mind that this should involve all stages of the guest journey: before, during and after the stay.
Outlining all these steps for the different kinds of guest flows will be an important aspect and will result in more guests making use of the contactless guest journey.
Hotels can use the latest in hotel technology to create digital touchpoints such as:
- online check-in and check-/out possibilities;
- mobile keys and cloud connected hotel locks instead of a keycard and traditional Bluetooth locks;
- cashless payment methods;
- communicationservices, such as instant messaging with staff.
Hospitality Technology Trend #2: Internet of Things (IoT)
Intelligent technology has more and more become a part of our daily lives and there is no reason for hotel guests not to expect this when traveling to your hotel. IoT allows for further automation and guests to be able to control their entire stay in the palm of the hands. It syncs the physical and digital world and connects hardware with software.
The use of such technologies is all part of delivering a seamless, customised experience that aligns with today’s guests’ expectations of technology. Ofcourse, IoT solutions also reduce costs associated with running a hotel by streamlining operations, providing better insights and offering real-time, automated management.
It all basically boils down to the fact that more and more systems are connected to the internet and with IoT those systems can interact with each other in a smart way. E.g. when an IoT lock is opened, this can automatically set on the connected smart lightning and temperature in the room.
Hotel chains, like Hilton, are embracing IoT technology as it provides their guests with greater control over their environment (lights, locks, TV’s, temperature). A trend we will see is that more devices will get connected over time that will lead to an overall improved guest journey and reduction of operational costs for the hotel.
It all basically boils down to the fact that more and more systems are connected to the internet and with IoT those systems can interact with each other in a smart way.
Hospitality Technology Trend #3: Safety & Hygiene
The emergence of COVID has laid increased importance to safety and hygiene. For the hospitality industry to function as normal we have to consider these changes to be everlasting, even after this current pandemic has passed.
In order to contain the current spread and ensure the safety of your guests, new hygienic measures have to be taken and this should be core part of the operation in any hotel.
Measures here may include the provision of hand gel, increased cleaning of areas where customers will be, implementing policies related to wearing masks or other protective equipment, and ensuring social distancing rules are respected.
Communication about the safety & hygiene measures will be highly appreciated by guests pre-arrival and during the stay in order to make people feel safe. A special role can be addressed here for marketing departments that should emphasize on the steps and rules that are being taken.
For the hospitality industry to function as normal we have to consider these changes to be everlasting, even after this current pandemic has passed.
Hospitality Technology Trend #4: Integrations
With technology in the industry moving at high speed an ever-growing challenge for hotels has to be the management of this myriad of systems. In line with hotel automation and providing a seamless tech experience, integrations will be more important than ever in 2021. An optimized use of staff hours and less need for (physical) contacts emphasizes this importance even more. Last years’ trend of hotel systems moving to the cloud will remain in 2021. More and more are we seeing that the core, a hotel’s PMS, is completely cloud-based and API driven. This will guarantee the needed interconnectivity between the different tools and enables intelligent workflows to be made.
The automation offered by these integrations allows for hotels to focus on guest interactions and service instead of administrative tasks. Embracing technology will help hotels become more human. Cloud-based technology can also be updated easily, securing hotels for future innovations and answering to their challenges of keeping up with the fast-paced technology in this industry.
Besides data integrations we will also see more solution integration coming up. Hotels prefer to use one interface and guests should be able to use one (web)app for their entire journey. Having a cloud-based access system real-time connect with your PMS will offer this. Now you just need the guest’s keys to be integrated within the (web)application which was used to make a booking, perform the pre-arrival checkin or to communicate with the hotel. A flexible, API driven, fully cloud-based solution is again the answer here.
2021 will mark the year where we stop trying to fit clunky, offline solutions into a digital landscape, but make the obvious choice of selecting cloud-based technology for every system that needs to be connected within the hotel’s tech stack.
More and more are we seeing that the core, a hotel’s PMS, is completely cloud-based and API driven
Hospitality Technology Trend #5: Creativity
The hospitality industry is characterized by its creativity and this will likely be an often-seen trend for 2021 too. Hotels turned into offices and emergency housing to make best use of redundant spaces. Others opened up their kitchens to showcase local restaurants, provide home delivery or take-away meals. Creativity and flexibility will be key to driving hospitality growth post-pandemic.
Although technology can be a real game changer for the industry, it starts with the creativity of the industry itself. Hotels should find out how operations and guest journeys are affected and how these can be changed to something positive. There are many hotel tech companies that are then able to help hoteliers face these challenges and empower to run better, smarter hotels.
Do you want to learn more about intelligent access technology and how this will benefit your hotel?