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Futuristic technology to transform hotel experiences

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Artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and driverless transportation are just some examples of the cutting-edge tech that is already becoming part of the customer hotel experience, according to the latest research from Oracle.

Technologies that provide greater control and personalisation are the most likely to enhance the customer experience and encourage guests to visit more often.

In line with this, more than 70 per cent of hotel operators expect that by 2025, technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and voice activated controls would be used to control many in-room experiences including light and temperature.

The Oracle Hospitality Hotel 2025 report surveyed 150 hotel operators, and sheds new light on the hospitality trends and innovations of the future.

The report indicates that while hoteliers have, at times, been wary of technology extracting the human element from service, most realise its potential to significantly enhance and personalise the guest experience.

Curated experiences are also expected to become the norm with, 72 per cent of operators anticipating using AI to create targeted dining recommendations for each guest. Biometrics and facial recognition technology is also expected to form part of this experience, with 62 per cent of consumers saying being recognised automatically would enhance their stay.

When it comes to new experiences, consumers said tech like virtual reality (VR) would entice them to book hotels more frequently. 66 per cent of consumers said VR tours of a property during booking would be beneficial, and 44 per cent approved of VR lounges as an entertainment option.

Integrating advanced tech also has positive application potential for hotel staff. Nearly 70 per cent of operators said they expect to use VR in staff training by 2025.

Aside from enhanced services, technology also stands to benefit hoteliers’ bottom line. Intelligent automation will enable hotels to operate better services at scale, while cutting costs. Driverless cars, smarter hotel design and cleaning robots will optimise efficiency, leaving more time for staff to focus on human interactions.

Grahame Tate, Vice President Hotels Hospitality GBU Asia Pacific at Oracle, said technology would transform the hotel experience and allow hoteliers to completely reimagine their service offering.

“The rise of technologies AI, VR and biometrics is changing the way humans interact with the world around us,” Mr Tate said.

“In the hospitality space, technology that minimises menial tasks, while enhancing a guest’s stay, will significantly impact the way hotels operate. The time and money saved thanks to this technology will enable hotel operators to focus more resources on the human interaction aspect of their businesses.

“We know that customers still value face-to-face engagement. In fact, just 22 per cent of consumers said using robots for greeting and serving guests would be favourable.

“Considering this, Oracle Hospitality is continuously looking at ways to provide hoteliers with the latest technologies so they can offer cutting edge services to their valued guests, while maintaining the level of human contact that makes a hotel stay special and comfortable,” Mr Tate added.

Oracle’s top hotel tech trends for 2018

1. Hotels will get smarter. Beyond streamlined, post-check out payment options and entertainment recommendations, the technology used in hotel rooms will increasingly help personalise every aspect of a guest’s suite to their tastes. By tapping into publically available social information or using data gleaned from connected devices, hotels will be able to offer guests added extras like discounts on local restaurants or events, or coordinate a dedicated gym session in the diary of active guests.

2. Hotel staff will work alongside robots. Robotic hotel staff may be a way off – and not necessarily desired by many guests – but using robots to do more repetitive tasks like cleaning hallways, tracking guest check-ins and –outs, and checking stock will become far more common

3. Security will become personal. Unlocking a phone with a fingerprint scan is common practice, but soon the same technology will move beyond devices and into the hospitality industry. For hotels, using fingerprint scans to unlock safe deposit boxes and guest rooms will improve security and give consumers greater peace of mind.

4. Personalised AI concierge service. Need a recommendation, reservation, or want to place an order when the desk is busy? Not a problem with AI-enabled concierge services. Technology like chatbots will facilitate smaller requests, while the human staff turn their attention to adding greater value face-to-face.

5. Try before you buy. Virtual Reality walk-throughs will become more readily available as the technology becomes more accessible. Guests will come to expect a 3D view of their room before they book, rather than relying on 2D pictures on a flat screen.