Updated: January 2023
Technology is evolving exponentially, changing people’s expectations of how things can be done. Its impact can be seen in every industry. This evolving technology is changing the way the hospitality industry is conducting business. Since this industry is highly competitive, it is essential to follow the most recent technological developments and adopt them. Technology integration in the hotel sector has moved from being an option to being a must in maintaining a substantial market share and meeting evolving client expectations. Numerous hotels worldwide have recognized this need of the hour and focused on hotel innovation to differentiate themselves from the competition and offer customers an incredible experience.
This blog will discuss current technological trends to watch out for and the list of hotels prioritizing hotel innovation to maintain a competitive edge.
Top Hotel Innovation Trends to look forward to in 2023
Let’s look at the forthcoming trends in hotel innovation for 2023!
1) Contactless payments
The phrase “contactless payments” describes a secure way to use a debit card, credit card, or any other device to make a purchase using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies. This facilitates the transaction’s speed and is relatively user-friendly. For example, if a customer wants to make a purchase, he needs to position his card or a phone with an application like Apple Pay close to the card reader, which will authenticate the card information. The point-of-sale system for the merchant then transmits the transaction to the card issuer. Finally, the card issuer approves the transaction after evaluating it. Another form of contactless payments includes scanning QR codes, which is also pretty convenient. Following the pandemic, the usage of this hotel innovation has increased as consumers hesitate to use cash or type PINs into keypads due to health and safety concerns.
2) Virtual Reality tours
Just imagine, wouldn’t it be great to get a virtual walkthrough of your hotel premises before making a reservation? Well, that’s what virtual reality tours are for – to enhance the experience! Through this hotel innovation, you can give your potential guests the provision to catch a glimpse of the space they’re about to book. Virtual tours’ impact is much more significant than those chunks of text and images on the website explaining the standard description of your hotel. These tours aid hotels in converting customers more quickly since they offer the most lifelike experience and allow customers to get the best impression of the hotel from the comfort of their homes. If potential customers can experience your hotel premises before making a purchase, they are far more likely to convert into guests.
3) Noise Monitoring
Integrating in-room noise monitoring allows you to track noise levels in your hotel’s rooms in real-time. It measures noise through AI sound detection sensors. These devices have turned out to be saviours to detect and deal with noise complaints before they even occur. Isn’t that amazing? Additionally, you can also establish noise thresholds for each area so that if levels rise during quiet hours, you’ll get automatic alerts. This will enable you to respond quickly to problems when they develop, ensuring the ultimate guest experience.
4) WIFI 6
The emerging WIFI 6 is the next level of wifi technology. It is estimated that Wi-Fi 6 has a transmission rate of 9.6 Gbps over multiple channels. With wifi 6, data rates have increased by more than 30%, and network performance has increased by about 30%. This means that multiple devices can be connected with WIFI 6, and users can stream videos, browse the web or do anything else without any connection interruption. This is very beneficial for people traveling for work-related purposes. Corporate travellers won’t have to worry about internet interruptions while attending an online meeting or doing other work-related things that require the internet.
5) AI-Powered Chatbots
An AI-powered chatbot is a computer program that interprets client enquiries using artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) and responds appropriately. For example, when website visitors have simple queries about hotel rooms and prices, a chatbot may answer all of their questions and start a real-time conversation. The benefits of AI-powered chatbots in the hospitality industry are endless. Some of them are listed below:
a) It provides 24*7 customer service, providing information when the users need it and closing business much faster
b) Given that the hospitality sector hosts visitors from all over the world, these AI-powered chatbots offer customer care in a variety of languages
c) Giving speedy real-time responses, this hotel innovation undoubtedly lightens the workload for customer support representatives. When there are so many inquiries at once, it can be too much for the employees to handle. These chatbots rescue and manage all inquiries, letting the professionals handle the more complex issues.
6) Cloud Based-Software
For many years, hotel software was installed locally, either on the hard drives of computers in the back offices or behind the front desk. These legacy systems could not install updates in real-time and remote work was not possible having these systems in the picture. The use of cloud-based systems saved the day. Updates can be installed in real-time, remote work is impossible, and employees can log in from anywhere and access software in the cloud without any hindrance.
7) Translation Devices
Hotels have visitors from all over the world. Thus it is wise to install translation equipment on the hotel premises. These tools will aid in resolving issues brought on by linguistic problems. These gadgets will be helpful to both employees and visitors. For example, if a guest comes to your hotel and is not proficient in speaking English (or the local language) and the hotel staff do not speak the guest’s language, you end up with a communication gap that could significantly impact the guest experience. A translation device would be the most useful in this scenario. The guest will be able to get a solution for their problem, thereby elevating guest satisfaction and experience at your hotel.
8) Occupancy and vacancy sensors
How would you feel if you entered a room and the lights turned on instantly without you having to click any buttons? It sounds exciting, right? The hotel innovation we will discuss here is occupancy and vacancy sensors. These sensors detect when a room is unoccupied and automatically switch the room’s power, and they automatically turn the power on upon detecting the presence of people. These sensors are a great way of preventing you from paying for wasted energy. It benefits both the guests as well as the hoteliers. These sensors provide ease and a delightful experience for guests while also assisting hoteliers in cost and energy reduction.
9) Smart Rooms
A smart hotel room employs IoT technology to provide technologically advanced features like voice-activated controls, smart check-in services, holographic technology, interactive hotel maps, and mobile keys for hotel rooms to streamline operations. Technology is meant to make life easier for people, which is what these integrations are doing! All of these technological advancements in hotels improve the guest experience by making their stay more comfortable and pleasurable.
Top Innovative Hotels
Sick of ‘copy + paste’ hotel concepts? We’ve cultivated a list of “not-your-grand-dad’s-hotels” on the cutting edge of technology, sustainability, and design. If you want to change it up in terms of how you travel, continue reading to find our list of the top 14 most innovative hotels in the world right now.
ProPILOT Park Ryokan
The ProPILOT Park Ryokan hotel in Japan is famous for its self-parking services. Sounds weird, right? This hotel combines Nissan’s autonomous driving technology with traditional hospitality. At first glance, it looks like any other traditional Japanese inn, but what sets it apart from others is – Nissan’s ProPilot Park autonomous parking technology. This technology enables the tables, slippers and cushions of the premises to move back to their original position at the push of a button when not in use. This is a great way to entertain guests and make them curious about their surroundings. Would you be interested in visiting this inn to see this sorcery? If you ask us, we would most surely go!
We know what you’re thinking: did aliens dock on earth and set up shop? It may look like it, but no, this is Svart, the first energy-positive hotel, located close to the Svartisen glacier, north of the Arctic Circle. This title has been approved by Powerhouse, the initiative responsible for buildings that generate more energy than they consume throughout their lifespan. This design masterpiece is set to open in 2024 and will have 100 rooms, an onsite education and design lab, and sustainable farm-producing ingredients for the hotel’s four restaurants. This innovative hotel will have a roof made with solar panels (produced with clean hydro energy), and its rooms and amenities will be strategically placed to exploit the sun’s energy. So cool.
This isn’t your average treehouse. Located in Harrads, a village north of Sweden, these modern treehouses will fulfill your childhood fantasies of living among the trees. Aside from the cool factor, these suites are also eco-friendly, with hydroelectric underfloor heating. Instead of a sewage system, each has an electric-powered combustion toilet that incinerates waste at 1,112 F. Bonus points? If you stay from September to March, you can watch the Northern Lights illuminate the sky above you.
Yotel takes the pod hotel concept and seamlessly mixes business and pleasure. Considered to be at the forefront of hotel technology, Yotel treats their front desk as a “mission control,” and features include self-check-in terminals, a friendly robot, aptly named ‘Yobot’, to take care of your luggage, space-saving motorized beds and motion-sensor air conditioning. Yotel’s take on space design, efficiency, and modern travel are worth seeing for yourself.
Green Village Bamboo House
Green village bamboo house is not a collection of individual houses but a living community of globally connected individuals who care about nature. All the houses and villas are made of bamboo, purposefully built towards a sustainable future. These aren’t just innovative hotels; they are a part of a community of like-minded individuals seeking a more sustainable and authentic way of living, a comfortable alternative to the stresses of modern society.
As a part of the AccorHotel group, JO&JOE introduce a fresh take on the ‘Open House’ living space. With a new world, off-beat design coupled with their digital ecosystem, this growing hotel chain is disrupting the private rental space (think Airbnb) with the social experience of hostels but with the security and comfort of hotels. These innovative hotels include a new geo-social app, where anything you’d need to pay for is contactless. JO&JOE offers affordable pricing and includes social spaces, laundry facilities, and shared kitchens.
CityHub takes the hostel X hotel concept and upgrades it with the forefront in hospitality technology. Think of a capsule hotel, a hostel budget, and tech heaven. Guests gain access to their futuristic capsule-like rooms with an electronic wristband. Everything from the wifi, audio-streaming services and mood lighting are controlled from an app. They have even been rewarded the Best Innovation in Hotel Concept at the Worldwide Hospitality Awards in 2016!
We can’t talk about innovative hotels without talking about HotelZetta, appropriately situated in San Francisco, home to Silicon Valley, the global center for high technology and innovation. Hotel Zetta is a millennial’s playground. Equipped with games console-filled playrooms, an antique telephone booth that also doubles as a social media workspace where you can Tweet, Snapchat or blog, and a museum dedicated to retro technology like retro games cartridges, computer chips and old mobile phones. The biggest crowd, please? Their VR room is in the lobby.
Take your average hotel and then drench it in futuristic out-of-this-world design and technology-rich features: you get the Kameha Grand. A part of the Autograph collection of hotels, the reception less hotel receives guests with smiling agents posted at mobile stations and Bluetooth-enabled rooms and a space suite, designed by a member of the Virgin Galactic Pioneer Astronaut team. Say what? This space suite has a floating bed, a live link to NASA’s mission control, a space glove that you can also use as a valet tray, and all the latest outer space media you can sink your teeth into. Go to Zurich, it’s one step closer to outer space.
Hotel Jakarta takes the title of the most sustainable hotel in the Netherlands! This is one of the first energy-neutral properties and was built with material with a long life cycle. Not only is the design top-notch, but all of the elements used will also be dismantled and reused at some point. Green initiatives include their own mini subtropical forest in the central atrium of the hotel that acts like a temperature regulator. The roof has PV panels on the exterior to collect solar energy that is converted into electricity that heats the water and bathroom showers. The hotel staff even wear sustainably made uniforms!
Nordic Choice Hotels
Nordic Choice takes innovative hotels to the next level. They’ve been named among Norway’s top 10 most innovative companies in 2017 and have been serving only organic food in all their hotels since 2008. They take their sustainability food measures very seriously: even conducting research to find that smaller plates lead to less food waste. They then decreased their plates by a few centimetres and were able to reduce food waste by 20%. They’ve even consulted with NASA to discuss space tourism and to explore ideas on how hospitality can become a big player in outer space. Talk about getting ahead!