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Smart Hotels and the Internet of Things (IoT): Myths Uncovered

on December 6 | in Hospitality Industry | by Prof Riccardo Campione | with No Comments

Personalizing the guest experience

It’s 10pm, and you’ve just brushed your teeth before slipping between the soft white sheets of your extra-firm hotel bed. As soon as you tell the bedside lamp to shut itself off, it gets busy talking to your A/C because it’s pretty sure you’re in bed for the night and it knows you prefer to sleep in 20° degrees, ever since you read that article that said cooler temperatures promote sweeter dreams.

In the morning your bathroom will cheerfully tell your door that you’ve finished your toilette and heading out for the day. Your door will get the hall lights up to full brightness and bug that lazy elevator to get off the 1st floor and up here for you, pronto. You won’t need to remember your room key because your very own smartphone will lock and unlock that perky little door any time you come or go. Moreover, as soon as you leave, nosy heat sensors in the walls will verify you took your body with you, and text housekeeping an all-clear to enter your room and work their magic.

Hotels are hoping to enhance consumer experience beyond booking apps, mattress firmness options or automatic checkout

By equipping rooms with the Internet of Things (IoT), hotels are hoping to enhance consumer experience beyond booking apps, mattress firmness options or automatic checkout. The IoT does not only anticipate clients’ needs throughout their stay; it offers a comprehensive digital selection to optimize personalization.

In-room tablets featuring user-friendly apps let guests control climate, set schedules for lights, TV, music, room service and housekeeping and even program the automatic opening and shutting of curtains. Clients can book spa appointments, request concierge services, or check flight schedules on the tablets.

Best of all, these settings can be saved in a guest profile. When the client checks in remotely on the same app, they can activate their preferences. By the time they enter their room, the air temp is perfect, the lights are at the desired level, the TV is on and a friendly voice will welcome them as the door opens.

The Internet of Things is not just behind closed doors

However, the IoT is not limited to the inside of a hotel room. Automation can finesse the ambience of a hotel’s public spaces as well, through music, lighting, and climate control that responds to the number of bodies present in a hall, lobby, or elevator.

Perhaps the most significant potential benefit hotels hope to gain from the IoT is to set them apart from tough competitors 

For now, you will find high tech smart rooms in luxury hotels like The Plaza Hotel NY , The Aria  in Las Vegas, The Torch Doha  in Qatar and The Chedi intrenational chain . However, last year Hilton announced it was developing its own proprietary IoT platform and Marriott  began a partnership with electrical parts giant Legrand’s  IoT program and Samsung’s ARTIK  cloud-based IoT platform. Both chains have model smart rooms in select hotels, with plans to bring them to the mainstream by the end of 2018.

Perhaps the most significant potential benefit hotels hope to gain from the IoT is to set them apart from tough competitors like Airbnb  and HomeAway. A seamlessly customized experience is not something private residences or boutique hotels can realistically offer, even if they have some smart technology on the premises.

Once you have stayed in a smart hotel, you will inevitably want to return, if only to toggle your settings to see if you can get those curtains to open at precisely 6:02:21 am every single morning. You should still expect to brush your own teeth, however. For now, only humans are smart enough to that.

Read more from Riccardo Campione:

How Airbnb and WeWork are revolutionizing business travel

The current trends in cryptocurrency and how they could affect hospitality

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