The hotel industry may be rooted in old-fashioned hospitality, but it’s also constantly breaking new ground with its technological innovations.
It has to, really, if it’s to keep pace with evolving consumer demands.
And as new technology emerges it gives flight to new guest expectations, which in turn fuel new advances in technology. To stay up to date on what’s new, what’s trending, and what’s fundamentally changing, we looked into the top hotel technology trends the industry’s talking about this year.
So, here’s what’s happening in the innovative world of hotel technology, from the once game-changing technologies that are starting to crystallize as industry mainstays to the newest trends now hitting the scene.
There’s also a peek at the future hotel technology trends poised to take shape — and potentially revolutionize the entire hospitality industry when they do.
Hotel technology for online marketing in 2018
Drone photography for digital hotel marketing content
There’s a reason why we’re seeing more travelers documenting their vacations with drone photography and videography. That reason is the wow effect it has on the viewer. It’s also the reason why hotels are starting to use drone photography to capture dazzling images of their hotels from dizzying new heights to captivate guests online.
Smart CPC marketing tools for direct booking campaigns
One of the most important markers for improvements in hotel technology is how easy it is to use. Many hotel tech providers are now focusing on building intuitive tools that make hotel marketing as easy and effective as possible while requiring as little time and effort as possible.
Case in point: trivago’s Rate Connect, which has a built-in automatic cost-per-click bidding feature to empower hoteliers to successfully run a direct-booking marketing campaign on trivago on their own.
Hotel technology for direct bookings in 2018
Mobile-optimized booking pages
“Mobile” was a term we saw a lot while researching this article (especially “mobile keycards”). But the most urgent mobile-related hotel technology trend to adapt to would be a mobile-optimized booking funnel.
Facilitated direct booking platforms
The rise of the previous two hotel technology trends (hotel-run direct booking campaigns and mobile-friendly booking pages) explains the origins and importance of this one: the facilitated direct booking platform.
A hotel-branded booking platform that’s mobile friendly and optimized to convert direct bookings helps a hotel ensure the success of its direct-booking marketing campaigns. For a good example of how, here’s a look at trivago Express Booking.
Hotel technology in private and communal spaces in 2018
Hyperconnected hotel rooms
Hotel room renovations are no longer primarily about design. A hotel room update this year could instead mean adding anything from never-fail high-speed Internet to mobile keycard accessibility, smart beds, in-room tablets, and more Internet-of-things innovations.
Tech lounges and high-tech meeting rooms
It’s not just the hotel rooms being made over to accommodate more advanced technology features. Communal and semi-public tech lounges are starting to pop up in hotels. And the latest hotel meeting rooms are being outfitted with cutting-edge technology for business travelers to host high-definition video conferences with multimedia presentations.
Hotel technology to enhance and improve the guest experience in 2018
As the traditional concierge starts to shift to the role of expert filter, hotels are leveraging technology to enable their guests to get a more personalized stay without exhausting staff resources. With a virtual concierge, guests can do everything from making dinner reservations to requesting more pillows on a phone app or in-room device.
Instant check-in and check-out
It’s not that hotel guests appreciate this hotel tech trend; it’s that they’ve come to expect it. It could explain why hotels are increasingly using cloud-based property management systems to quickly process one-click check-ins and check-outs.
Futuristic hotel technology trends starting to take shape
It’s true, there aren’t many hotels that at present employ robots to deliver room service or portage luggage. But there are some. And they’re getting a lot of attention for it.
Novelty is now one of the most sought-after components of the guest experience. To deliver it, some hotels have introduced a virtual reality experience into their range of services.
We’re still hearing that blockchain technology has the power to revolutionize the hospitality industry, from payments to loyalty programs, supply chain management, and more.
Readers can find more insights into the latest hospitality industry trends in “The Top Hotel Trends to Watch in 2018, According to the Industry” and “The Biggest Trends in Luxury Hospitality Revealed.”
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Sources consulted: Global Hospitality Portal, Hotel News Now, Hotel Technology News, Skift
Featured image: Derek Liang