Our predictions for hotel WiFi for 2020/21 outline a critical mass of technology adoption being reached where futuristic, AI-based ‘sci-fi’ solutions become both relevant and accessible for independent hotels.
In the aftermath of a global pandemic that has given rise to an unprecedented surge in digital reliance, hoteliers will need to adapt to attract and retain the attention of digitally savvy guests.
1. Digital expectations
It is no longer the power shower that impresses. ‘Smart tech’ is paramount when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Millennials are set to be the largest group of hotel bookers in the world according to Forbes: “By 2020, 320 million international trips are expected to be made by youth travellers each year, a staggering 47% increase from 217 million in 2013.”
Millennials have a lifestyle interest bias to health, wellness and technology and their expectations of technology are unforgiving. They demand better technology and connectivity during their hotel stay, and hoteliers will need to adapt accordingly.
2. Predictive personalisation
Despite the privacy concerns echoed in the media, guests will continue to exchange personal data for a more customised experience. Customisation of offers and services persistently ranks high in many recent surveys.
Studies by Google and Phocuswire report that 57% of guests are of the opinion that “brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviours.” With advances in artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, hospitality companies will be able to create unique offers and experiences in real-time (and at scale) that appeal to the needs and desires of each individual traveller.
3. Seamless connectivity
Removing friction from connectivity will be a persistent theme. Guests want to access digital services seamlessly whether delivered by WiFi, Bluetooth, Near- Field, Infrared or 5G. A single unified network will become the norm.
4. Keyless entry
As the unified network is adopted, friction-free room access will also become the norm, whether by smartphone, fingerprint or face recognition. It will go hand-in-hand with mobile check-in and the attraction of a seamless guest experience.
5. Self-service check-in
Mobile check-in. Fingerprint check-in. And now facial recognition check-in. Vital WiFi predicts that anything that removes the friction in check-in will catch on.
6. Chatbots and voice assistants
AI (Artificial Intelligence) will become more commonplace in hotels as the quality of applications improve. Chatbots and AI can reduce costs and provide instant customer satisfaction. Early experiences with clunky chatbots will soon be forgotten as slicker machine-learning takes hold.
Pier-Luca Rapin of Insights eHotelier asserts that “It will always be cheaper to upgrade your AI than to recruit new staff. It will also always be more efficient in terms of guest satisfaction. Check-ins, check- outs, and restaurant bookings are time- consuming, inefficient labour-intensive tasks that can be automated and handled by artificial intelligence.”
7. Coworking flexible spaces
Hotels will adapt to cater for the increasing trend in co-working. We’ll see more prevalence of Class A office-grade WiFi, flexible spaces and business services. The hotel is evolving with greater acceptance of communal spaces for work and play. Therefore, the technology offering must be able to adapt to what is now, and at the same time: an office, a retail and a venue environment.
8. The smart room
With innovations for personalising the guest room and the high demand by guests for personalised technology, smart room solutions are likely to be widely adopted by independent hotels as a unified network enables integration. Guests will come to expect ‘room tech’ wherever they stay. This will become a ‘features battleground’ as hotels compete for differentiation.
9. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Digital services and in-room entertainment will become ‘dual accessible’ – both from the hotel’s tablet, (or TV or kiosk) and from the guest’s own device. Consequently, there will be less investment in device hardware and instead an increase in software and apps with a focus on integration of services accessible on guests’ own devices.
10. Location based services
Proximity marketing and indoor guidance (personalised digital signage) using beacon technology will become more prevalent and acceptable as uses become more targeted and relevant.
Are you ready for the revolution?
Our predictions for hotel WiFi outline an industry revolution that will force hospitality companies to position themselves like technology companies. It’s no longer about keeping up with technology, it’s about keeping up with your guests.
At Vital WiFi, we understand that times are tough for the industry at the moment. We’re offering free installation to any hoteliers impacted by the Coronavirus crisis, with a monthly fee from as little as £4 per month per guest bedroom*. What’s more, you won’t pay a penny for the first three months.
Find out more about our managed service offering and arrange your free installation today.