IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Hospitality Sector
Technology is evolving almost every sector of life ranging from manufacturing to education on one extreme and health care to hospitality on the other. The world has seen so many changes in just a short span of time just because of the technological advancements.
Similar trends have started to make appearance in the hospitality sector covering hoteling, traveling, customer care, and tour guide sectors. IT is now changing the hospitality from traditional to digital and smart mode. The technologies like IoT, Big data, Cloud computing, Robotics etc. are evolving the hospitality industry at a fast pace. In this article, we are going to discuss the impacts of IT on this industry that is transforming the hospitality into ‘Hospitality 4.0’.
IoT in Hospitality Sector
For guests, IoT makes their stay more comfortable and customizable. It provides automated smart rooms where Guests can adjust the lights or make calls using their mobile phones or TV from their beds.
When it comes to mobile devices, hospitality can be more integrated with guests’ personal devices thanks to IoT. Guests can use their mobile phones to check into a hotel and open their room’s door.
In addition, the mobile integration gives you data with the permission of the guests so that you can remember the preferences of the guest. Hotels and restaurants can take this one step further and customize their bookings based on previous stays.
In the hospitality industry, many large companies are integrating IoT in their operational infrastructure to enjoy the benefits offered by the technology. These benefits can range from offering a superior customer experience to saving on energy costs.
For example, Hilton and Marriott have conducted slightly different experiments on the ‘connected room’ concept, where users are able to control many features of the room from their mobile phones or from the tablet provided.
It allows guests to control the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems from one place, or even just tell a temperature and allow different appliances to automatically adjust the temperature. They can also control other devices such as TV. The good thing is, some smart devices will greet them with their name and make them feel more tech. friendly.
Augmented reality in Hospitality Sector
Augmented reality works by using computer technology to change a person’s perception of the physical environment. Augmented reality is often compared with virtual reality (VR), but while VR completely replaces the real world environment with a virtual environment, augmented reality enhances the real world environment in real time.
The augmented reality in hospitality management in recent years has emerged as an important concept, as it allows hotels and other related businesses to enhance the physical environment (i.e. their hotel and its rooms), or the surrounding area.
Another important explanation behind the rise of AR in the hotel industry is that the amount of information guests receive is requested before they arrive and once they arrive. AR technology can help consumers to access a lot of important information easily at any time anywhere.
Another way for hotel owners to improve their customer services using AR technology is by using interactive elements in hotel rooms. An example of this can be seen in the UK based ‘Hub Hotel’ from the premier inn, which has started using AR in its hotel rooms in conjunction with wall maps.
By pointing the smartphone at the map, guests can see additional information about places of interest, increase the use of the map itself, and potentially make their stay easier and more enjoyable.
A hotel Holiday Inn experimented an AR hotel experience. They use AR technology to allow guests view realistic virtual photos of celebrities by pointing their mobile phones.
Similarly Best Western tested AR and Disney stars. This allowed children to see Disney characters standing and walking along them. Other hotels are also using AR apps to allow guests to practically enjoy the hospitality experience.
AI in Hospitality Sector
Artificial intelligence or AI means the seemingly intelligent performance and behavior of computers or machines to perform a certain task autonomously. AI refers to computers or machines that perform tasks that are traditionally thought to require scientific work to be performed. It’s about concepts like automation and big data.
Artificial intelligence is increasingly playing an important role in hospitality management, mainly because of its ability to perform traditional human functions at any time of the day. This will allow the owners to save considerable amount of money, avoid any human error, and provide the best services.
The most important part of hospitality sector is customer care, without any doubt. The success of companies in this sector depends on the way they treat their customers. With artificial intelligence, the possibilities for improving this aspect are almost endless, ranging from increasing personal nature to appropriate recommendations.
An example of artificial intelligence is delivering in-person customer services in the hospitality industry.
The best example of this is an AI robot called ‘Connie’ adopted by Hilton. This robot is able to provide tourist information to users who interact with it. Most impressive, it is able to learn from human speech and adapt to individuals. Ultimately, this means that the more users it talks to, the better it becomes.
Another way AI is being used in hospitality sector is data analysis. The technology can be used to quickly sort through large amounts of data and draw important conclusions about users, or potential customers.
An example of this is seen with the Dorchester Collection Hotel Chain, which uses the Metis AI platform to organize the data collected through surveys, online reviews, etc. and then analyze it to draw conclusions about the overall performance.
Robotics in Hospitality Sector
A robot is a machine, designed to perform complex tasks or specific tasks automatically. Some robots are designed to resemble humans and are called androids.
The demand for automated systems and self-service ideas for better customer experiences have increased the popularity of robotic systems. Robots allow enhancing speed, cost effectiveness, and accuracy.
Located in Nagasaki, Japan, the Henn-na Hotel has become the first hotel in the world to be fully staffed by robots. Robots are deployed with information technology and provide different services such as front desk services, storage services, check-in and check-out services, including voice and face recognition.
Besides the hotel industry, Robotics has also improved travel experience. Travel mats are an example of robotics used for luggage purposes. Basically, it’s an independent suitcase, able to follow you. It uses anti-collision technology to avoid any collisions and is capable of 360-degree movement and eliminates the need to carry, pull or push the suitcase.
Airport security is one of the most important areas where new technology is deployed and robots are also in use. A particularly strong example of this is the night scope robots, which are increasingly being used to independently detect hidden weapons and help keep passengers safe during their flights.
This is just the fraction of what IT can offer to hospitality industry. This sector has yet a lot to implement in order to taste the real fruits of IT but this all needs time and resources. Let’s wait and see what future hotels will look like after implementing industry 4.0 models completely.