Although incorporating technology in hotels isn’t a novel concept in the world of hospitality, there are a number of upscale hotel chains and properties worldwide who are continuing to raise the bar onsite with high tech features. Whether for seamless connectivity, increased security, onsite amenities, environmental sustainability, or added convenience, luxury hotels are at the forefront of a technological revolution, redefining industry norms of the past. When thinking of top-notch luxury amenities, technology is not typically top of mind for consumers. Lavish hotels and resorts are more well known for their elegant décor, attentive staff, and prime locations; but the top hotel destinations of the 21st century have added another component: innovative technology.
Technology is paramount for luxury hotels, as travelers expect the same comforts and conveniences when away from home, and today’s latest advances are key to facilitating that seamlessness. From robot concierge services to smart room technology that allows guests to control everything in their rooms from an iPad, luxury hotel technology serves a bigger purpose than just convenience – it separates the cache of properties who utilize it from their competition who do not.
While advancements in technology have changed the way we travel, the hospitality industry is catching up by making changes in the way we stay. International upscale hotel chains Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton offer digital check-ins via their mobile app, and even facilitate guest services such as ordering room service, requesting extra towels, and coordinating dinner reservations for added convenience on-the-go. New York City’s Yotel features a robot luggage storing service upon check-in, and rooms at the property are equipped with motorized beds that guests can fold up for additional functionality space while not using them. The Alma Barcelona has eliminated plastic key cards, equipping all of its 72 rooms throughout the boutique hotel with biometric fingerprint scanners, allowing guests to access their rooms with just a quick touch of their finger. This technology is proving to be increasingly popular, as it is more environmentally friendly, and guests are free from the worry of losing their room keys. What Hotel 1000 in the heart of Downtown Seattle may lack in outdoor amenity space, it makes up for in spades by providing guests with access to a virtual golf course. Now travelers can tee-up without leaving their high-rise hotel.
High tech amenities serve a much bigger purpose than adding a wow-factor; they allow luxury hotels to streamline service and efficiency. At the Henn-Na Hotel in Japan, described as the “World’s First Robot Hotel”, robot staff greet visitors during check-in, and can respond to guests in a number of different languages, many more than one could expect of their human counterparts. Inside the guest rooms of the Henn-Na, a robot doll controls many of the room’s functions by voice command, such as turning the lights on and off. Particularly for business travelers who are so often away from home, innovative technology changes the game, with robot concierge services to print your boarding pass, iPads to order town-car service to meetings, and mobile apps to ensure your room is a comfortable temperature when you arrive. This technology is becoming increasingly more prevalent, emerging as the new norm across the world’s top hotels.
By supplementing automation with human customer service representatives, upscale hotels are challenging the notion that face-to-face interaction is the only major component of providing top-notch service. High-end hotels around the globe are embracing the idea that technology enhances luxury, by adding a heightened level of service to guests compared to the status-quo.