Hoteliers raising their IQ: The technologies underpinning smart hotel rooms
- February 1, 2023: Vol. 10, Number 2

Hoteliers raising their IQ: The technologies underpinning smart hotel rooms

by Jonathan Collins

While smart hotel room technologies have been a niche area for years now — with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Hilton being some of the earliest adopters — this market is expected to proliferate due to a need for brand differentiation.

From a business-to-business perspective, the increased adoption of smart room technologies for hotels is spurred by fierce competition from other hospitality players, notably the short-term rental market. Indeed, hoteliers must turn to smart capabilities and devices to bring the hotel customer experience to an entirely new level, while reducing operational expenses.

A smart hotel room, similar to smart apartments, leverage smart home technologies such as smart locks, smart thermostats, smart blinds, voice control front end, and smart speakers to provide a new level of connectivity. These technology deployments make for more interconnected hotel building management and attract customers or travelers who want more convenience and greater control over their hotel stay.

The market opportunity for smart hotel room technologies is extensive. However, it really boils down to two key things: operating efficiencies and guest room amenities.

Operating efficiencies refer to easier and more efficient commercial building functions such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and lighting. These smart hotel room solutions enable hotel building managers to reduce their carbon footprint, save on energy costs and improve staffing allocation.

Smart room technologies are also a good match for hotel guests in a changing economic and environmental context. A recent survey revealed that 73 percent of travelers say they would be more likely to select a hotel that offers self-service technology. For example, a frictionless hotel stay can mitigate the concerns surrounding COVID-19 containment.

When hoteliers make guest rooms “smarter,” they not only enhance the customer experience, but they are provided with a new level of operational efficiency. These technologies can be used in a variety of smart hotel room use cases, including room occupancy, automated room temperature, lighting and room illumination, building maintenance, hotel staffing, and environmental regulation.

Smart occupancy sensors, including in-room motion sensing and smart lock guest tracking, enable hoteliers to track which rooms and areas are being used in real time. This room occupancy tracking ability is crucial for optimizing energy consumption from HVAC, lighting and other building management systems.

As previously mentioned, hoteliers can preserve or reduce room temperature based on how many people are in the room. But climate control can also be automated based on humidity, air quality/refresh, and external temperatures/solar gain to deliver managed control of HVAC.

Also, instead of waiting for a hotel guest to alert staff about damaged systems, appliances and devices, hoteliers can track the functionality of these assets via an integrated smart system. These smart hotel room solutions are especially beneficial for detecting water leakage, as water damage restoration can cost more than $5,000.

A smart hotel system also allows managers to accurately match staffing levels with guest demands. A notable example is being able to better predict and manage staffing needs because guests can check in with their mobile phones, as opposed to requiring front-end desk workers.

For hotel guests, the main drivers for choosing hotels that use smart room technologies come down to convenience and a more personalized hotel stay. Some of the applications of smart hotel room technologies for guests include greater control, contactless stays, climate control, and an easier way of interacting with hotel services.


This article was excerpted from a story written by Jonathan Collins, research director at ABI Research. Read the complete article here.

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