smart business hotel © zhu difeng / shutterstock.com

Smart home, smart hotel – how smart is your business hotel?

Using an app to select your preferred hotel room, courtesy smartphones provided by the hotel, or adjusting the light and temperature in the room to your liking. This is all possible in many business hotels, the forerunners in smart hotels. However, these technological options are just the beginning. Find out more in this blog how to turn your business hotel into a smart hotel and what technologies are a must-have for the future.

smart business hotel © zhu difeng / shutterstock.com
smart business hotel © zhu difeng / shutterstock.com

Digitalisation as a driver for business hotels

The future of the hotel industry is digital, that much is certain. Around the world, many hotels are opting for digital solutions to assist their guests. In many hotels, the check-in process has been automatized and takes place online. But does automatization alone qualify a business hotel as a smart hotel? Not quite. According to the Fraunhofer IAO Institute, digitalisation is the biggest driver for technical innovation in the hotel industry. The key elements are speed and personalisation. And more than just digital check-in processes are required to fully transform your business hotel into a smart hotel.

Digitalisation is the biggest innovation driver in the hotel industry.

Over 3,000 people were surveyed by the Fraunhofer IAO Institute in a study about smart hotels. Among other things, they found that 87 percent of those surveyed expressed a desire for faster check-ins at business hotels. For this reason, it makes sense to invest in special apps to allow guests to take care of all procedures related to booking more easily. Already some business hotels in the UK are offering services which allow travellers to easily and quickly make reservations, check-in, check-out, and pay with an app.

Create a personalised hotel experience with your own smartphone

An app can also allow guests to book their hotel rooms of choice. One with a view of the park, right next to the lift, or perhaps preferably on the ground floor – any smart business hotel should offer their guests the option to choose their own room. Easily from home before they even leave for their trip. This way, their hotel stay is fully customised according to their personal preference. This also includes room temperature controls, light and air conditioning, all by smartphone. For instance, guests can book a room at the Premier Inn TM in London using the Business Booker app and use an app to control the heat or air-conditioning settings.

Smart hotels offer possibilities to personalise your stay.

There is a business hotel in Hungary that tops everything. Here, guests can set their room temperature using an app from as much as 10,000 km away, before they even arrive. Sounds incredible, but it’s true. This hotel is certainly on the right path to becoming a smart hotel. Other smart hotels offer mood rooms. Here guests can select lighting concepts according to mood or time of day. These are the types of offerings that guests at smart hotels can take advantage of to personalise their stay. In times of increasing customisation, that is a decisive plus point for a business hotel.

Internet of Things at your business hotel

IoT -- or internet of things -- goes hand-in-hand with the smart hotel concept. A shower set to the guest’s preferred temperature settings, a full-body mirror that shows yoga poses, for smart hotels these perks are the new normal and have already been implemented. Business hotels around the world are testing these sorts of apps to offer their guests a personalized experience during their stay. Networked devices are an essential element to this. Only when internet connections are seamless can guests enjoy the full advantages that a smart hotel offers.

Free and seamless Wi-Fi is a must-have.

In order to guarantee that all guests can easily access digital services, some smart hotels in Europe are providing courtesy smart phones. They are available in every room and are available for guests to use as much as they want with unlimited data – an alternative to simple free Wi-Fi. Speaking of Wi-Fi: the online travel agency KAYAK found that British hotels had the lowest free Wi-Fi availability in all of Europe. It’s time to change this by implementing the smart hotel concept for all business hotels, since most guests are travelling on business and need to have a fast internet connection. Any business hotel who want to be a fully booked smart hotel must therefore put free Wi-Fi at the top of their business agenda.

Smart hotels: the mobile receptionist

An automated receptionist, as well as booking procedures by app, are just the beginning. When it comes to smart business hotels, the technical possibilities are endless. Researchers have already developed apps that can open the hotel room by smart phone. More is possible than ever imagined with such innovations. And smart hotels aside, your hotel offerings must always coincide with your target group. This can present a challenge, since many guests are (still) sceptical of these kinds of developments.

Smart Lock © Santiparp Wattanaporn / shutterstock.com
© Santiparp Wattanaporn / shutterstock.com

Possibilites for smart technology are endless.

Surveys have shown that despite these technological advances, most travellers do not want to do without personal contact to hotel employees. Interpersonal communication remains the cornerstone of the hotel industry. Smart technology has hereto been an added plus for business hotels, but since many guests are afraid that they will not be able to use the new technologies, business hotels should be careful to not intimidate their guests. Therefore, there should always be a happy medium between smart technologies and traditional services.

Smart technology frees up more time for guests

However, by no means should the hotel industry miss the bus on digitalisation. Since guests are getting used to technologization in other industries, they will likewise come to adopt the smart hotel concept. The demand for technological services is increasing sooner than later, a reality which puts business hotels at the forefront of progress, making them future-proof once they become smart hotels through digitalisation.

The demand for technological services is increasing.

In addition, business hotels that implement digital strategies will have more time to attend their guests in the long-run. While robots will take on the daily tasks of booking, accepting payments and cleaning, human personnel will be able to have more time to care for the individual needs of their guests. This is decisive for shaping a guest’s individual experience during their hotel stay, since these guests can then recommend the hotel to others or even book another stay at the same hotel on a future occasion. And that is the ultimate goal of any smart hotel.


9 tips your convention hotel guests will love in 2019

Have you heard of Sepp, Pepper, Ivy and Rose? They’re not the newest fragrances from Chanel, nor are they the new trendy design colours. Sepp, Pepper, Ivy and Rose are the staff at a hotel. They wear regional dress and warmly welcome their guests and are all robots. Hotels in the USA, Japan and Germany are jumping on board with this new trend that is sure to grow in the future. Whether it’s a hotel for families, students or business conventions, artificial intelligence is the Next Big Thing in attracting guests. You can find out more about the must-know trends for 2019 for your convention hotel, and how you can make your business guests truly happy, in this blog.

© Monkey Business Images/shutterstock.com
© Monkey Business Images/shutterstock.com

Hotel Industry 4.0 – Digitalisation has arrived at the convention hotel

In the era of globalisation and digitalisation, it has long since been the norm that employees spend a lot of time travelling around the world. Some spend every day in a different city or even in a different country. There is no question that preferences for business travellers are also constantly changing. Seamless booking procedures, faster check-in and check-out times, and optimal mobile working conditions are therefore just as important as comfortable travel and conference experiences. As a convention hotel, your task is to fulfil your guest’s expectations of a personalised and customised stay. The following tips will show you how to accomplish this.

1. The basics must fall into place – use simple processes

Every business traveller starts with a booking. Here you can already begin to lay the foundations for your guest’s stay at your convention hotel. To do this, use simplified and, above all, transparent booking processes. This will let your guests feel like their booking experience is seamless and complete, allowing them to track the status of their reservations every step of the way. This also applies to costs. Ensure that your guests always know what they are paying for. Also use your digital processes to seamlessly integrate expensing charges to the company account so that ideally, your business travel guests never have to worry about a thing.

2. Add high value to your guests’ experience using cloud-based software

Paper and pencil are out. Daily tasks such as check-in and check-put as well as administrative procedures can be done with cloud-based business management software. This type of process speaks for itself on so many levels. Along with unlimited data storage, the user can customise their requirements in a flexible and uncomplicated fashion, without forcing you to invest in new hardware. Some providers use flexible costing models, so that the user only has to pay for services used, making the cloud a cost-transparent and effective way to store digital data. Especially in the case of convention hotels, sensitive data pertaining to guests is collected daily. Here too, cloud-based software comes into handy, since serious providers use end-to-end encryption. This prevents any guest data from becoming compromised.

Business processes can be drastically improved by using cloud-based solutions for daily administrative tasks related to convention hotels and their guests. Accessing software independently of location and time from any end user device saves quite a bit of time. In turn, this proves useful for personnel, allowing them to devote more time to improving the individual travel experiences of their guests. In this way, cloud-based convention hotel management software offers more efficiency – to the benefit of your guests.

3. Provide more comfort with mobile services

Unusually early or later arrive and departure times are often the norm for business travellers. Therefore, it’s even better when you can provide your guests with flexible and time-independent check-in and check-out times. The right software and a responsive website allow your guests to check in or out with just a few clicks. You may also want to give your guests a mobile add-on service to let them select their desired room on their smart phones. Already being tested at a hotel in Vienna by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO), many guests are already excited about this new feature. And this is not all such mobiles services can deliver – find out more under tip #4 below.

4. Get a head start on “Hotel Room 2020“

A smart hotel room with centrally networked devices, allowing the guest to control the lights and the air conditioning unit from a single tablet, connecting the user to the receptionist, restaurant or bar in just one click – this is the idea behind Hotel Room 2020. Unfortunately, such smart rooms are still under development. Currently being tested by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO), the “Future Hotel” is located in Duisburg, Germany. However, this doesn’t have to remain a vision of the future for other convention hotels. Networked systems and a wide selection of online offerings are already making it possible today to craft a more efficient and customer-friendly journey for your guests. After all, what your business travellers will appreciate most are easy, fast and stress-free processes. And modern technologies make this possible.

In addition to furnishing your rooms as a place of retreat, the design of your conference rooms also plays a decisive role.

5. Create personalised meeting experiences

Despite the many miles they travel all year, business travellers still seek a good work-life balance. And your duty as a convention hotelier is to make this possible for your guests – transforming the hotel into a mobile home away from home. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to emphasise the wellbeing factor. Along with designing the rooms as a retreat, the conference room design is also key. Use variable lighting that is adjustable according to mood or time of day, since lighting essential for making your guests feel at home.

Recall the previous example of the Vienna hotel. This hotel also serves as a flagship example in terms of meeting and conference space design. With the cosiness of a Viennese coffee house, the lobby is designed as a coworking space. Aptly named Your Space, it can be used as an office, for meetings or for talks; or it can serve as a place to relax or drink coffee. Consequently, this Viennese hotel creates an atmosphere where business travellers can easily switch between work and life, which encourages a relaxed work environment and enables guests to feel at home at the convention hotel.

But lighting and interior design concepts are not all one needs to outfit a convention hotel for the future. Particularly digital meeting technologies are the decisively factor in any future-proof convention hotel. An individualised meeting experience is only possible when the technologies are used to meet today’s demands and simultaneously, satisfy the expectations of your guests. The most modern systems provide convention travellers the best opportunities to exchange ideas and are additionally technologies which are easily accessible by the user. Compatibility issues are thus a thing of the past. Effective use of flexible technologies is therefore the secret recipe behind future-proof convention hotels with happy guests.

6. Create customised travel experiences with Artificial Intelligence

With the advent of Google, Siri and Alexa, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has long since arrived. Now, the hotel industry has taken giant steps forward toward Hotel Industry 4.0 and AI. The search fort the right convention hotel and travel planning are already supported by AI. AI-based chatbots as well as digital travel agents are improving the customer journey. You have already been introduced to Sepp, Pepper, Ivy and Rose. These AI-driven robots support human interaction in the hotel. They capture and process guest data, allowing the customisation of conference and travel experiences. They lay the groundwork for providing personalised services to business travellers, guaranteeing 24/7 accessibility and optimizing the internal organization of the convention hotel– all according to the needs of your guests.

7. Uninterrupted productivity through free Wi-Fi

Nothing is more annoying than a slow internet connection. After all, the job still needs to be done even when travelling. Therefore, you should invest in a good internet connection via Wi-Fi, which your guests should always be able to access free of charge. Free Wi-Fi improves comfort level and productivity, as well as the quality of the meeting experience and productivity. Design modern meeting spaces that implement new technologies. This guarantees satisfied guests who will be sure to recommend your convention hotel to others.

8. The hotel room as a nest, the bathroom as a spa and all-round wellness

Key word: work-life balance. Apart from excellent design choices for your meeting spaces, you should also ensure a relaxed atmosphere in the rooms. Turn your bathroom, bedroom and fitness studios into a wellness oasis to allow your guests to refuel and start the next day refreshed.

9. Believe in the power of social media

Selfie-friendly nooks, a cool barista or modern art at your hotel are a must. Bloggers and influencers will show off your convention hotel on the world wide web. Let these brand ambassadors provide you with free advertising and provide the social media stars with inspiring content for their profiles. After all, remember that the New Media have long since created new job profiles, and these business travellers likewise want to benefit from individualized travel experiences.