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.