Walk into the Aloft Hotel in San Francisco and you might see a small robot racing down a hallway. His name is A.L.O and he’s a ‘Botlr’. As the word suggests, he’s a butler. He’s part of the housekeeping crew and his responsibilities include delivering items such as razors, toothbrushes and towels. His success is measured in reviews rather than tips. If a guest leaves a positive review, A.L.O does a little victory dance. Everybody say Aww.
Meanwhile, at the citizenM Hotel in New York City, guests delight at the Moodpad. Each room comes equipped with one. It’s a tablet that lets you control key elements of your room, such as the lighting and temperature, as well as devices, such as the television, from the comfort of your bed.
Over at The Cromwell in Las Vegas, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive key card on arrival. This upscale hotel has replaced traditional room keys with an eKey, which allows guests to access their rooms via an app.
The ALOFT, citizenM and The Cromwell aren’t alone. Across the country, hotels are introducing new, exciting technologies designed to take the guest experience to the next level.
Chip Rogers, president & CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association describes how technology is changing guest expectations too, ‘The industry is in the throes of all-mobile revolution. Guests want to text with staff rather than call the front desk, and submit requests via a smartphone app.’
In many ways, technology is hospitality’s new frontier. And a great WiFi system is essential to the rollout of any tech aimed at elevating the guest experience.
The afore-mentioned innovations all rely on WiFi to function. A.L.O uses WiFi networks and sensors to connect with the hotel concierge, call elevators and navigate the hallways. WiFi connects The Moodpad to other physical devices, allowing guests to customize their environment. Guests can go as far as setting ‘themed’ ambiences; ‘business’ if they need to work, ‘romance’ if they’re in the mood to play. eKeys rest on wireless connectivity to work and form part of a wider digital check-in experience being rolled out by Caesars entertainment, the group that owns The Cromwell.
WiFi has long since been top of the agenda for hotel guests. With guests more connected than ever, it’s no surprise it’s the number one most requested hotel amenity. Visitors typically request WiFi credentials within seven minutes of checking-in.
What the above developments show, however, is that WiFi is becoming so much more than just a means of connecting your guests. It’s powering the means – the tech, devices, gadgets etc. – to connect with them, to surprise and delight them, and to deliver a more memorable experience.
WiFi is the foundation of hospitality’s tech revolution. And it’s only set to become more important as consumers acquire more devices that play into the internet of things. We’ve even read about hotels experimenting with smart speakers and virtual assistants, such as the Amazon Echo!
With hospitality’s tech revolution well underway, the race is on to keep up. Making sure you’ve got a great WiFi system in place is key to ensuring you can put your best foot forward and deliver the types of experiences that keep your guests coming back for more.