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    Smart Hotels: How IoT Technology is Changing the Hospitality Industry

    IoT and the hospitality industry

    IoT isn’t an entirely new concept for the hospitality industry. Many players have already incorporated IoT into their businesses and are using it to deliver benefits that run from delivering a more seamless customer experience to optimizing energy costs. According to PwC (PriceWaterhouseCooper), 70% of hospitality executives report already having active IoT projects, and they are using IoT to bring efficiencies to both the front of the house and the back of the house.  Here’s how.  

    Hyper-personalization

    Connected hotel rooms allow guests to control various room features, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, from their mobile phones or from a tablet provided by the hotel.  Guests can also use their devices to control the television, lights, and other electronics in the room, and all that data that is collected can be used by hoteliers to anticipate guests’ needs and provide a personalized experience.  Each time the guest enters their room, an automated personalized greeting can be sent, while at the same time the room automatically switches to the last saved preference, such as playing music, streaming TV services, adjusting the lighting, or opening the curtains. Additionally, by combining smartphone capabilities with beacon technology and other sensors, even more customized information can be sent to guests, such as capacity information for on-site amenities like the spa or pool, wait times for dining, or recommend suitable events close by.  Additionally, the rise of autonomous delivery robots can automate hotel room service, handling room deliveries quickly, safely, and reliably.

    For repeat visitors, actionable data allows hoteliers to preselect things like a guest’s preferred room location and bed type, along with presenting a welcome tray featuring their preferred snacks or wine. In other words, you can roll out the red carpet for your VIP customers with ease.

    Seamless check-in

    Instead of waiting at the front desk to get your room key, IoT eliminates the need for elaborate check-ins. With IoT hotels can automatically send a digital key to a guest’s mobile phone shortly before check-in, and this digital key can not only communicate with the door, it can also eliminate the need for checking in at the front desk, because the first time it is used to unlock the guest’s room, they are automatically checked in.

    Predictive maintenance

    Preventive maintenance has been the standard for hotels, with regular maintenance checks designed to reduce guest complaints and prolong equipment life. With IoT, predictive maintenance allows you to address equipment failures before they happen. Staff are provided with real time information about the operating status of equipment and appliances, with alerts being sent when there are any warning signs of deterioration or unusual performance. For example, connected thermostats and air conditioners can identify equipment issues before there is a full breakdown. Sensors indicating water usage going up in a particular room while no one is inside could indicate a leaky faucet or toilet, while sensors on pipes throughout the building can also identify leaks or other problems. The main benefit is that repairs can be carried out quickly or replacements fitted before the equipment fully stops working, something that is crucial when we’re talking about equipment or appliances that the hotel cannot operate without. It’s also a money saver, as an early repair will cost both less money and use less manpower.

    Energy savings

    When it comes to energy savings, IoT has some pretty obvious applications, such as monitoring the occupancy of a space to optimize heating/cooling and lighting within an environment, which leads to decreased energy consumption and therefore reduced energy costs. This is important because utility costs represent a massive portion of operational expenditure and electricity costs are going up. And energy savings means you can reach your sustainability goals.

    A connected energy management systems allows you to monitor and manage parameters online, giving you the ability to adjust settings quickly and easily in all or some of your guest rooms – without compromising on guest comfort.

    Data can help determine where things like insulation, windows, equipment, etc. need to or can be improved. Integrating different systems, such as elevators, guest room management, workforce, and property, provides logic between different data points, bringing awareness of what is going on across your entire operation, allowing for better planning of energy needs, both in real time and for long term planning.

    Asset management

    From machines to food trays, IoT technology can help manage assets and inventory in real time, alerting staff to service needs, while also enabling long term planning needs.  Connected asset trackers placed on both indoor and outdoor equipment speed up the process of finding needed machinery and equipment, shortening or eliminating wait times for things like luggage racks. Sensors on room service trays can alert staff when they have been left outside a room for pickup. Smart equipment enables staff to keep tabs on inventory such as towels, dinnerware, or anything else automatically, allowing them to work more productively and efficiently.

    Safety & security

    Automated smart door locks, where guests are sent a digital key on their smartphone, is one great security feature enabled by IoT. But hotel safety isn’t just about guest room. Equipping a hotel with IoT means the entire site can be protected using customized programs and protocol settings, which, in the event of a security breach, can instantly trigger door locks, emergency lights, and automated alarms sent to authorities. Biometric-based technologies that support facial recognition can be used to streamline check-in, but they can also help detect suspicious behavior and identify people who might cause problems. Non-intrusive connected buttons that are only activated by employees also give staff a way to request assistance.

    The future

    While IoT is already being implemented in hotels in myriad ways, the future may bring staff-less hotels. While in theory this may make sense due to money saved and revenue boosted, what is more likely is that as IoT in more closely implemented, many services will become automated, with staff being employed for better customer engagement.

    You can read about Tele2 IoT’s partnership with Nordic Choice Hotels and Speeron to bring 5G and IoT to the hospitality industry here.

    If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your business, please get in touch.