Almost 5,000 rooms at Wynn Las Vegas are already voice-activated via Amazon Echo. Meanwhile, Hilton is beta testing its first mobile-centric hotel room, where guests can control temperature, lightning, blinds, thermostat and TVs with just a tap on their phones. Similarly, Marriott is about to soft-launch its “Internet of Things room”, offering services like mirrors with on-demand yoga tutorials and digital frames to upload friends and family photos during one’s stay.
The trend is pretty clear: in 2018 AI, domotic and IoT will bring the concept of personalization to a level that was unthinkable just five years ago. Guests can now resume their favorite Netflix series right where they left off or play their favourite Spotify playlist as soon as they check in.
Improving the quality of staff interaction in hotels has never been as important as it is today. Ping-pong communication between departments is, sadly, more the norm than the exception and, in order to stay competitive, hotels will have to review their workflows.
Today’s guests interact through a ridiculously high number of contact points: review sites, social media, real-time messaging apps and OTAs, so it’s getting harder for hoteliers to be reactive on all channels 24/7. That is why customer relationship management systems will have to reshape themselves in 2018, by shifting from overcomplicated tools in the hands of S&M departments exclusively to easy-to-interpret centralized hubs accessible to every department.
On top of that, travellers are more and more relying on their phones to get suggestions as well.
That being said, it is easy to understand why 2018 will be the year of bots. With more than 100,000 active ones on Facebook Messenger only, the technology behind chatbots will become more and more scalable and affordable even for smaller companies. In fact, today a chatbot is an efficient yet inexpensive way for hoteliers to interact with their guests (and potential ones) during each step of the booking journey.
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