INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT): WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR IN THE HOTEL ENVIRONMENT?
The hospitality industry is well positioned to benefit from the IoT. That’s because the IoT is poised to improve the customer experience while also reducing costs. Connecting the world changes everything. That’s what businesses and consumers are learning as they embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) for everything from household garage door openers to smart-city applications that solve traffic congestion and reduce crime. In this edition, David Esseryk, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer (e-commerce, customer experience, loyalty, brand marketing and IT) at SEH United Hoteliers, looks at why IoT is more significant than just adding connectivity to existing products or services.
IoT is changing the way products and services deliver value. In the process, products are becoming services, and services are becoming more intelligent. The hospitality industry is not immune to this evolution, and, in fact, it is well positioned to benefit from IoT. That’s because the industry is poised to improve the customer experience while simultaneously reducing costs.
The modern hotel room is far from modern in that it is mostly disconnected. Hotel operations rely on property management systems that require mostly manual entries to track resources. Much of this work centres around the front desk — a once- critical part of the hotel stay that is on the verge of obsolescence.
IoT: TAKING THE TEMPERATURE
Many hotels already use IoT to control in-room thermostats. By switching to a connected thermostat, hotels can adjust room temperatures at check-in and checkout. A connected thermostat eliminates the cost of cooling or heating vacant rooms. It also reduces the likelihood of marring the first impression of a room with an uninviting, uninhabitable temperature. Taking heating and cooling a bit further, when hotels combine the thermostat with other sensors, the air conditioning can turn off automatically when a guest opens a window or balcony door. Another opportunity is to tie in automated window coverings that can mitigate temperature swings due to afternoon sunshine. Time of day or temperature sensors could activate these environmental adjustments.
A CONNECTED THERMOSTAT ELIMINATES THE COST OF COOLING
OR HEATING VACANT ROOMS
IoT BEYOND THE THERMOSTAT
Today, hotels really don’t know when a guest room is empty. Knocking is not the ideal solution. Knocking can wake or interrupt a guest, and the lack of a response to a knock is not conclusive. Intelligent sensors, though, can help detect occupancy. If the last detected motion was near the door, combined with an opening of the door, it may be reasonable to assume the room is empty.
In-room entertainment also gets better with connectivity. Hotels understand that guests value entertainment options, but premises-based movie systems are expensive and complex. Premium movie channels are a common alternative, but they offer a limited selection at fixed times. When hospitality more closely embraces IoT, hotels can improve the guest experience and lower costs, and when done right, they can avoid interfering negatively in a guest’s stay.
As technology continues to evolve and play an increasingly active role in our daily lives, Marriott International has teamed with two leading companies – Samsung and Legrand – to launch the hospitality industry’s Internet of Things (IoT) hotel room to inspire the ultimate hotel experience of the future.