How is tech helping Asia’s hotels provide a better service?
IT seems that having a high spec HD television partnered with a fully-stocked mini fridge and a collection of cute mini toiletry bottles may not be quite enough for the guests of today’ digital era.
Consumers expectations are rapidly rising, fueled by advancements in technology and the rising power of the Internet of Things (IoT). And while this is the case in every industry, perhaps none more than the hotel sector, where the expectations of customers are particularly important.
A recent Oracle Hospitality report which surveyed almost 3,000 US and European travelers, found that 64 percent of guests said it is “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience.
To meet these expectations, the hospitality industry is ramping up its effort when it comes to technology.
Those hotels who are innovating are ultimately the ones who will stand out from the competition, exceed guests expectations, and attract future guests.
So how are Asian hotels delivering customer service excellence with technology?
Robot room service
Typically, when you order that late night pizza to your room or when your pillow just isn’t quite soft enough, a human hospitality professional will come and deliver it to your door.
…But not in two hotels in Singapore. Two robots, Jeno and Jena, can be found working in the Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway and the Hotel Jen Tanglin, catering to their guests’ needs.
The relay robots main duty is to deliver guests’ orders to their hotel door, whether it’s an extra towel, pillow, or in-room service.
Each robot can carry up to 4.5 kg, with advanced sensors enabling them to maneuver around objects, call a guest’s room via Wi-Fi, and once they’re done with their job, return to a docking station where they can re-charge.
Check-in with a smile
Hotels are also toying with facial recognition technology to enable guests to check-in with a quick scan of their facial features.
Last week Marriot International, the world’s largest hotel chain, announced a joint venture with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to test the technology in their hotels.
This joint venture would enable guests to skip queues and cut the tedious check-in process to less than a minute.
According to the firm, guests will need to scan their IDs, take a photo, and share contact details on an automated machine. The device will then dispense room key cards after verifying both the identity of the guest and the booking information.
The virtual concierge
Exceptional customer service is when a problem is solved before the customer is even aware of it; this is something that technology is truly enabling.
Hotels across Asia are enlisting the help of virtual concierge systems to create truly exceptional experiences for their guests.
In Singapore’s 30 Bencoolen, a 131-room business and leisure hotel, each room is fitted with a smart-control system that monitors issues in real-time.
Any problems relating to things such as the room’s temperature or mini-bar stock levels are detected by the smart controller and alerted to staff who will address the issue before the guests even realize.
Marriott International is also rolling out Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant technology to its hotel rooms.
The smart speaker will be customized for hotels, and once installed, guests will be able to ask Alexa about hotel information such as “Alexa, what time does the pool open?” or “Alexa, what time does breakfast stop serving?”.
As well as this, Alexa will allow guests to control many functions in the hotel room such as temperature, lighting, and making calls.