The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is not new. Many machine-based industries like manufacturing, automotive, utilities, and many others are already using it. This technology is a perfect example of something so simple and elegant yet so amazing innovation in the era of disruptive technologies.
All the same, the IoT concept is not only helpful to production-based companies. The technology is equally applicable to B2C businesses, including the hospitality industry. In the hospitality sector, IoT helps hotels and restaurants improve their services while empowering their customers to enjoy new experiences.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of passing the power of the internet to physical devices. This model creates a network of devices, which are centrally linked up by the power of the internet. The ‘smart’ devices are capable of offering smart and independent experiences to hotel guests.
The Internet of Things technology offers a wide array of possibilities to hoteliers. Some hotels have already implemented this disruptive innovation to improve their services and redefine their guests’ experiences. Here are the main ways by which IoT in the hospitality sector provides innovative benefits to hotel guests:
Guest room automation
Internet of Things gives hotel guests a customized service according to their individual preferences. This is important especially after long hours of travel when guests feel exhausted and need a pleasant and warm stay. Hoteliers use IoT solutions to create ‘smart’ rooms where visitors can get exactly what they want when they need it.
Since IoT permits the creation of a centralized and connected network of smart systems and appliances, guests have the power to condition the room according to their liking. They can regulate the luminosity and intensity of their room lightings by using IoT-enabled smart lighting solutions. Additionally, IoT allows appliances to perform operations independently.
Still on elating their guests through guest room automation, hoteliers can use IoT to identify the preferences of their customers. They can use the information to surprise their guests with the same personalized services the next time they visit. Besides, it’s possible to share the data across different branches through a common CRM.
This ensures that guests receive the same experience in every branch of the hotel chain. The cross-facility integration enables hotel service providers to maintain a centralized system of customer profiles, which they can access anywhere, any time. IoT facilitates this because it helps hoteliers to collect their guests’ data and share it with their patrons through the common data management software.
Internet of Things (IoT) allows hotel guests to have a comfortable and customized stay starting from the time they check into the facility. From controlling guest room lights to calling the front desk through the TV or a mobile device, this concept ensures guests enjoy their stay in their own style.
Additionally, IoT allows hotel owners to integrate their services with their guests’ personal gadgets. This leads to a simplified check-in while giving guests the power to unlock their rooms through their mobile devices. Besides, mobile integration allows guests to share their data with a hotel so the staff can easily remember their customers’ preferences.
Increased safety and security
It’s important to note that smart rooms enhance the safety and security of guests, thanks to IoT technology. Features like automated smart door locks provide security, which is quite possible with IoT-enabled smart rooms. The idea here is to eliminate the issue of carrying a physical key, which is prone to misplacement or theft.
Instead, guests can unlock their doors through a secure app integrated into their phone. Broadly, hotel safety is not only achieved in guest rooms. Hotels that have incorporated IoT security solutions in the entire building enjoy protection with customized programs as well as protocol settings.
This eventually trickles down to guests who feel safe wherever they are within the property premises. Some IoT platforms enable users to develop programs for connected devices. If a security breach happens, they dispatch programming to the connected devices instantly. This triggers emergency lights, door locks, and many more to ensure security and safety are not compromised.
Guest room appeal features
The attractiveness of any hotel lies in its rooms. When visitors book a hotel for their accommodation, they focus on the rooms. Modern hotels use the IoT concept to give their guests a best-in-class staying experience by using devices powered with exemplary technologies.
Smart hotel rooms incorporate IoT-enabled smart switches, voice assistants, and electronic key cards, all of which work together to meet the demands of the guests staying in the rooms. They also integrate programs that enable hotel staff to monitor the preferences of their guests and provide them with personalized services.
Some Challenges of IoT
The Internet of Things indeed improves efficiency in the hospitality industry. However, the technology also brings along threats such as cyber-attacks and security gaps. Each device integrated into a hotel’s digital infrastructure is prone to hacking.
Hackers can use their tactics to infiltrate these devices and arrest a hotel’s system and demand a ransom or endanger the safety and security of guests. All the same, these challenges should not hinder the implementation of IoT in the hospitality industry. Instead, hotel executives should work on harnessing the benefits of the technology and stay ahead of its vulnerabilities.
For example, one of the ways to boost the safety and stability of the IoT concept is to use Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. PoE devices utilize wired connections, which enable networks to remain private and secure. Wireless networks are often exposed to greater security risks because they are prone to infiltration by malicious users and hackers.
Any successful hospitality business must ensure the satisfaction of its guests. IoT is one of the disruptive technologies that hoteliers can implement to achieve this goal. Internet of Things technology allows hospitality businesses to improve their services related to accommodation and housekeeping, which in turn improves customer satisfaction. In the end, it increases the reputation of the facility, leading to better business opportunities.
Alex Mirza, The Founder & CEO of Mogul – Humanizing Travel. Its platform Staymogul.com provides booking, service, and Mogulrecruiter.com provides talent solutions for the hospitality industry.