The year 2020 has been an unprecedented for all businesses. No doubt it has impacted all industries. But by far, it had the most devastating impact on the hospitality industry. Before the pandemic, “Safe and hygienic” was a given phrase and taken for granted. How does this translate into practical terms now? Suffice it to say that hotels are taking hygiene and sanitation practices very seriously now. Hoteliers are doing their utmost to keep guests safe without compromising their comfort or convenience. For example, we are seeing a shift towards fully contactless hotel operations, which is likely to become a more and more commonplace phenomenon among hotels. This phenomenon is made possible with smart technology. How are smart technologies currently changing the experience for hotel guests? Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive smart hotel technology implementation in hotels today.

1.Digital Key

The traditional lock and key systems today are rapidly becoming outdated because of security concerns and cost of maintenance. A report by Grand View Research also showed increasing adoption of digital keys to address security-related concerns. This digital key approach enables guests to check-in remotely through their mobile device and access their assigned rooms without the need to wait around the front desk. This approach also allows hoteliers to manage their staffing needs and save considerably on labor costs.

Amongst many other options, the more popular smart lock options include:

  • the RFID locking system
  • code lock with a PIN
  • Bluetooth key lock

Given that the biggest challenge in replacing hotel locks is the cost of investment, hoteliers ought to make sure that the return on investment will be viable for the following years to come. Nevertheless, the adaptation to digital key and use of smartphone applications are expected to create more seamless travel experiences and open up new avenues for hoteliers to stand out.

2.Smart Room Service / Guest Services

Room service represents the primary part of the hospitality industry where the hoteliers seem to constantly face an uphill task dealing with ever-changing guests’ preferences when it comes to in-room experiences. In recent years, hoteliers and technology companies have been working together to crack numerous problems related to room service. Research by Criton found that 80% of hotel guests would download a hotel app that would enable them to get all information about the hotel – a 10% increase compared to March this year. With a service like HotelX’s Guest App, guests can browse all available room services complete with the required essential information such as prices, specifications and other relevant information. They can then decide and make a request instantly with just a few taps. As simple as that!

Other benefits of smart room service include:

  • Reduced costs in menu brochure re-prints 
  • Serving international guests through online multilingual brochures 
  • Promotes on-the-spot deals/discounts to guests
  • Improves internal communication among hotel staff for better guest room service

3.Smart Engines OCR Technology

Innovative hotels are already turning to Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to enable mobile check-in. This way, guests can easily scan their identity card or passport using the mobile guest app for hotel’s verification process. OCR technology gives guests the first impression of their hotel and woo more loyal guests. What’s more, hotel workers can use the time saved to improve their customer experience in other ways, further enhancing the guests stay.

4.Channel Management Technology

For those in the hotel industry, a pivotal part of any revenue management strategy relies on distribution channel management. With the rise of online booking agents such as Agoda, Expedia and, channel managers, or online management solutions were created to help hoteliers negotiate the new marketplace without losing guests and revenues. A collaborative platform in an HMS solution enables the distribution of hotel rooms or other hotel services to gain live access to key information, such as room rates and availability. With a fully integrated HMS solution like HotelX, hoteliers can overcome challenges such as overbooking, incorrect data entry, marketing needs and tedious processes – which in turn helps increase revenue and reduce costs.

Hotel Technology: What will be the next generation?

There’s always something better around the corner. Hotel industry can no longer work in silos, and smart technologies have opened up opportunities in the form of smart HMS that hoteliers need to leverage to exploit new sources of revenue. This enables them to thrive, and meet the expectations set in an increasingly competitive environment. Even on the opposite side of the hotel industry, the same basic business strategy and goals have been adopted to optimize distribution and create a healthy revenue stream. With a reputable mobile app like IFCA’s HotelX mobile PMS, complex processes like modifying rates, changes to the reservation and updating OTAs are simplified. It also helps hoteliers make informed decisions based on live progress updates and notify individual guests, corporates and travel agencies without any extra effort.

Highlighted Links

Resources and Further Reading

Why mobile key is taking over in hotels

Smart Hotel Locks: A Detailed Look By The Numbers

Smart Lock Market Demand To Reach 42.9 Million Units By 2027

Survey: Travelers want contactless hotel experiences

Defining the Smart Guest Experience

Smart lock provides multitude of benefits to hospitality industry players