It was a massively busy week last week as the tech side of the hotel industry assembled in Minneapolis for the latest edition of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference, commonly known as HITEC.
Over here at SkyTouch Technology, we had a great time educating hoteliers on the latest advances in our cloud-based PMS system, as well as looking at the major hotel tech industry trends we’ll be discussing for the remainder of the year. For those of you that didn’t have a chance to attend the event, here’s some of the biggest trends, and emerging technologies we saw during HITEC 2019.
First to clear up any confusion, 5G is not as widespread as some of the major telecommunications companies want you to believe. There’s a lot of misinformation about this technology, which has been further spread by erroneous ads touting 5G networks. Truth is, they’re just souped-up versions of 4G networks! The real 5G network is still under construction, and actual phones that can connect to the actual 5G network are highly limited in availability as of this writing. However, 5G is highly anticipated and promises to transform the way hoteliers interact with guests.
Also, once the 5G network is up at full speed (pun intended!) and widely used, hoteliers can expect folks to use it rather than traditional hotel Wi-Fi. That’s because speeds should clock in as fast as 100x faster than 4G networks. Plus, hoteliers and guests will enjoy lower latency – that’s the time it takes for info to be recieved and useable. With 5G, connecting with customers becomes almost instantaneous, and will allow hoteliers to get closer to customers by providing truly personalized experiences.
Machine Learning/ AI
Two sides of the same coin, machine learning enables well executed Artificial Intelligence. Think about it this way; the more the AI learns, the smarter it becomes. Just like us!
In the hotel industry we’re seeing this start to play out in the form of chatbots and automated responses via phone, for example. Now it’s moving to the CRS. During HITEC, RLH Corporation announced that it has successfully deployed an industry-first Artificial Intelligence Virtual Agent for Central Reservations to support all 1,400 system hotels.
“We’re seeing travelers engage with the technology at a rate higher than we anticipated and are very pleased with the Virtual Agent’s ability to resolve traveler questions autonomously, reducing the cost of non-revenue related calls,” said RLH Corporation Director of Telephony Optimization & Analytics, April Weatherly.
During the last few years robots were the focus of many conversations about being tightly wound into the future of the hotel business. This year, not so much. We think they’ve taken a backseat for a while but will be back in the conversation soon enough.
Instead, hoteliers are focusing on another expense reducing technology; workflow optimization software. As the daily cost of running hotels increases, this software has potential to create better employee workplace efficiencies. This is especially important when it comes to departments with hourly wages such as housekeeping, as it eliminates wasted time and lowers the total number of hours it takes for that department to complete daily tasks.
HITEC is home to an ongoing series of awards geared toward recognizing some of the most interesting technologies to enter the hospitality sphere. This year’s winner of the Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competition at HITEC Minneapolis was selected by an expert panel of judges comprised of hotel technology professionals where TraknProtect was honered with the Judges’ Choice Award at the Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competition.
According to TraknProtect, their platform consists of a series of strategically placed hubs designed to interface directly with employee alert buttons and inventory tracking equipment. Using cloud-based technology, TraknProtect triangulates employee location with a safety alert in real time and alerts other staff to the emergency.
More popular than ever, cloud-based products such as the SkyTouch Hotel Operations Platform are fixed firmly in the mainstream hotel business. Now, hoteliers are feeling more comfortable than ever as the SkyTouch Platform now features SkyTouch /CONNECT API, which transforms third party product integrations into the SkyTouch Hotel Operations Platform, by reducing the time it takes to integrate new products into the SkyTouch Platform, with some interfacing in less than two days.
“With SkyTouch /CONNECT, SkyTouch can connect hoteliers to best-of-breed technologies they need to stay ahead of their competition, such as customer relationship management (CRM), guest engagement, revenue management systems, and so many more,” said Charlie Green, Director of Product Management for SkyTouch Technology. “The capabilities we’re seeing in new door lock systems, for example – like giving guests the ability to access their room with their phone or watch – requires this new generation of cloud-to-cloud integration that SkyTouch /CONNECT delivers.”
Ready to see how a partner like SkyTouch can impact your operations and your revenue? Contact us today and book a demo of the SkyTouch Hotel Operations Platform.