Hotels are changing the way they run their businesses. Stay ahead of the curve with our trends forecast for hotel tech in 2017. Subscribe to the blog at the bottom of this post and receive tips on the latest trends right in your inbox each month, this year and beyond. 

Complimentary shampoo and a continental breakfast will no longer cut it in 2017. Instead, savvy hoteliers will need to stand out by paying attention to—and leveraging—the impressive technological advancements to have recently emerged on the hotel scene. Hotel managers who digitise their operations and services in 2017 will be better positioned to earn more direct bookings and grow their bottom line.

And that’s not all.

Developments in hotel tech will continue to enhance the overall guest experience, helping hoteliers improve their property’s reputation—both online and off.

To get you started, this winter we combed through numerous reports, trend data, and start-up news to find out what’s in store for the hotel industry this year. The result? A trend forecast for hotel tech in 2017, with five high-value opportunities for hotel owners like you.

Trend #1 – Digitised room service will boost ancillary revenue 

An especially exciting piece of hotel tech has just come out of Alberta, Canada: Nobal Technologies’ iMirror. The device, an interactive mirror installed in hotel rooms, acts as a virtual concierge to quickly serve dynamic guest needs. It also helps hotels up- and cross-sell.

“We’re the first ones (in the interactive mirror space) pushing into the hotel market,” said Pieter Boekhoff, the company’s founder. He sees a future in which there’s an iMirror in every hotel room, letting hotel guests order room service, purchase hotel promotions, try on clothes from hotel retail stores, and more.

In 2017, hotels will increasingly do away with the A-Z books of yesteryear, opting instead for digital, interactive displays through which they can boost ancillary revenue.

Trend #2 – Responsive web design will earn hoteliers more bookings

A traditional website with small images and an outdated reservation request form will become obsolete in 2017. Not only are visually appealing, intuitive hotel websites necessary to drive direct bookings, but Google is now pressuring all websites to be responsive in their design. That means the website automatically responds and resizes itself depending on the device your traveller is using, so no more sideways scrolling and zooming in for your potential guests when they check out your hotel on their mobile or tablet!

Don’t be nervous: This is an opportunity for you to get more direct bookings just by revamping your website. You don’t need to hire a web designer, either, if it’s not in your budget. There are a host of DIY web design solutions out there that are affordable and easy to use. 

Squarespace, for example, is one that we can heartily recommend. The team behind the tool describes the ease of building a responsive website with it: “Creating your website with Squarespace is a simple, intuitive process. Just add and arrange your content and features anywhere you want with the click of a mouse.”

They aren’t kidding, either. In just a few hours you can have a visually appealing, easy-to-navigate site that will inspire travellers to book.

In 2017 hotels—especially small independent ones—will drive more direct bookings by using responsive design for their websites.

Trend #3 – Robots will become part of the guest experience

If you’re thinking this is far-fetched, think again. Last year we witnessed holographic “robots” guiding guests through an airport. We saw mechanised robots at industry trade shows, playing the role of concierge. We saw them all over the media, too.

Modern society’s fascination with robots is only going to become more apparent in 2017. Expect to see robots running hotel receptions at independent and chain hotels alike.

In fact, there’s already a start-up company working on making it happen. Immersive Robotics’ bots will make self-check-in and service requests simple and automatic. The benefit to hoteliers? A significant reduction in cost and seamless, 24/7 customer service.

In 2017 hotels will start looking to tech-disruptors and manufacturers of robots to fulfill their front-desk needs.

Trend #4 – Keyless room entry will become a top guest demand

Nowadays people use their smartphone to do just about everything, from staying in touch with loved ones to running their business and doing their banking.

So it makes sense that smartphone technology for hoteliers is a hot topic—especially the use of smartphones as room keys. It’s easy to see why: Keyless room entry will streamline hotel operations, reduce costs, and improve the overall guest experience.

Some hotels in the UK and North America have already started to integrate mobile-key tech into their properties. And as guests begin to experience the efficiency of mobile check-in and keyless room access, they’ll start to expect it at every hotel.

Hotels around the world are taking note and have named hotel and room tech as one of their biggest budget items.

Hotel tech providers such as OpenKey and SALTO Systems Hospitality have also taken note. These companies are developing tech solutions to keep up with hotelier needs and guest demands for keyless room access and more.

2017 will be the year hoteliers stop shelling out big bucks for keycards and guests stop having to deal with lost or deactivated keycards and waiting in line to check in….2017 will be the year of keyless room access and mobile check-in.

Trend #5 – Property management will become easier and make hotels more profitable

Pen and paper might seem simple enough, but as a system for managing a property, it’s not the best for keeping things organised and up to date. Plus, it ties the hotel manager to their front desk or back office.

But what about when a hotelier is on the go? How do they keep on top of the reservations and daily hotel operations?

The smart ones are using an intuitive management system that runs off the cloud. Not only can it be accessed from any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer, it’s also simple, reliable, and customisable.

Base7booking is a hotel tech company present in 45 countries around the world and headquartered in Lutry, Switzerland. Their portfolio includes a booking engine and a channel manager in addition to the property management system, and they even offer a free trial of their expandable solution.

Hotelier Josh Makrauer of Apple Creek Cottages in the US has this to say about the platform:

“Base7booking has saved me a lot of time and money. As a small hotel, their property management system has worked wonders for us by simplifying our reservation process for both our guests and employees. I recommend their product suite to other hoteliers.”

In 2017 hoteliers will break the pen-and-paper chains binding them to their front desks and turn instead to affordable, simple hotel tech for managing their properties. As a result, they’ll have more freedom to focus on their guests and their work-life balance, as well as the ability to drive direct bookings while on the go.

Which of these trends have you already noticed this year? Is there one of particular interest to you and your hotel business? Let us know in the comments below.

Jamie Patterson

Jamie believes that playing host to guests from far and wide enriches the soul. Especially when it means having a full hotel. Born to entrepreneurial parents, she’s passionate about business growth. With a decade of traditional and digital marketing work behind her, she’s joined trivago to demystify metasearch and hotel marketing for you. One blog post at a time.

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