Hotels have renewed focus on technology to improve the guest experience and hotel operations, but what are the next big tech trends coming down the pike? Hotel Management interviewed Michael Blake, CEO of Hospitality Technology Next Generation, about the technology trends that are still in the works from 2017 and what will dominate in 2018.
Trends still in action
1. APIs: In 2017, HTNG launched the API Registry Workgroup with a vision for a more connected network of hotel technology vendors. The ability for information to be shared in our ecosystem will continue to be a trend in hospitality this year as well as in years to come. The workgroup is continuing its effort through 2018 with a published registry to launch in June.
2. Machine learning and artificial intelligence: This is another trend that is still on the forefront for 2018. Many individuals are still in the planning and experimenting phases with AI. As more data becomes collected, it is important to start developing an AI strategy to begin sorting and culling the appropriate data to learn about the guest. The more that can be learned about a guest, the better, and then algorithms can help us take actions to improve the guest experience.
3. Acting on data: We need to start focusing and acting on the data that has been collected by hotels. There’s an arising need not necessarily for physical technology, but for actual individuals who can harness the power of technology. If we are going through the process of collecting data, we should then be using it in every beneficial way we can.
4. Blockchain: Today, blockchain seems to be a point of conversation in many industries. In hospitality, we want to separate fact from hype and evaluate where it is that blockchain can be applicable in our industry. HTNG’s recently chartered Blockchain for Hospitality Workgroup is constructing a white paper to educate the hospitality industry on blockchain technology, identify relevant frameworks and provide a use case for which select frameworks can be deployed.
5. Investments in wireless charging: For years, the lack of consistent adoption of wireless charging standards in devices has made it risky to invest in wireless charging products. Apple joined the Wireless Power Consortium and added Qi charging to all of its new phones. This means any new advanced smartphone is Qi wireless charging compatible. Hotels can now safely make investments in charging products in guest rooms or public spaces knowing that they won’t find themselves on the wrong side of a standards war. Wireless Qi charging is here to stay and don’t be surprised if smartphones have no external wired ports in a few years.
6. Voice technology: In 2017, we saw a lot of experimentation with voice technology in hotels. We are still at a place where trial and error of implementation are helping to overcome obstacles. HTNG’s Voice Interaction Framework Workgroup is addressing topics ranging from legal considerations like guest privacy and labor relations to deployment best practices, with a deployment guide to be published in the first quarter of 2018.