More than ever, hotel guests want personalized experiences when they travel. But in this age of super technology, the idea of a “personalized experience” is rapidly changing. While guests still value having a concierge create a unique itinerary for them or receiving a special in-room amenity, the shift is now towards being able to curate their own experiences – from viewing movies and listening to music from their own playlists, to customizing the scent of their guestroom. Here are some of the ways hotels are using next-gen technology to meet these new demands.
Connected Rooms Last year, Marriott International partnered with Samsung and Legrand to launch a hotel room focused on the “Internet of Things.” (Think WIFI-connected coffeemakers that can be programmed through an app.) The IoT Guest Room Lab allows multiple systems, devices and applications to communicate with one another. For example, a guest could ask a virtual assistant for a wake-up alarm, to start a yoga routine on a full-length mirror, request additional housekeeping services, and start the shower at the desired temperature stored in their customer profile, either by talking to an IoT-connected device or using an app.
Not to be outdone, Hilton announced the Connected Room late last year, a unique high-tech guestroom that lets guests personalize and control every aspect of their stay from their mobile devices. Guests who stay at Connected Room-enabled properties will be able to use the Hilton Honors app to manage many things they would do manually in a room, from controlling the temperature and lighting to the TV and window coverings. Guests will also be able to stream content from their media accounts on the in-room TVs and pick up right where they left off at home.
Looking ahead, Hilton plans to have guests staying in Connected Rooms use voice commands to control their room or access their content, and to upload their own artwork and photos to automatically display in their room. Guests will also be able to set preferences in their Hilton Honors account profile to further customize their in-room experience to their individual preferences.
Hilton is also working on personalization through its Innovation Gallery, an incubator and experiential showcase for new product developments. Some of these developments include Nightingale, a noise-masking product; Somabar, a personal mixology solution; Meural, a customizable digital art display; and Pilot, a real-time translation solution.
Personalization isn’t limited to entertainment, of course: Israeli company Moodo makes aroma diffusers that let guests customize the scent of their rooms. Upon entering their rooms, guests can pick a pre-set fragrance combination suggested by the Moodo app or use the app to mix fragrances and create their own unique scents.
The Future of Personalization While all of these high-tech options are certainly impressive and buzzworthy, they also raise a question of what hotel guests will come to expect in the future. One of the joys of travel is discovering new and exciting things, like songs on local radio stations and diving into surrounding the culture. While the ability to bring all the comforts of home on the road can be nice, some of the best parts of traveling involve stepping outside of comfort zones and disrupting established routines.
In short — will people want to get away from it all, only to take it all with them?