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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Whitten

Get Smart: How IoT Benefits the Hospitality Industry

Updated: Oct 11, 2019

IoT can turn a guest's phone into the command center for their room's functionality.

Is your hotel behind the times? It can be difficult to discern what new tech is worth investing in. You don’t want to throw money at technology that doesn’t provide ROI, but you also can’t afford to drop off guests’ radars because your hotel’s technology is outdated.

Enter IoT. The Internet of Things is your hotel’s ticket to the future of hospitality.

Let’s start with the basics: What is IoT? Essentially, it’s internet connectivity in devices such as thermostats, lights, and mirrors that haven’t traditionally been “smart.” Individually, these devices offer great benefits to users, but the real gains come from connecting the devices together, or as Intel calls it, creating a “system of systems.” With IoT technology, devices can send and receive meaningful data throughout the connected system using cloud technology, allowing for real-time reactions.

What does that look like for your hotel?

Personalized guest experience

Imagine walking into your smart hotel room and the lights automatically come on, the thermostat adjusts the room to your preferred temperature, and the art is curated based on your established preferences. A voice-activated digital assistant schedules a 7 a.m. wake-up call and then starts a relaxing hot shower for you -- at the perfect temperature, of course. It’s an experience that caters to the individual and fully delivers a “wow” factor.

With IoT technology, hotels can offer guests next-level personalization.

Hotel guests want to feel like they still have the comforts of home while traveling. IoT takes that even further, providing a level of luxury and personalization that many guests don’t have at home. When everything from the room temperature to the art adapts to each guest, they may never want to leave.

Unbeatable customer service

Hospitality is an industry centered around serving people, and customer service is where the guest experience begins. You want all aspects of customer service to go smoothly, and IoT technology is the perfect way to make this happen. IoT software can help front desk staff give guests the A-list treatment by indicating important preferences and alerting employees to a need before the guest has to ask for it.

IoT tech can also allow guests to take control of their own experience, providing more options and fewer opportunities for human error. Hospitality powerhouse Hilton recently integrated IoT software with its rewards app. It allows guests to choose their room based on the view they want. The app also turns a guest’s phone into a digital room key and a remote that controls multiple features of the room including the TV, the thermostat, and the lights.

Hilton's Connected Room concept. [Credit: Hilton]

Cost-saving sustainability

Corporate responsibility and sustainability issues are becoming increasingly important to consumers. The effects of climate change are hard to ignore, and the environment is top of mind for many customers today. The millennial generation in particular has used its significant purchasing power (projected to be $1.4 trillion by 2020) to support businesses that align with their eco-conscious values. It’s important to consider sustainability measures such as reduced energy consumption and water usage.

IoT technology can help properties optimize energy consumption with services like predictive equipment maintenance, temperature regulation, and sensors that turn off lights or TVs when guests leave their rooms. In terms of energy consumption alone, IoT technology can potentially reduce a hotel’s energy bill by 6%.

Additionally, IoT devices can pinpoint water leaks and analyze water usage patterns to help determine viable conservation methods. The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, a city that knows firsthand how important water conservation is, is using IoT technology to gain real-time data about water usage and leaks. Already this technology has identified areas where the property can make adjustments to conserve water. Hotels that follow suit and make this leap into the future with IoT investments will reap the cost-saving benefits, as well as the marketability that comes with more sustainable energy practices.

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