Creating a homey atmosphere for guests and enhancing their experience is paramount for a hotel. Technology has a big role to play, as guest room controls need to be convenient, simple and intuitive.
Every hotel has its own set of unique needs, requirements and budget. Therefore, it is key for all hotels to invest in a trustworthy and failproof Guest Room Management System (GRMS), which enables rooms to become smart rooms. The automation system of GRMS helps in managing information while allowing commands, such as energy management, room temperature adjustment, opening curtains and managing services like “Do Not Disturb.”
These tech solutions can range from basic and simple to advanced, like allowing guests to choose lighting preferences and casting their own content on the TV screen.
Ideally, hotels should be fitted with GRMS at the construction stage or during a major renovation to ensure the systems are cost effective. Once installed, these systems typically run without the need for major adjustment or maintenance for a long time.
At Hilton properties, guests can use the “infotainment” solution, while personalizing their engagements, from reservation recommendations to customized in-room technology. Dan Morton, VP of guest experience at Hilton, cited Digital Key and the Connected Room experience, as examples. Hilton allows for contactless arrival by offering digital check-in and Digital Key, which guests can use to unlock their rooms, within the Hilton Honors app, augmented with the ability to choose a room and share the Digital Key with family and friends. The Connected Room enables guests to stream video content, such as Netflix, “while adding more personalization and control from one central point: their mobile device,” Morton said.
“The TV is the most seen digital platform our guests experience, and there’s tremendous opportunity to highlight in- hotel services and enterprise-wide services to guests who may have gotten to us without engaging with our internal digital channels,” Morton added.
The GRMS integrations in Virgin Hotels, done in collaboration with a few different players, such as Lutron, Crestron and VDA, provide guests with the ability to control their room directly from their TV with a few simple clicks, as they are about to cast a movie, said Martin Chevalley, CEO and co-founder of InnSpire. The U.K.-based tech solution supplier does not save guests’ personal data or credit card information into their system. Instead, the company
allows the data to be stored by those who are already storing essential data.
“For example, since the property management system already holds guest data, that system is used to keep this type of critical information. With credit card transactions, the data is typically tokenized, meaning it’s packaged and sent encrypted, so that InnSpire’s solutions never come into contact with this information,” said Chevalley.
At some of InnSpire’s partner beach resorts, when guests order food and drinks through the hotel’s app, it “sees” where they are located on the beach and asks if that’s the spot where they would like the servers to bring their order.
Other hotels, especially resorts in the Maldives that focus on providing guests with privacy and luxury, use the digital door viewers, a feature that allows guests to see who is at the front door—if they are in their room or even out.
Most GRMS have built-in energy management systems, which puts in place energy-efficient practices, such as pausing the air conditioning or heat when guests exit the room.
Over time, saving on materials and energy is more cost-effective and better for the planet, said Hilton’s Morton, adding that Digital Key has helped to divert more than 125 million tons of plastic from landfill since the functionality was launched.
The options for GRMS are endless and just in their infancy, said Chevalley.
“In the not-too-distant future, your favorite room settings will likely be saved in your hotel profile and re-applied every time you check in, so that your room is customized to your preferences and always perfect for you,” he said.
Hoteliers see even more tailored experiences to cater to guests’ personal needs and preferences in the future. Some luxury hotels are even arranging what is available in the hotel refrigerator based on guests’ preferences. This is all a balance between privacy and allowing systems to track and analyze consumer behavior.
“In the near term, conserving power and supporting sustainability will be seamlessly woven into our hotel stay – driving those synergetic benefits for corporations, individuals and the planet simultaneously,” said Chevalley.