How to make hotels more human
Strangely, technology meant to bring people closer together can have the opposite effect. The chances of real human interaction have been strangely reduced as smartphones and tablets become more commonplace. Why engage in a conversation or even look out the window when you can constantly be distracted by a task, search, or social media post? In recent years, academics and researchers have made many comments about this. Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey 2017 found that social media users are increasingly fatigued. Nearly half of the respondents said they spent more time than they would like on social networks, and almost a third admitted that they spend much more time building relationships on social networking sites than in real life.
Hotel rooms are the perfect microcosm for these issues, as they intersect human interaction and technology. Today, much of our industry’s news is focused on leveraging technology to enhance guest experiences and improve back-of-house operations. Many ideas and analyses exist about digital room controls and energy-efficient HVAC systems.
Another big topic is people. The question is how to design hotels with warmth, culture, and flavor. Travel is all about savoring details, not just getting to A and B. Experience the texture of an area and interacting with actual human beings.
It’s beautiful if you have a fully automated hotel in Japan and your business model works. People are intrigued by this novel idea. If you’re a Westworld fan, you may see the value of creating lifelike characters who interact with guests to create a story. You don’t need any glitches.
Let’s face it: even if this technology were perfected, mass-produced, and dominated the hospitality industry globally, we would still be a long way off. People enjoy dealing with other people. We enjoy putting a person’s name on a face. It is a great feeling to have our dignity acknowledged by another person.
Automation may still have a way to go in the mainstream hospitality model. There are already examples of automation, such as how rooms are prepared and cleaned (Maidbot, a startup cleaning robot that markets directly to the hospitality industry), how supplies are delivered, and even how specific requests are handled—chatbots to answer basic questions from guests.
But there may be more effective technological solutions. In some cases, building trust in a new technology can take time. In 2016, J.D. In North America, a 2016 survey by J.D. The satisfaction level of that 3% was higher.
Insofar as they can save money and make hotels more profitable, robotics and automation will advance. It will become even more crucial to ask: How can we make our hotels more humane? How can we give our properties warmth, dignity, and culture? It is not through creating a more intelligent AI unit!
Some people believe we should use technology to personalize the guest experience. Hotel managers have been known to fit their staff with smartwatches that deliver prompts for guest personalization (based on spending and dining histories). Alternatively, we can use the Hilton HHonors App, which offers a personalized data stream. When I heard the regional director of an international group announce proudly that they had a program that texts guests to check if all is well in their rooms after arrival, I was stunned. I could understand their reasoning but was surprised they did not see the problem.
In the middle of this technological buffet, the increased use of robotics and automation increases the demand for genuine human qualities. We may find that only another human can affirm human dignity. A team of dedicated people who work together is more effective than robots (after all, they consume electricity).
This is not to say technology isn’t good or that hotels shouldn’t use it to enhance their guest experience. But technology should only replace or reduce the human factor if it is a novelty. It’s essential to address these issues early on, as automation technology will only continue to advance.