Technology Advances in Hospitality for 2013



The past year has been all about hoteliers seeking to add value to their services through the use of technology. What were once seen as luxuries, such as iPod docking stations, the Philips hotel TV and, of course, free wi-fi are now standard in all reputable hotels and even some guesthouses. We're now seeing these technologies come together using 'smart' systems that make things even easier for the guest.

One-touch control

With a few swipes of the touchscreen, guests can control their room's ambient temperature, its lighting, aircon, multimedia entertainment – and also contact the front desk, room service, housekeeping and other services. They can use it to check out and research things to do in the area. Things are just as well sewn up from the staff point of view, with smart monitoring and management systems offered by the likes of Apple and Control4. These make the complex and labour-intensive task of operating a top-quality hotel far easier, thanks to integrated systems.

Luxury hotels leading the way

Some of the tech trends to watch over the next 12 months are being pioneered now by luxury hotels across the globe – and where they are now, the rest of the sector will be heading for throughout 2013. Examples such as the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas give some idea, with its Control 4 systems that can tell when a guest has entered the room and respond in the right style, opening curtains, switching on the ambient lighting and kicking off the air conditioning. All the settings for the room can be adjusted from the comfort of the spacious bed.

2013 - the year of innovation

The system also offers some very fun touches, such as the one-touch “good night” button – activating a “do not disturb” notification, turning off the lights and pulling down the blinds. The TV in the room is top of the line and includes full connectivity options to allow the guest to plug in their laptop, camera or smartphone. This demonstrates the potential of modern control systems, and it's fair to say that the competitive nature of the hospitality industry is going to see far more innovation along these lines as the year progresses.