In the Words of Chesapeake

New Year, New Technology

New Year, New Technology

January 31, 2018

From variable data digital printing, to machine learning, to apps that make the guest experience more connected than ever before. Tech is reshaping opportunities across our industry in exciting and often unexpected ways.

Here are the five key tech trends we’re paying close attention to in 2018:

1) Integration – tech has reshaped virtually every aspect of the hotel experience, from booking and checking in, to in-room experience and on-premise activities. While apps have begun to play a role in this wider ecosystem, they have done little to bridge the disparate elements of the guest experience. With the incredible power of today’s mobile devises, and the reliance of virtually all customers on those devices, the mobile app will move beyond just another box to tick in a hotel’s tech offering, and towards a critical hub for the guest experience.

From booking, to check in, to unlocking your room and controlling the entertainment system inside - scheduling a yoga session and spa appointment, or chatting in real time with a concierge – everything that can be managed from a smartphone soon will be.

2) Voice search – The power of mobile is also shifting how customers search and engage with properties. According to Milestone Internet Marketing, voice search has driven significant simplification of search terms, coupled with an enhanced focus on location. Questions like “boutique hotel in downtown Chicago” are being increasingly replaced with questions like “hotels near me.” While that overly simplified shift may seem daunting, there are ways to compete and win in new reality of voice search.

More than anything, it means staying on top of the ever-changing algorithm nuances of search platforms like Google –the emergence of long tail key words, mobile page speed, mobile load speed, how important back linking is for any business - so when a potential customer says, “hotels in Chicago,” yours comes up.

3) Reaching further with AI – There’s been buzz around Artificial Intelligence and machine learning in the hospitality industry for some time. In 2018, we are going to see increasingly tangible applications for the technology. One of the greatest promises of AI stands in its ability to identify and effectively leverage patterns otherwise impossible for humans to trace. In hospitality, this translates to identifying and effectively targeting concentric circles out from a property’s core consumer. Who they are, why they travel, and how a hotel can effectively market to expand its business.

With spending power shifting to an emergent global middle class, AI will become a key tool in understanding and targeting consumers previously thought out of reach.

4) Leveraging digital printing to create more dynamic environments– Digital printing has been around for some time, but recent advances are seeing designers leverage the technology to create more dynamic interior environments than ever before. More broadly available variable data printing offers the ability to create incredibly vibrant interior spaces that increasingly blur the lines between art and design.

The increasing capability, affordability and availability of digital print means the technology is available across a much broader range of geographies. Instead of working with design firms a half-continent away, properties can now more readily leverage local talent to drive a modern, innovate feel that’s true to the culture and history of a specific locale.

5) Using what you have –Less a trend a more a reminder of best practice, properties must be mindful to maximize the impact of what they have, while continuing to actively invest in future tech. Whether it’s free Wi-Fi that reminds guests of the latest dinner deals when they log in, loyalty programs that pull up details of a guest’s preferences for the front desk to reference, or an in-room entertainment system that, well, works (yes, always works) – the tools we have today are powerful and effective revenue drivers.

In 2018, we need to continue to keep focus on what works as we look ahead to the incredible opportunities of the near future.