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The smart connection: Hospitality and the Internet of Things

Key takeaways

  • For hotels, Internet of Things technology provides ways to upgrade the hotel experience for guests.
  • IoT sensors can be used to create efficiencies for staff that will save time while improving customer experience.
  • Benefits from IoT, such as staff safety, streamlined experiences and leaner operations, are numerous and present a great opportunity for the hospitality industry.

Consumers are welcoming the Internet of Things into their homes, connecting everything from phones, TVs, and security systems to thermostats, lighting, refrigerators, and coffee makers. Now that their homes are ‘smart’, people expect the same level of intelligence in their hotel rooms, making IoT the next big opportunity for the hospitality industry.

To keep pace with rising consumer expectations, a growing number of hotels are deploying IoT solutions, which do far more than simply collect data. They use sensors, devices, networks, analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and other technologies to enrich customer experience and engagement, grow business revenue, and improve energy efficiency, cost savings, and information security.

Here are four reasons why it makes sense for hotels to consider IoT solutions.

1. Provide better customer experience

Consumers are living an increasingly digital way of life, and many want the hotels they frequent to use similarly advanced technologies. A growing number of hotels enable guests to manage much of their stay on their smartphones or devices. For example, many use phones and NFC (near field communication) wristbands to check in and out, and mobile apps to choose a specific room on a floor.1

Some IoT advances can enable guests to use their devices or room TVs to manage a variety of features, including controlling their room’s heating, air-conditioning and lights.2 These solutions could also alert a hotel’s cleaning staff once a guest has checked out, speeding up the process of getting the room ready for the next visitors.3

2. Keep track of things 

IoT solutions can help hotels manage assets and inventory in real time. In addition to saving money, hoteliers can use IoT to resolve some long-standing frustrations for both guests and staff.

Connected asset trackers placed on indoor and outdoor equipment speed up the process of finding needed machinery and devices, shortening or eliminating wait times for key items such as luggage carts. These trackers could also alert hotel staff to remove room service trays that have been left in a hallway.

3. Save time and money

When it comes to efficiency, IoT is a game changer. Connected services like water-leak detection, air-quality monitoring, and predictive maintenance of equipment can identify and fix problems before they affect a guest’s stay. 

Smart lighting and occupancy sensors can automatically turn off lights and TVs when people leave their hotel rooms. These sensors also have the ability to regulate energy consumption and support sustainability initiatives, while providing data and insights that can help hotels operate more cost-effectively.4

4. Roll out the red carpet for VIPs

VIPs don’t want to wait in long lines when attending conferences, weddings, and other large events at hotels. IoT solutions can change that. Biometric tokens that support facial recognition, queue management algorithms, and predictive analytics can streamline registration and badge verification processes, while still safeguarding personal information.

The 2018 Mobile World Congress, for example, was able to eliminate bag scanning and usher 100,000 attendees into an event quickly and easily, thanks to technology that scanned people’s faces and matched them with their credentials.5 IoT advances like this can also help detect suspicious behavior and people who are trespassing. What’s more, staff can use location buttons that enable them to request immediate assistance when needed.6

Hotels that embrace IoT can use this technology to boost customer engagement and build brand loyalty, operate cost-effectively, make employees more productive and secure, and drive business growth. Ultimately, IoT can help the hotel industry fulfill its mission of offering guests a place that really feels like home.

A version of this article previously appeared in Lodging magazine. For more information on how IoT can benefit business, visit PwC’s Connected Solutions.