Humanising Luxury Hospitality with Technology

The Following Article was Kindly Provided by Juliet Watkin-Rees, Matter of Form

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Tech innovation is transforming the future of the hospitality industry. Chatbots, robots and AI can help provide a seamless customer experience, removing pain points and providing more personalised service. But how far is too far? How do you balance the need for efficiency with the need for human touch?

At Alibaba’s ultramodern boutique hotel, Flyzoo, in China, robots mix cocktails and deliver fresh towels. Guests check in and access their rooms with face recognition on the Flyzoo app. A voice assistant facilitates requests for food, drink and pillows, and adjusts room temperature, swaps TV channels and closes the curtains. As for paying the restaurant bill? Put your card away: it’s all charged to your room via face-scanning technology. Of course.

The last year or two has seen the hospitality industry undergo a wave of digital transformation. Increasingly advanced mobile apps, in-room tech and big data all work to enhance the guest experience and minimise friction points.

But the very best hotels offer service with heart. Can this be achieved or sustained through tech innovations? Where is the line? We looked to explore this interesting balancing act of technology in hospitality and the potential benefits to hoteliers.

The age of innovation

The Youtube comments on Marriott’s offering would suggest this one is more of a gimmick. Marriott has developed high-tech showers equipped with touch-sensitive glass for scribbling ideas down on, that is then available to share via social media or email (because all the best ideas happen in the shower).

Meanwhile, Hilton and InterContinental are making rooms smart with voice tech- via mobile app or in-room system, respectively.

Meanwhile, in the US, Amazon launched Alexa for Hospitality, which offers hotels and holiday rentals the opportunity to set up customised versions of Echo products that act as an in-room digital concierge.


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