Automation is everywhere we look and is on the rise for 2019 – particularly in the hospitality industry. As consumers begin to integrate smart technologies, the “Internet of Things” (IoT), artificial intelligence, (AI) and numerous automated processes into their daily lives, they begin to expect these same commodities outside of the home where they dine, shop, and travel.
Continue reading for the top five automation trends for 2019. You can integrate these emerging technologies into your business to boost your profits and revenue.
1. IoT for increased Monitoring and More Data
The hospitality industry is becoming smarter each year. IoT or the “Internet of Things” allows for automation and increased control by connecting previously simple objects to the internet; like lighting, temperature, TV, or even kitchen tools and other service items. This is something that has been around for a while in the consumer market. Consumers have readily adopted “smart” homes that monitor everything from an app.
This trend has started to penetrate the hospitality industry and will see further proliferation in 2019, giving hotels and restaurants the ability to gather data and have greater control over previously unmonitored items. Connecting these objects to the Internet allows for communication and better monitoring of resources, as well as allowing big data to further customize and improve service offerings.
2. Voice Activated Smart Rooms
As more consumers integrate smart technologies into their homes, they are expecting to see these same technologies in hotel rooms when they travel- especially higher-end luxury hotels. Amazon Echo, Alexa, and Google Home are great examples of voice-activated devices that can control temperature, lights, security, and other features. According to gearbrain, “Alexa, is being made available at Marriott hotels starting this summer, letting guests adjust the room temperature and lighting with their voice.” Voice technology is on the rise and you can expect to see more examples of integration in 2019.
3. Self-Serve Options, Automated Processes
Self-serve options are a trend that we saw emerge in recent years and will only continue to grow in 2019. At this point, most guests have had some touch point with self-serve options in their day-to-day lives from online shopping, skipping the entire in-store process altogether, to self-checkouts via apps and kiosks at stores and in restaurants. Self-serve options will see major growth and further penetration in 2019.
Guests are becoming more receptive to interacting with apps, artificial intelligence (AI), and automated systems. Many hotels are opting for “remote” check-in and check-out and are developing even more apps and online options for automated ordering of room service and booking hotel amenities. Services such as volo!, an interactive concierge tablet, allows guests to browse the hotel’s full suite of amenities and offerings in an engaging and tech-savvy way. This type of technology frees up staffing for other essential operations that can further enhance the guest experience.
Put Theory into Practice:
Napa Technology’s WineStation® is a self-serve option that allows guests to use their hotel room card to order a glass of wine completely autonomously- no bartender needed. Guests can customize their wine selection and choose the pour size (ranging from 2 ounce tasters to full 8 ounce glasses) by simply swiping their room key.
WineStation® is the only intelligent wine dispensing and preservation system with Hotel Room Key Integration capabilities in the marketplace today. The WineStation® is driving new revenue streams in hotels like Marriott, Hilton, Ritz Carlton, Hyatt by providing simplified transaction resolutions for both Magstripe and RFID electronic locking systems. The WineStation® is great for maximizing passive revenue and can be put in high traffic areas such as lounges to increase profits by up to 25 percent.
4. Tech Lounges
Millennials are known for mixing business and leisure, lending to the new term “bleisure” trip. Most will extend stays at hotels for several days before and after business meetings to capitalize on their travel with some vacation time, spending money on amenities and upgrades. According to Comcast Business, an estimated 43 percent of business trips are now considered “bleisure.”
A very important part of the “bleisure” trip is having ultimate productivity and connectivity using enhanced “tech lounges.” The tech lounge is an ultra-modern space catering to the “bleisure” mentality. They are expected to have the latest tech capabilities, lightning fast connectivity, and all the comforts and accessibility of a lounge.
According to Comcast Business 2018 Hospitality Trends, “bleisure travelers need technologies that will help them get their work done in the most efficient and impactful way possible. Connected meeting rooms can include video conferencing capabilities, projection units and smart whiteboards, among other technologies, as these guests increasingly look for ways to remain productive while on the road.”
This is NOT your mother’s “business center.” You’ll find much more than your standard printer, projector and computer in these lounges. Tech lounges are a huge draw for the business class when booking hotels. Having one on site can really set you apart from your competitors.
Put Theory into Practice:
A Tech Lounge is the perfect location to install a WineStation®, the #1 intelligent wine dispensing and preservation system in the marketplace today. This automated, self-serve system will blend seamlessly among the expected amenities of the sleek tech lounge.
Wines by the glass sales account for more than half of all beverage sales and are a great source of income. Business travelers are some of the most affluent consumers in the world with expendable income for luxury items such as a $30 glass of wine. With WineStation®, you can serve high-end wines-by-the-glass to guests with sophisticated wine palates in the tech lounge without the need for additional staff or fear of product waste.
WineStation® operates on an argon gas preservation system that keeps wines preserved for up to 60 days inside the unit. This eliminates product waste, over-pours and increases revenue by 15-25 percent on average.
Robotics is an emerging trend that allows for greater efficiency of repetitive processes, freeing up staff for the more essential functions around a hotel or restaurant. From burger flipping to latté making, robotics is all around us.
Do you like your burger medium or well? Miso Robotics’ burger robot, Flippy, is the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant that can learn from its surroundings and acquire new skills over time.
Hate when you order a soy latté and get regular milk instead? Cafe X is one Barista that won’t make that mistake. This is a completely self-service, high-end, coffee kiosk robot allowing folks to customize and order their own lattés, coffees and other drinks at the touch of a button.
Aethon’s TUG is a “bellhop” style robot that does all the heavy lifting. From front of the house assistance with luggage, room service and special delivery, to back of the house assistance with cleaning and hauling heavier loads of linens and other supplies. TUG can even lead guided tours, open doors, and operate elevators!
With the opportunity to utilize staffing more efficiently, increase your profits, and enhance your guest’s dining and travel experiences, there is no wonder automation is on the rise. Stay ahead of the curve in 2019 by chatting with one of our customer service representatives about how you can use WineStation® to further increase your profits through automation today.