The Future of Technology in the Hospitality Industry

Hospitality professionals are constantly told that they need to keep up with emerging technologies. However, many of the opportunities for learning at conferences revolve around really basic information that many of us already know – social media is important, tablets are nifty, and apps are a cool way to engage with attendees.

We attended a session at the MPISCC EdCon event in San Diego that took us far beyond this basic info and into the future. The session was hosted by Jim Spellos and Corbin Ball, who are two well-known technology experts in the meetings and hospitality industry.  Here are some of the highlights we took away from Jim and Corbin’s presentation:

  • People are bringing more devices into hotels than ever before – tablets, laptops, etc. Hotels should strive to provide enough bandwidth to accommodate these many devices, though tiered Wi-Fi services are becoming quite common (with ‘basic’ being for browsing and email, and ‘paid’ being for streaming video).
  • Apps will be increasingly useful in facilitating international meetings and travel by translating text instantaneously (Word Lens is a great example – check out the video!)
  • Augmented reality will be huge, whether it is in the form of Google Glass or apps that enhance a user’s understanding of their surroundings.

We also listened in on a recent webinar from Jon Inge of Jon Inge & Associates and Eric Brunnett of the Trump SoHo. The topic was similar – using technology to meet guest expectations. We definitely got a nice glimpse into the future:

  • Guest service apps for phones are going to become integral to both large and small hotels. They’ll be able to perform a wide array of tasks – they can reserve rooms, order room service, make spa appointments, control the drapes and thermostat, provide reminders for guests, and even unlock the door.
  • Guestrooms may become enhanced with some pretty amazing features – interactive bathroom mirrors that can be used as touchscreens to check email and weather, Hi-Can beds, and TV displays projected on walls or glass screens.
  • Perhaps our biggest takeaway – hotels won’t always be able to provide the latest cutting edge technology in guestrooms, because it becomes obsolete far too quickly. The biggest thing they can do to stay on the forefront of technology is to help facilitate guests’ usage of their own devices. That means Jack packs and Bluetooth to connect any device to the room TV, plenty of outlets for charging, and of course lots of bandwidth.

Are there any recent technology trends you’re particularly excited about?

For more great tips, please visit the following sites:

Meeting U – Jim Spellos

Corbin Ball Associates

Jon Inge & Associates

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