What’s Hot in Hotel Tech

Is your hotel technology making things smoother than a well-made bed? If not, it may be time for an upgrade! We’re not talking about flashy bells and whistles. The hottest hotel tech streamlines operations and removes bumps for guests. From smart tech to self-service solutions, let’s take a look at innovations that can help your hotel (and your bottom line) now.

Contactless Check-in

Gaining popularity since 2020, contactless check-in technology is not only a hot industry trend but also a true game-changer for its ability to streamline the guest arrival process.

What it is: Contactless check-in allows guests to complete check-in formalities online, bypassing the front desk when used with digital room keys. Typically, hotels leverage mobile apps or online platforms for guests to pre-register, submit necessary identification, and provide payment information before arrival. Other hotels use self-serve kiosks in their lobbies. Through the power of a smartphone, guests can skip check-in queues and go directly to their room, where the hotel’s door lock system and mobile app communicate to provide room access.

Why it’s hot: Not everyone loves self-serve, but many guests (especially younger generations accustomed to organizing their lives online) do. By offering contactless check-in as an option—rather than a replacement—for traditional check-in, everyone is happy. What’s in it for you? Reduced paperwork, shorter lines at the front desk, and quicker check-ins. What’s not to love? Plus, by reducing wait times and minimizing physical contact, hotels can elevate customer satisfaction while addressing evolving expectations in a rapidly changing world.

Mobile Payments and Digital Wallets

Hands up if you want to enhance the guest experience while streamlining financial transactions! Mobile payments and digital wallets are hot tech for hotels and retailers alike. For those accustomed to using their phones for shopping and banking, this is the next logical progression, and hoteliers are taking note.

What it is: Mobile payments and digital wallets can improve guest payments by allowing users to make payments and securely store payment information on their mobile devices. Mobile payments involve transactions conducted through mobile devices, while digital wallets are applications or platforms that securely store payment information, enabling users to make purchases or transactions without physical cards or cash.

Why it’s hot: Guests may leave their rooms without their wallets, but seldom do they leave without their phones. Mobile payments and digital wallets offer guests a convenient way to pay throughout your hotel, from the restaurant to the gift shop or spa, making them the perfect accompaniment to contactless check-outs. The advanced security measures of digital wallets, such as biometric authentication and tokenization, reduce fraud risk and are arguably more secure than a credit card or cash.

Digital Tipping

Have you ever experienced outstanding service but found yourself caught off guard without cash to express your gratitude through a tip? You better believe it’s happening at your hotel too. Don’t leave your bellhop hanging; hop onto our next hot hotel tech: digital tipping.

What it is: Digital tipping enables guests to provide tips or gratuities digitally or electronically, eliminating the need for physical cash. Integrated with a guest app like Canary Technologies, this technology allows guests to simply scan a QR code or click the app to select specific staff members (such as bartenders, housekeeping, concierge, and bellhop) and send a tip.

Why it’s hot: Beyond providing convenience for guests, digital tipping offers a secure method for staff to store and track tips. It serves as a visual motivator and esteem booster, ensuring a seamless and rewarding experience for both guests and staff.

A guest uses a hotel app on her mobile while resting in her hotel room.
Guest messaging and digital tipping applications improve guest engagement and satisfaction throughout the stay.

Guest Messaging

Guest messaging is the most straightforward way to significantly enhance customer service and guest satisfaction by fostering engagement in a modern, efficient, and personalized manner throughout a guest’s entire stay.

What it is: Across the hotel industry, establishments are integrating messaging platforms to facilitate real-time communication between staff and guests. This can be through SMS, chat apps, or direct in-app messaging.

Why it’s hot: In today’s digital age, the majority of hotel guests are accustomed to online communication. While maintaining a “real-person” presence at your front desk and phone line is crucial, digital communication offers unmatched convenience for both guests and staff. Guest messaging facilitates instant communication for prompt responses to inquiries, requests, or concerns. The implementation of chatbots can efficiently handle FAQs around the clock, reducing inquiries and freeing up time to assist other guests with more specific needs. Guest messaging serves various purposes, including pre-arrival communication to share important information, welcome guests, build excitement, and upsell. Post-stay, it is employed for surveys, loyalty-building initiatives, and promoting offers to encourage guest retention.

Artificial Intelligence

Love it or hate it, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made its mark on the hotel industry. We believe that the more you learn about it, the more you’ll come to appreciate its value. AI has the potential to enhance operational efficiencies, deliver personalized guest experiences, and provide a competitive edge in an ever-evolving hospitality landscape.

What it is: AI in the hotel industry leverages machine learning across various channels to automate and streamline tasks.

Why it’s hot: Who doesn’t want to achieve more in less time? That’s why AI is gaining popularity in hotel tech, and it’s here to stay. AI applications span all hotel departments, with a significant focus on marketing, customer communication, revenue management, predictive analytics, security, smart room automation, and administrative tasks. The use of AI can help reduce operating costs, increase TrevPar, and boost guest satisfaction.

Close-up of a guest's hand holding a mobile phone displaying a mobile key app close to a hotel room door lock.
Mobile keys and other smart room applications enhance convenience and comfort for guests.

Smart Room Tech

Room tech has come a long way since clapping lights on and off. Today, smart room technology can put so much more at your guests’ fingertips—or voice command—taking personalization to the next level.

What it is: Smart room technology for hotels refers to the integration of advanced digital and IoT (Internet of Things) devices within guest rooms to enhance convenience, comfort, and overall guest experience. Through in-room tablets or connected devices, guests can control their room’s environment, from lighting to heating, and access various services.

Why it’s hot: Smart room tech is hot for the same reason smartphones are hot: convenience and personalization. Guests like control over their rooms through smart thermostats and lights, voice assistants, automated blinds, and streaming services. And hotels, happy their guests are happy, also take delight in smart tech for energy conservation with features such as blinds closing and lights turning off automatically when guests have vacated their room (which also translates to cost conservation, we might add!).

Cloud Software

While your brick-and-mortar hotel has a fixed address, your software shouldn’t. Invest in cloud hotel applications for increased operational agility—and the ability to manage your hotel from anywhere in the world.

What it is: Instead of hosting data on your own hardware and servers, cloud applications use a network of remote servers that are accessed over the internet. Users securely access the software and its features through a web browser or application interface. Examples of cloud-based software for hotels include property management systems (PMS), customer relationship management systems (CRM), revenue management software, and guest engagement platforms.

Why it’s hot: Cloud-based software is more accessible, primarily because applications are typically provided via a subscription model, eliminating the need for a substantial upfront investment. Moreover, it enhances your scalability, allowing for the easy addition or removal of applications based on your hotel’s evolving needs. Updates and upgrades can be seamlessly deployed without service interruptions. 

Various cloud-based applications—including guest messaging platforms, CRMs, revenue management systems, etc—can be integrated with the PMS to centralize data for increased automation and innovation. To maximize the benefits of cloud-based software, it’s crucial to have a PMS that supports a variety of software applications. Not all PMS solutions are created equal, and not all apps integrate seamlessly. 

Keeping it Hot in Hotel Tech

In the dynamic realm of hotel technology, trends reshape the industry by seamlessly blending innovation with practicality. From contactless check-ins to digital tipping, hotel tech innovations promise efficiency and elevate the guest experience. Keep up with what’s hot to identify solutions that can help your property stay ahead of the competition.