Room Service by Robot and Other Ways Tech Is Changing the Hotel Stay

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hotels are giving a service that is unlike any other,” said Sri Beldona, a professor at the University of Delaware’s business school, who has researched the subject. “They have to be intertwined with the customer’s lifestyle. How has technology penetrated this lifestyle?”

Some hotels—largely in the higher-priced spectrum—are looking to adapt technologies to make the customer experience as efficient and personalized as possible. Hotel keys embedded in a smartphone app enable guests to bypass check-in counters. Updated analytics on preferences allows room service to already have that sundowner cocktail in place as a guest arrives back to the room after the workday. Smart TVs connect to their personal Netflix or Spotify accounts, or room service orders can be placed from an individual’s smartphone.

SnappyScreen, a New York startup, has developed an automatic spray tanner for resort pools that, along with providing sun protection, can help hotels market spa services or items in the golf club’s pro shop.

In Las Vegas, meanwhile, Caesar’s Entertainment has rolled out what it calls its “24-hour Concierge,” an artificial intelligence-enhanced textbot that enables guests to request services—room service orders, additional pillows, and the like—from their mobile devices. The hotel’s front desk agents, as well as what Caesar’s calls a “specially trained universal agent team” provide full-time backup.

This past summer, Amazon began its Alexa for Hospitality program in a small number of Marriott, Westin, St. Regis, Aloft, and Autograph Collection hotels. Guests can use Amazon devices to make room service orders and housekeeping requests, as well as perform functions like setting an alarm or turning lights on or off.

“So many of our guests use voice technology in their home, and we want to extend that convenience to their travel experience,” Jennifer Hsieh, vice president for customer experience innovation at Marriott International, said in a press release.

In addition to making hotel stays more home-like for guests, using such technologies … Next Page »

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