Re-evaluating Post-COVID Hotel Technology

Re-evaluating Hotel Technology in the New Normal

 

Months into the pandemic, many businesses under the hardest-hit hotel industry are easing their way into reopening doors to customers. Due to the nature of the pandemic, drastic changes must be made to ensure the wellbeing of guests.

As the economy in some countries pushes to move forward, various hotels worldwide are prompted to reevaluate the way they use technology and how to rework it to their advantage. Many technological advancements were pursued as a response to the pandemic, some promoting contactless interaction while others focus on new innovations that will help hotels rigorously disinfect their spaces.

Prioritizing contactless interaction

In the age of Coronavirus, one cannot be too safe when in public spaces. The hotel industry and its guests can expect more innovations that will help lessen human and surface interaction indefinitely. Notably, the World Health Organization expressed concern that banknotes may be contributing to the spread of the virus and have suggested to opt for contactless payments as much as possible.

One thing guests can count on is how they will use their phones more than usual until further notice. Leading hospitality players have rolled out new mobile technologies to help both hotel guests and staff. To cite one example, Hilton Hotels committed to doubling down on promoting contactless interaction back in April, specifically when it comes to checking in. This led to the launch of Hilton’s Digital Key, a mobile application that guests can download so they can choose their rooms, check-in and check-out remotely, and unlock their doors with a single tap.

Furthermore, the demand for automation and contactless service is apparent. In South Korea, a company called Yanolja reported that the inquiries regarding their contactless check-in kiosks have more than doubled since the crisis. The company states that the cloud-based hotel automation solution’s main aim was to augment its services. However, with how social distancing is heavily encouraged, this technology’s main selling point now became its QR scanning capability. This will allow guests to claim their room keys in less than five seconds, effectively lessening the face-to-face interaction between customer and hotel staff.

Implementing innovative disinfection tech

The hospitality industry is now also changing the way they sanitize their spaces. Hotels such as Hilton and Marriott are being equipped with electrostatic sprayers, coupled with hospital-grade disinfectants.

Disinfecting robots have also made their appearance in some hotels and are expected to become a part of the new normal. The Westin Houston Medical Center started deploying robots, called the LightStrike™ Germ-Zapping Robots, to clean guest rooms, starting with one Houston-based hotel.

This new innovation uses xenon ultraviolet (UV) light, which has proven its effectiveness in killing viruses, bacteria, and fungi when a number of hospitals released studies showing 50% to 100% reductions in a variety of bacteria after using the LightStrike robots.

Another thing hotels can also consider technologies similar to the CleanCoat, an innovation that first made its debut in a Copenhagen-based hotel in early 2019. It is popular for its self-disinfecting capabilities as it purifies air by covering a room like invisible insulation. This helps hotel staff lessen the amount of time to clean a guest’s bedroom, ultimately minimizing the exposure to possible infection.

As the hospitality landscape starts to shift due to the Coronavirus, consumer behavior will also drastically change, even when the curve flattens worldwide. It is the hotel’s duty to address the guests’ anxiety caused by COVID.

Furthermore, hotels are prompted to pinpoint technology that will be adaptable in the new normal and how it ensures the health and safety of guests, especially now that it can play a role in seeing the value proposition of an establishment. Future-proofing infrastructures and operations should now be the priority for businesses.

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