The hotel industry has long been at the forefront of the
experience economy, continually evolving to meet changing consumer needs and
set new expectations for a home away from home.
With an estimated 17.5 million
rooms worldwide, the hotel industry now has an unprecedented opportunity to
unlock growth and improve the customer experience by making physical assets,
The key to this opportunity is the internet of things (IoT),
which has become a critical driver of business growth for enterprises.
business environment, 94% of organizations that have implemented IoT solutions
have seen a return on their IoT investments. By monitoring and tracking
everyday assets in real time, businesses can provide everything from shorter
wait times for customers, to cleaner, energy-efficient environments, to asset
tracking of machines and equipment.
These connected solutions also enhance
decision-making and enable employees to work on higher-value tasks.
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When it comes to hospitality, IoT connectivity has the
potential to solve problems that have long plagued the industry. These include
a disconnected customer experience when checking in, not knowing where assets
are when they are needed and the inability to lower energy costs.
Asset monitoring improves CX
When guests check into a hotel, they often need help taking
their luggage to their room. Or they leave their room service tray out, hoping
it will be picked up.
Too often, though, there’s no luggage cart near the
registration desk, and a walk down any hotel floor will show you just how many
leftover burgers and fries spend the night in the hallway.
Neither of these
options pleases the guest or the hotel staff.
What’s the solution? Connected asset trackers. When placed
on key assets, including both indoor and outdoor equipment, these devices allow
staff to easily track down and manage valuable inventory. Equipment such as
luggage carts and room service trays, which can sit in hallways for hours, can
alert hotel workers to their location so they can be retrieved.
Moreover, dashboard reporting and analytics can be used in
real time not only to make employees more productive but also to empower them
to spend more of the workday creating connections with their guests, for example
by providing personalized recommendations for sightseeing destinations or
inquiring about their stay.
According to PwC's Customer Experience Survey,
customers don’t want to choose between human interaction or machines: They want
automation to be embedded in their experiences but to still maintain a human
element - keeping the high touch of hospitality yet enabled by the seamless
experience we’ve come to expect in a digital world.
Energy management saves money... and the earth
Consumers want to support brands that represent their
values, and when it comes to hospitality, consumers often prefer brands that
support important environmental and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, including energy
According to a sustainable travel report conducted by Booking.com, 87%
of global travelers say they want to travel sustainably.
Low-cost, high-value solutions that have a clear business case are a great place for businesses to start their IoT initiative.
IoT solutions can help CSR programs. For example, occupancy
sensors can provide hotel staff with critical data and alerts that can help
them better manage and regulate energy consumption and support sustainability
Guests often don’t adjust temperatures in their room and sometimes
forget to turn off the TV or lights. IoT solutions can automatically adjust
temperatures and turn off lights and TVs when guests leave their room.
It’s difficult to measure energy usage in real time, since
many hotels get electricity bills months later, and utility companies don’t
allow monitoring devices to be attached to their meters.
cameras can read the display on a utility meter and provide immediate updates
on energy usage, enabling hotels to make needed changes. And artificial
intelligence enables the cameras to read multiple types of meters, so the
solution can be used across hotel properties.
What’s more, saving energy saves money, too. Hotels can save
up to 25% of utility costs by using IoT solutions. Energy Star found that
hotels spend at least 6% of their operating expenses on energy, which adds up
to more than $2,000 per room each year. For an industry with a wide range of
hotel owners who must bear the costs, this could be meaningful savings.
IoT solutions can also gauge a hotel’s air quality and track
the maintenance needs for items such as refrigerators and HVAC units.
Predictive maintenance can do more than save money - it can also help
businesses avoid equipment breakdowns. On the property outside hotels, IoT
sensors can monitor the moisture in landscaped soil and detect water leaks.
These are just a few of the ways that hospitality businesses
can improve their energy management, save money and enhance the customer
experience with the right IoT solutions.
Say cheers to VIP access
Conferences and other large events that are hosted at
hospitality facilities, such as weddings and conventions, require lengthy registration
and badge verification processes, along with effective queue management of
people waiting in line. VIP guests expect experiences that are convenient and
consistent and provide very fast service. They don’t want to wait in long
IoT solutions, such as biometric tokens that support facial
recognition and queue management algorithms, can streamline the registration
process while safeguarding personal information. And large-scale events that
host a variety of guests can adopt IoT solutions that detect suspicious
behavior and trespassers.
We’ve already deployed these solutions at scale - and
customers noticed the difference in the ease of interaction.
Businesses in the hospitality industry know they need to
adapt quickly to emerging technologies, but they also want to ensure that these
technologies can be easily integrated into the existing infrastructure and will
comply with all data privacy regulations.
IoT solutions can meet those needs by
improving asset utilization with connected room service trays and luggage
carts, lowering energy costs across connected buildings on a single property
and creating a better experience for guests.
Low-cost, high-value solutions that have a clear business
case are a great place for businesses to start their IoT initiative.
to providing more enhanced, personalized, secure experiences from the moment
guests and event attendees enter the property. I think we can all say cheers to
About the authors...
is principal for PwC's Connected Solutions and Jennie Blumenthal
is a partner in PwC's hospitality and travel practice.