As connected, mobile, always-on travelers become the norm, hotels and other travel providers are increasingly using wireless communications to improve services, to enhance guest satisfaction – and to drive bottom-line business performance.

Guests, staff, and partners now carry a dazzling array of mobile devices. Wireless networks are more ubiquitous. Machine-to-machine (M2M) software applications are driving a growing number of everyday transactions and guest service activities. To fully appreciate the importance of IT and networked communications, consider how a highly-connected Millennial now expect to interact with a hospitality provider.

Web-based technology often comes into play before a room is booked, when tech-savvy consumers consults social media to assess brands or shop properties. Premier loyalty members, for example, typically book a stay via the hotelier’s own website or through a discount booking channel. 

Once they reach the property, advanced capabilities allow premier members to bypass the check-in process and go directly to their room. Near-field communications (NFC) technologies are used to send hotel room key, along with welcome messages and other details, directly to a guest’s mobile device. 

A virtual concierge service may be displayed, with personalized information addressing the loyalty member’s unique preferences. The hotel may also offer an augmented reality capability that allows the guest to view hotel amenities, local attractions, and nearby services. Properties are also using these technologies to deliver coordinated loyalty program and partner affinity offers to guests before, during, and after their visit. 

Leveraging past history, forward-looking hotels recognize a premium guest, and automatically set the room’s temperature control to the guest’s specifications. If there is an issue with the climate control, maintenance is automatically notified to address the issue, and if the issue cannot be resolved quickly, the guest is automatically re-assigned to a new room. 

Those same systems can be used to stock the mini bar and pre-configure the in-room television to suit the member’s preferences. The connected property provides robust business services, including convenient cloud-based access to personal and work information – so travelers can stay connected and productive while on the move. 

Busy travelers can then check out from the room or from their smartphone. Checkout is fully automated, and once checkout is confirmed, housekeeping is notified.

Next-gen technologies also simplify the billing process. Bills can be forwarded via email or to a mobile phone, and for business travelers invoices can be forwarded to corporate travel expense accounting, along with the details needed to support managed corporate travel. 

By fully leveraging the Internet of Things, hospitality firms can streamline operations, drive innovation, and deliver a more customized, satisfying guest experience.