27: Hotels for the future
In the last few months, my family visited a few places and lived in a hotel, an inn, and a cottage. They all had different experience when we were there. I will elaborate what I mean. In the hotel, I had to wait inline to check in, got a wrist band, which later can be used to access my room. I received the room information from the reception. In the Inn, I walked into a lovely room, waited a little bit, talked to the lady to get the room information, received two physical keys, and then an old gentlemen nicely introduced the area and offered me recommendations where to go and where to see. Finally, in the cottage, which is not those old fashion country side cottages you are probably thinking, it is a pretty modern cottage, with a passcode key entry. The area is popular, so I had to wait a while to receive the room information in a pocket. The reception was trying to save time, so she spoke very fast, and she even forgot to give me the passcode to enter our place. I later realized it and had to call her again, since I was assuming the code would be inside the pocket.
I can’t help wonder, how can our future hospitality improve to better serve customers?
It comes out, I am not the only one asking such a question
Here is a quick summary of what future hotels other people are thinking:
- Keyless entry – using mobile app to allow guests find and access their room
- Location awareness – push notification to guests when they are nearby
- Smart devices and data-driven – install sensors in the hotels and collect data
- Smart energy use – intelligently use energy among rooms
I think those are pretty interesting ideas. However, I have to say, everything I read is from grown-ups’ thinking. The story I told earlier in the first paragraph, it was my personal experience as an adult. I had to use 3 different ways to access my room in 3 different places. Why can’t I have one unified option as standard? So all those articles mention: using smartphone app makes perfect sense, as an adult.
But do you know how my little girl feels?
She had no complaint. In fact, she was loving it. She was eager to try opening the door. She did not mind using keys; she loved to use a pass code; she felt excited using a wristband. Why was that? I think a clip from the movie “Bedtime stories” can perfectly explain this:
Exactly, to children, everything is new. They do not want to live in home. They love being in a place that is not home.
We do not have TV cable at home. Do you know what is the first thing my kid asking me when I tell her we will be living in a hotel?
“Does it have a TV?”
My Future Hotel Idea
Finally, this is my idea. I don’t care too much about those smart gadgets around the hotels. Yes, maybe we will have robot maids one day, someone else will figure those out. My idea is all about:
living in a place that is not your home but make you feel like home.
I should never worry about that I forget to pack enough clothes. All I need are just my underwear. In the hotel room, give me one of those mirrors, showing a virtual figure based on me, and then doing a personal fitting. Next, room service delivers the full set of clothes to my room. I can be someone that is different. Maybe I will try to wear something I will never wear during my boring daily life.
Yes, my kids may choose to wear something that is completely crazy, which we usually do not allow them to wear.
Hotel can work with some department stores, such as Macy’s or Nordstrom, offering clothes rental with low cost. But the technology must play a role. I will never want to spend a whole day to do rental shopping.
There must have a technology to quickly personalize a set of clothes, based on the inventory, and some simple conversation between me and the computer. Something could be like:
- Computer: How do you feel today?
- Me: I feel exciting
- Computer: What about this set?
- Me: Can we go a little low key?
- Computer: What about this one?
The technology will have a virtual figure of me wearing the clothes the computer picks.
Even more, the hotel can offer some personalized stylist, with some pay of course, but not too crazy, to give us some temporary hair coloring that kind of thing. So each visitor has a chance to be in a place and be someone different. Something new, but feel like home.
That is my idea about the future hotels.