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The Future of Smart Hotels

Harbans Singh, Managing Director of UbiQ Global Solutions Sdn Bhd | April 11, 2016
Harbans Singh of UbiQ Global Solutions shares his thoughts and passion on how technology can improve operations and guest experience in the hospitality industry, in particular for hotels, and how the future bodes well for smart hotels.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

When one thinks of hotels, the first thing one thinks of might not necessarily be high-tech applications. However in this digital age, all industries including the hospitality industry can certainly benefit from utilizing technological solutions to improve the efficiency of their operations.

In 2014, the World Travel & Tourism Council stated that the travel and tourism sector growth was forecasted to expand by 3.9% during 2015. Cushman & Wakefield's Hotel Views 2015 report forecasted revenues gains to last well into 2016 due to large supply injections, increased regional focus on airport expansions, and growing GDP numbers. Against this landscape, there is potential for the hospitality industry to grow - but stakeholders are anticipating that this year will bring with it additional challenges and rising competition. This will put pressure on industry players like hotels and service providers to take steps to grow or even maintain their business, thus the need to constantly innovate to retain customers and remain competitive.

Trade shows like Food&HotelAsia2016 gather together leading professionals from hotels, resorts, restaurants and service providers for knowledge exchange and networking to boost revenues and ensure sustainable business growth for the industry, with new innovations to improve efficiencies. Topics like integrating smart technologies for improved hotel operations and innovating to better shape guest experience, acquisition and retention strategies will be covered - which bodes well for a possible future filled with smart hotels.

For example, there is a hotel in Singapore which is already moving towards becoming a smart hotel - Bay Hotel, a 4-star executive boutique hotel. It is adopting a suite of smart guest management solutions by UbiQ Global Solutions that not only empower the consumer but also make the whole hotel stay process more efficient, convenient and even environmentally-friendly. From paperless front desks that utilise iPads for guest check in, folios and check out to a dedicated communications portal that enables the hotel to gather feedback and engage guests, to deliver a unique guest experience and earn guest recognition and loyalty.

Hotels can also use mobile platforms and online applications to provide a seamless, integrated hotel stay experience from start to end for the consumer - both a technological solution to improve efficiency but also a crucial strategy for guest experience, retention and acquisition. I foresee more and more hotels in Singapore and around the world increasingly using such technology for improved guest experience. For example, LINQ Hotel in Las Vegas showcased a smart hotel room which could be controlled via popular mobile app WeChat.

I truly believe that new technology solutions will be a game changer in the hospitality industry that could help hotels, resorts and even restaurants move towards being 'smart' and improve their customer retention and business operations.


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