Smart hotel accommodations, smart travelers

If you’re an avid business traveler, you know what you’re doing. Mastering travel routines from departure to arrival, you can pack, prepare, and troubleshoot like a pro. With tech friendly devices in reach, you’re also better ensured to have a relatively productive and predictable en route experience.


The hospitality industry has caught on to this linkage between tech and travel, and has made some interesting new developments that will likely surprise even the most adept traveler. Let’s take a look.


First, Depart with Leisure

The FAA is starting texting systems between towers and aircrafts, helping to reduce airport delays and save 6-8 minutes per flight. This will help expedite airline schedules, while generating timely space for additional flights. That means more flight options and better price points for travelers.


Notification systems are also delivering more pertinent travel information. For example, Concur’s messaging platform delivers breaking news updates and information is individualized to an employee’s business trip. By leveraging Concur’s open platform, it creates a consistent, dependable support system for the entire team, an asset to any traveler. These details allow travelers to allocate their time wisely; rather than anxiously waiting at the gate, you can make last minute business calls, send an important email, or simply relax.


Advances in tech mean that accessing trip information takes less effort. Expedia has teamed with Apple Watch to offer travel updates from an easy swipe on the wrist. No more digging through your bag for your phone, or searching through emails to find confirmation details – it all can be effortlessly retrieved from one readily accessible device.


Check-In To The Future

To stay competitive, hotels are updating their relationship with forward-thinking technology, and are exceeding the usual expectations. As CBS News' Peter Greenberg reports, “Some hotel chains are using technology to redefine the meaning of the word hospitality.”


Starwood Hotels is one of these emerging leaders in smart hotel innovation. In fact, they’ve established a creative design lab to do just that, creating two and three dimensional design and guest-facing technology to enhance their guests’ experience.  Mark Vondrasek, Starwood's senior vice president for loyalty and digital marketing, summarizes, "I think it's an adjustment of hospitality, centered on technology." However, they were not the first hotel chain to do so. Marriott Hotels also developed a 10,000 square foot Innovation Lab housed underneath the company’s Maryland headquarters to explore design concepts and hear immediate feedback from customers geared toward “style, technology and service.”


A Smarter Stay, Powered By Tech

Imagine this: A robotic butler brings your luggage to your door, and a drone delivers your poolside cocktail. In-room tablets and smartphones are already becoming a common method for ordering room service, requesting housekeeping or accessing concierge services. The more cutting-edge smart hotel rooms are incorporating things like touch screen mirrors, which display emails or news headlines, allowing you to knock a few things off your to-do list while brushing your teeth.


This experience is not as far away as you might imagine. On my last trip to the Hyatt Bellevue, they sent my room key to my smartphone one hour in advance of my arrival. The hotel also has my credit card on file, and as a result, I had no need to even stop by the front desk. Hyatt is conducting a beta test in which we are participating.


With technology at your fingertips, you’ll experience more seamless connections in new spaces. Pre-set the hotel room temperature, alarm clock, room style preferences, so that upon arrival you spend less time arranging the space and more time for yourself. Smart rooms let you conveniently customize your home-away-from-home experience, so you can use that time for more moments of leisure and focus.


Your Leisure Upgrade

What does this all mean for you? Convenient options, more leisure time, and interesting things to look forward to at your hotel destinations. And for those travelers who like service as-is, the same traditional face-to-face services aren’t going anywhere.


The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University is investigating technology combined with personal hotel service, and developing research studies to monitor its effects. The good news is, that guest satisfaction is always paramount in the hospitality industry, so no matter what, know that you are always priority.


Smart hotel rooms will save you valuable time – and make your stay even more enjoyable. How will you spend that extra leisure time on your next trip?



Check out these companies that will be changing the way you travel:


Ready to meet your ideal travel companion? Learn more about Concur Travel and simplify the booking experience and help organizations reduce costs.

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