One day soon, even your home away from home could be of the smart variety. At the Skift Global Forum, which took place in New York last week, Hilton CEO Christopher J. Nassetta teased a new concept that the global hotel brand is currently experimenting with. Soon, your Hilton room could be a “smart room,” capable of automatically adjusting the temperature to your predetermined liking, playing your favorite television shows without you asking, and chilling your beverage of choice in the refrigerator.
“Imagine a world where the room knows you and you know your room,” Nassetta said. Such a room depends upon a computer system that links a guest’s preferences to the various appliances found in a standard hotel suite, and it could be rolling out in the next year or so.
While some hotels were designed with modernization in mind, like the Yotel brand, which features a robotic luggage handler, adjustable smart beds, and other futuristic connected devices, other legacy brands have been slower to embrace the modernization of home technology. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t been trying. Hilton, for example, has ventured into the smart space before by way of an app-based messaging service that helps visitors find local activities that are specific to their interests. Marriott debuted a similar service back in 2014.
As MarketWatch points out, these aren’t the only hotels attempting to personalize the room experience. For example, Starwood brought a “smart mirror” to some outposts last year, while The Peninsula Chicago added tablets that allowed for personalization to all of its rooms. And of course, it’s not difficult for hotels to bring Amazon Alexa into their rooms by way of the Echo (or one of the many Amazon products that now feature Alexa capabilities).
In order for hotels to stay competitive with other lodging offerings like Airbnb, it’s likely that they will have to begin offering more high-tech amenities, proving that they have at least the semblance of a leg up on short-term vacation rentals. After all, while an Airbnb host might have an Echo Dot in his or her abode, it’s more difficult (and expensive) to establish an entire connected home setup for just a few guests a year.
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