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Hotels Adopt Smartphones and In-Room Tablets to Deliver Services, Speed Check-In and Replace Room Keys, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

The Coronavirus pandemic is going to accelerate a recent trend toward greater digitization of the hotel guest experience.  Touch-free locks, elevators and communications will now take center stage.
Major hotel chains have installed sophisticated web- and smartphone-based services that connect customers and rooms with reception, dining, housekeeping, and all manner of hotel services.  Members of the Hilton HHonors members, for example, can check in with their smartphones and an HHonors app, making a stop at the reception desk upon arrival unnecessary. Door locks at many hotel chains around the world are being retrofitted so that they can be opened via smartphone.
Many other hotels, including the Dorchester Collection of luxury properties in Europe and the U.S. (owners of such iconic hotels as the Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles), have equipped rooms with touch tablet computers.  Guests use them to view in-dining menus, order room service, request housekeeping and laundry services, view local weather information and access recommendations for area attractions.
The Peninsula luxury hotel chain has long been a leader in applying connectivity and advanced technology to its rooms.  A guest in one of its newer rooms may be surrounded by up to 11 different telephones (including one over the tub); electronic bedside controls for all lights, entertainment and air conditioning; and multiple ways to access the internet.
The concept is a prime business opportunity for software and hardware manufacturers who want to target the hospitality industry.  In Stuttgart, Germany, the Faunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization is a nonprofit consultancy that is working on a FutureHotel project.  FutureHotel takes the networked concept to the next level, using hallway lighting to guide guests to their rooms, pinging guests with hotel offers for dining or spa appointments or notifying them of available times for booking meeting rooms or business center facilities.  See

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