Viewpoint: The Impacts of COVID-19 on the Future of Hotel Technology

As we near the end of a year like no other, we asked David Millili, CEO of Angie Hospitality, about the emerging hotel technology trends that he believes will hit the mainstream in 2021.

1) What new technologies will become standard in hotels in the next 1-3 years? Why? 

Contactless and self-service technologies will be adopted to provide safer guest experiences. Social distancing precautions will help drive technologies that provide virtual check-ins, mobile keys and online food & beverage ordering. Additionally, with already stretched staff and limited budgets, AI assistants, guest apps and robots will augment and complement the onsite staff to streamline typical processes within the hotel.

As more guests become accustomed to smart home technology, the smart hotel will become a reality in the next couple of years. We believe there will be an increase in voice-enabled, in-room guest assistants to remotely control thermostats, drapes, lights and more. These technologies eliminate contact with common surfaces and also provide a more convenient and modern experience for guests.

2) What makes this technology futuristic? 

Hospitality prides itself on providing high-touch service, so the shift to contactless and limited face-to-face interactions creates a new reality for this industry. This new future will reimagine ways to provide those high-touch, personal interactions without the touch. Robots and AI won’t fully replace the front desk and cleaning staff, but these technologies will optimize operations and provide safer experiences for both guests and staff.

3) Was this technology implementation influenced by COVID-19 in some way? How?

We believe the market was already trending toward contactless, but COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation across many industries, including hospitality. Given the swift shift to more stringent safety protocols, the implementation of new contactless technologies that make guests and staff feel safe is an obvious win-win. Eliminating many of the common touchpoints, including front desk and concierge visits, physically touching in-room amenities, and face-to-face dining or other reservations, help slow down the potential infection rate.