What does Asian hotels’ race to tech up mean for you? Source: Shutterstock.

WITH SO many hospitality companies and brands teching up to become smarter, faster, and more immersive, travelers may soon find it hard to keep up.

Especially those who aren’t as technologically-inclined.

Airports, the gateway and the first point of travel, are implementing new security and safety measures at dizzying speed, ranging from facial recognition technology to borderline intrusive full-body scanners.

And that won’t be the last of the new technologies that you will encounter on your travels.

In May, Malaysian hospitality firm Hatten Group announced a partnership with Singapore-based proptech startup FundPlaces to develop the first hospitality blockchain platform for hotels and malls in Southeast Asia.

Hatten Group’s StayCay will allow users to collect digital tokens in exchange for discounted hotel packages at hospitality properties run by Hatten Land and Hatten Group.

Source: Shutterstock.

In June, leading global hotel company Marriott International announced it was rolling out the new Alexa for Hospitality voice assistant technology to its hotel rooms.

Alexa for Hospitality allows guests to do a variety of things including asking it for information about the hotel; contact services like in-room dining, the concierge, housekeeping, or the spa; simplify numerous in-room tasks for guests such as playing music, controlling the temperature or lighting, or making calls.

If need be, it can even check a guest out.

This was followed by another announcement by Marriott International a month later that it will test facial recognition check-ins at Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Qianjiang and Sanya Marriott Hotel Dadonghai Bay.

Source: Amazon.

More recently, another major hotel group revealed it would be rolling out upgrades across China.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has teamed up with Chinese multinational technology company Baidu to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) in its rooms.

Called the AI Smart Room, these rooms will fully embrace voice control technology to deliver a more natural human-computer interactive experience.

With this technology enhancement at IHG’s properties, guests will be able to freely switch settings between work and leisure modes, and enjoy a more convenient and seamless room service experience.

InterContinental Hotels Group AI Smart Room

Source: IHG.

“Millennials are particularly sensitive to technology, often seeking new things to try. The AI Smart Room will undoubtedly be extremely attractive for them, paving the way for a new level of modernization and consumer satisfaction,” IHG Greater China Vice President of Marketing Lin Wang said in a statement.

This solution will also further fine-tune the current backstage management system, including customizing information and resetting devices, making hotel management a simpler task.

Guests staying at InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun and InterContinental Guangzhou Exhibition Centre will be amongst the first to enjoy the AI Smart Rooms.

A total of 100 AI-powered Club InterContinental suites will be available at InterContinental hotels in gateway cities and key destinations across China within the year.

Henn Na Hotel Ginza Robot

Source: Shutterstock.

From robot employees at Henn Na Hotel in Japan to chatbots for guests, to remote-controlled “super toilets” at this Taipei hotel and even virtual reality tours to help you decide where to stay, travelers are constantly finding themselves in a position where they have to quickly familiarize with new futuristic features.

Hotels in Asia, in particular, are seeing the opportunities to implement these technologies not just because they’re nice to have, but also to appeal to the generational force of nature – millennial travelers.

“In some respects, it is easier to trial and grow these concepts within Asia as new-build hotels can incorporate these products and concepts into the design at a very early stage,” Real Views quoted JLL Hotels and Hospitality Asia Pacific Executive Vice President Andrew Langston as saying.

“Moreover, millennials grew up with technology and they’re very comfortable with adopting new innovations.”

The upside is these technologies will also help hospitality companies and brands to be more efficient, better manage its hotels and assets, and essentially improve customer experience.

But can you keep up with how smart Asian hotels are becoming?

As technology continues to advance, this may change the dynamics of hotel-guest relations and some guests may feel more comfortable with face-to-face interactions.

After all, nothing quite beats the human touch – empathy, a warm smile, and the comforting offer of help.

Lainey Loh

Lainey Loh | @laineyx

A certified daydreamer, when she's not physically travelling, she's often going places in her head. Her first love is coffee & her second, wine – & she accepts bribes in either forms. She's also entirely capable of deep conversations about life & random musings just for laughs, but do excuse her if she appears AWOL mid-chat – she's just going places in her head.

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