Imagine your lobby filled with event attendees queued up to look into a small camera on a five-foot stand. As they laugh and joke with one another while peering into this device, the camera uses facial recognition to sign them into the event and switch on their badge access. Think you'll be there in five years? Three?
Digital transformation is already a reality for meetings and events. Artificial intelligence is changing our everyday experiences, and digital hospitality is the next frontier. Staying on top of futuristic tech trends can mean the difference between winning group events and being overlooked in favor of more high-tech venues. Here's how you can future-proof your hotel.
Discover three ways to future-proof your hotel to drive planner business
1. Future-proof with facial recognition
Facial recognition isn't much of a stretch anymore. It's already being used to unlock many of our smartphones, and it's in use in most airports. In fact, the Tokyo Olympic Games will be the first major event to use facial recognition exclusively for staff and athlete areas.
When it comes to tech, it pays to think like a futurist. Innovations continue to change the way we experience the world, and meeting planners and attendees expect the same level of technology in their event experiences.
Go beyond checking registrants into an event with facial recognition. Imagine if you could read facial expressions in conference rooms and adjust the temperature or lighting to make people more comfortable. That may sound too "Big Brother" to some, but think about how much better the experience would be if you made real-time sensory adjustments based on reading a room?
You would cut down on complaints and unhappy delegates and planners, and it would make your hotel stand out among the competition. Instead of making planners monitor comfort levels, climate and lighting would be automatically monitored and adjusted with artificial intelligence.
2. Exercise voice control
Has your hotel started offering smart speakers in rooms yet? Analysts expect sales of smart-home devices to continue their double-digit growth through 2023. That means that soon, most homes will be controlled by smart devices and digital assistants.
It's natural that the next phase of digital hospitality will include voice-controlled devices and chatbots that help guests in myriad ways. From navigating the hotel to ordering food, attendees will soon expect to have the same voice-controlled experience they have in their homes.
Another voice technology to consider if you want to attract global group events is real-time translation. What if attendees could hear translations of sessions in real time through an event app? The technology isn't that far away.
Voice recognition and translation have become much more sophisticated, and hotels that want global group business should look into what's available. Real-time translation not only improves the guest experience, but it also helps create memorable experiences that will have people talking long after they leave. And that's a major way to make sure groups return.
3. Bring people together
Digital transformation is opening new ways to create stronger relationships. Take networking as a final example. New "interest-matching" technology uses artificial intelligence to create an enhanced networking experience. With interest matching, attendees can opt in, share information about themselves, and that information can be used to match them with other attendees.
Plus, the data is valuable to event planners and hoteliers. Shared information can run the gamut from job title to personal interests, and it can be "read" by other people's smartphones.
For example, maybe an attendee scans a table full of people with his smartphone's camera, and he sees several of the people sitting there share his interests. He heads over to that table to say hello. Maybe he scans another table and sees that it's filled with his competitors, so he avoids that one.
That might seem more "Big Brother" than reading facial expressions, but the fact is, many people are uncomfortable talking to strangers. An app that shows a person's job title or interests gives you something to talk about and makes it slightly less awkward to connect with new people. And connecting is one of the main reasons people attend events — good networking experiences likely mean good feedback and a better chance the event will return to your hotel.
Staying on top of future trends and incorporating them into your hotel ensures you're staying competitive and delivering what planners are looking for.
Future-proof your hotel to increase demand
To find out more about digital transformation and how to navigate the world of digital hospitality, download Straight From Cvent CONNECT: Group Business Best Practices.