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Luxury Hotel

Traveling to unknown soil is something close to everyone’s hearts. It is our chance to free our minds from routines and troubles for a few days. It is a way to pamper ourselves for a change and the luxury hotel business rests upon offering up the best experience of our lives.

When you take a glance at a hotel room, you see a bed, night-lamp, TV on the wall, a bathroom, and furniture here and there for our convenience. But, hotel rooms are changing at a rapid speed, especially luxury hotels that are determined to pique traveler’s interest. However, the completion in the hospitality industry is ruthless and offering guests a lasting impression has never been this difficult.

With everyone incessantly active on social media and possessed a platform to criticize instantly, it has become quite difficult to stay on top of hospitality trends. On the contrary, technology has lent a helping hand. According to Allied Market Research, the global luxury hotel market is expected to reach $20.44 billion by 2022 and the increasing adoption of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (AI) and robotics have boosted the market growth. Moreover, from mobile check-in to high-speed internet connection and smart hotel assistants, several technological advancements have helped gather tourists’ attention.

Here are a few emerging technology trends that would certainly change the tourism and hospitality industry as we know it.

Smart rooms

It is an era of smartwatches, smart shoes, and smart homes. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise if you saw an advertisement for smart hotels with smart rooms. The technology has become vital for the hospitality sector as it includes automated checkout services, the use of IoT and wireless data linking, and personalized environmental settings within the hotel room. The luxury hotels aim to offer the utmost luxury to their customers and a fully-customized experience helps them create their brand identity.

Luxury Hotel
Luxury Hotel Room

Mobile travel assistant

The use of travel assistant is the cutting-edge technology in the hospitality industry and luxury hotels should make the most of it. Mobile travel assistants such as manet offer you a unique, simpler, and user-friendly way to keep in touch with your beloved, use offers & services offered by hotels, and explore the city with just one tap. It offers you information regarding currency exchange, places to visit, buy tickets to the city’s prime attractions, and much more.

Virtual reality tour & hotel robots

Virtual reality (VR) technology has entered the real estate market to offer a tour of the flat without setting foot on the property. It creates a digital environment for customers to explore to check out services of the luxury hotel from their own home.

Customers can experience the tour of the hotel before making a booking. What’s more, several hotel websites now offer VR tours and 360-degree videos during the booking process to help customers understand exactly what they are spending their money on.

Apart from this, the use of robots is one of the most fascinating hospitality trends as it uses the most advanced technology available to use to improve traveler’s experiences. There are already several examples where luxury hotels are using robots for greeting guests, offering tourist information, and even for room service. Moreover, robots are not used for restaurant waiting, security, and luggage transportation. This minimizes interaction with hotel staff and frees them to attend to crucial issues that demand human interference.

Robot Butler for hotels
Robot Butler for Hotels

Mobile check-in and contactless payment

Mobile check-in allows travelers to check-in using the mobile app without and reduces friction for customers. Moreover, it eliminates human interaction, and customers can check-in according to their convenience and reduces waiting time. On the other hand, mobile check-in helps luxury hotels to carry out the check-in process without troubling customers and physical interaction, which has become essential owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has helped the widespread adoption of contactless payment technology. It not only helps to improve the speed of transactions but also offers additional comfort to customers as they do not need to carry their cards all the time. The increasing demand for mobile wallets and wearables has further supplemented the growth of contactless payment technology. With the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic still fresh in minds of travelers, contactless payment is on the verge of becoming a necessity.

Artificial intelligence for personalization

AI offers the simplest way to represent how the luxury hotel business is evolving. The ultimate goal is to offer a seamless and enjoyable experience during their stay and AI could help create an experience suitable to their preferences and choices. After analyzing guest data, AI can map and identify user preferences to create an ideal accommodation package. As per analyzing several customer’s travel plan data, luxury hotels can develop more targeted marking campaigns and understand what customers want.

Robot concierge for hotels
Artificial Intelligence in Hospitality

In the rapidly-evolving luxury hotel industry, it has become imperative to provide state-of-the-art facilities, impeccable customer experience, and a personalized experience that leaves a lasting impression. Advanced technologies such as AI, IoT, and contactless payments have helped the hospitality experience more streamlined and user-friendly, which is bound to gather more and more customers in the future.



Author bio: Swamini Kulkarni holds a bachelor’s degree in Instrumentation and control engineering from Pune University and works as a content writer at Allied Market Research. She is deeply fascinated by the impact of technology on human life.

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Manet Mobile Solutions is a fast growing and evolving, hospitality oriented and data centered company.

The main infranstructure priorities that have emerged since its foundation are 3:

Flexibility - Manet Mobile Solutions

Flexibility

Being a top-notch player in the hospitality technology industry depends on the ability of adapting fast to the dynamics of a constantly changing and highly competitive environment.

Scalability - Manet Mobile Solutions

Scalability

Modern competitive dynamics push companies to either grow fast or risk going out of business. Therefore fast growth is an imperative along with the ability to manage higher data and operations volumes.

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Security

Today’s most important business assets are consumer data. Protecting this data from threats and processing it in the respect of privacy regulations is vital.

For all the above reasons and after extensive market research aiming to identify a cloud solutions partner that could provide our company with the highest flexibility, scalability and security standards available on the market, we chose to rely on Neboola’s AWS based cloud solutions. Our CIO Andrea Proietti presents our partnership with Neboola in this article.

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Rent a car smart mobile assistant - Manet Mobile Solutions

What Technology Disruptions in the Rent-A-Car Industry Mean for Your Hospitality Business?

Something digital this way comes. 

It sees you when you’re sleeping. It knows when you’re awake. 

So be ahead of the curve, for goodness sake!

By 2022, the worldwide car rental industry will be worth over $124.56 billion dollars, growing at a rate of 13.55% from 2017. 

One of the fastest-growing markets for car rentals around the world so far is turning out to be Europe. It’s an industry that is intricately (and increasingly) tied to the growth of the travel and tourism industry. 

So when it comes to the car rental sector, technology is promising to leave no stone unturned as it blows its way through the hospitality industry. 

See, there’s a similar digital revolution going on in travel, tourism, and hospitality. 

Hotels are already being equipped with mobile check-in solutions. Rooms are undergoing a digital makeover with the use of automated control systems for heating, cooling, app-driven room service, and digital assistants.

The rent-a-car market is facing just such a tech turn in the tides in two waves:

  • First off, rental companies themselves are changing the value prop facing a customer by changing the way bookings are done in tandem with travel.
  • Secondly, units of cars are being technologically transformed with the digital features necessary to deliver on these brand promises within the driving and on-road experience. 

Let’s take a look at these specific technological disruptions and what their advance means for the hospitality industry at large. 

The Tech Specs

Perhaps the greatest single change that all other “tech” changes flow from is the transformation of the car rental industry ethics. We’re moving from cars as an owned unit to “cars as a service.”

As a collective culture, it’s easy to see that disruptive apps like Uber, Lyft, and AirBnb have changed the very idea of ownership. Now, it’s all about mobility and flexibility: Cars-as-a-service (CaaS).

This change in consumption is running alongside enhancements in the car rental market itself. Fleets are changing and so are the digital features of this new and diverse collection of automobiles. 

In a survey of the global electrical car rental market, economy cars are dominating the market at 90.17% of the market share, according to 2018 results.

Global Electric Car Rental Market trends - Manet Mobile Solutions
Source: Business Wire

Furthermore, luxury vendors are happily maintaining a fleet of electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model S and X. 

There’s a clear demand. 

Car rental as a service itself is becoming a more viable option even when travelers remain at home because there’s an emphasis on short-term rentals, pay-as-you-go models and subscription-based payments. 

Online rent-a-car search and booking engines 

First and foremost, search behavior is changing the way that rent-a-car brands are being found — but, also, it’s allowing the data to drive their own “findability.”

Rent-a-car search is now usually seamlessly integrated into travel and tourism bookings, or hospitality reservations. 

In other words, when users search for car rentals online, booking engines will offer highly targeted and specific offers on hotel suites, tours in the location of booking, and other travel-related discounts and promotions to not only incentivize a further purchase but to create an entire experience of travel. 

Known as “in-destination experiences,” this is what’s really at the heart of this rent-a-car transformation. 

“Companies across all industries are trying to create a better experience for their customers,” says Jayesh Patel, a senior vice president marketing at a major car rental brand company. “We are no different.”

Digital car sharing platforms 

Another major driver of tech-inspired transformation within the rent-a-car industry is the unmistakable effect of the “ride-hailing economy.”

It’s not only that the nature of the buyer is changing — from baby boomers to millennials voting with their pocketbooks to keep large, expensive, and often financially imprudent purchases off the bucket list. 

It’s also that peer-to-peer car sharing and ride-hailing has opened up the gateway to cars on demand. 

Apps offering reservations from a ready-to-go fleet offer individuals who travel around the world as a lifestyle the opportunity to experience that mobility and flexibility on a dime, and on their own time. 

“Consumers today have access to more information whenever and wherever they need it; they have a more urban lifestyle and have new attitudes and preferences about accessing automobiles and mobility in general…There is a solid consensus that cars provide an unmatched level of convenience and freedom, allowing people to be in total control of the time, destination and environment – and that is where opportunity exists. We’re not just renting cars … we are providing mobility, and mobility keeps the world moving.” — Pat FarrellChief Marketing & Communications Officer for Enterprise Holdings

In-car mobile hot spots and digital assistants

Alexa, entertain my kids while I keep my eyes on the road.

Okay, that’s not a real command but in-car mobile hot spots enhance the experience of a road trip by offering functionality that is very familiar to the user.

In a way, it fulfills the customers’ expectations and also surpasses it because Wi-Fi is usually a “land”-based feature. How do cars keep connected if they’re not on the “wired” part of Wi-Fi? 

They do so in the same way as cellphones and mobile devices, which run on a network. 

While passengers — notably children — can take advantage of mobile hot spots in a rental car to keep them occupied, drivers of this new digital ridesharing market can safely and accurately deliver customers to their preferred locations, using routes that are updated in real time. 

And it’s not just that. When individuals travel, 15% of them do so for business purposes. This means that in-car mobile hot spots offer businesspeople the chance to conduct their tasks on the go.

Anti-theft satellite systems

Car rentals also want to ensure that part of their customers’ experience is one of trust and safety. 

That’s why one of the major “services” offered in this new CaaS economy is an anti-theft satellite system. 

Here, the key is integration. Devices like SPOT Trace or Cellutrack take advantage of a device that’s in the hands of billions of users already — mobile phones — to provide added levels of safety, tracking, and security. 

It puts the control back into the hands of the driver or user. 

Designing a Driver’s “User Experience”

See, the user experience isn’t necessarily about inventing new technology. 

You’ll notice that many of these so-called “transformations” are simply changes in how things are already being done, relying on a level of assumed consumer adoption (namely, of mobile devices) to run new and innovative software on. 

So rent-a-car companies don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

Which makes sense, given that related industries like travel and hospitality don’t have to either. In order to upgrade their users’ experience and set a new standard, they simply need to find and implement digital “mirrors” for common expectations like check-ins and room service. 

The actual software itself is running via mobile or digital assistant consoles like the Echo Dot.

But what is it that users want? Why are they even looking to book a hotel room or, in this case, rent a car?

To enhance the user experience, car rental companies must first understand their customers’ reasons for renting. According to a survey of 850,000 travelers in 2017, these were the results of why individual travelers relied on rental cars.

Why people rent cars -  Manet Mobile Solutions
Source: Business Wire

This is a win-win situation. If car rentals are being used as a service or insurance replacement, new features that enhance user experience make it more likely that they will look for similar features when they rent cars for leisure travel. 

So far, we’ve seen that updates to behavior equal updates to technology. And updates to technologies call for an update in fleets themselves. 

Says Susan Lombardo, senior vice-president of vehicle acquisition at Enterprise Holdings:

“Many drivers experience new automotive technologies for the first time in rental vehicles.” 

She cites the fact that it’s, after all, the US car rental industry that first helped popularize anti-lock braking, stop-start technology, hybrid electric vehicles and more to consumers. 

Car manufacturers are, themselves, offering a greater number of digitally-driven enhancements, including:

  • Offering easier navigation: Navigation systems now link up to your mobile devices app history, drives, and preferences
  • Enriched driver experience: Vehicle manufacturers like Mitsubishi are giving drivers the ability to connect to a centralized call center for emergency services through connected AI and voice recognition capabilities
  • Easier geo-located assistance request 
  • Continuous connectivity

Conclusion 

So what’s next for the future of rent-a-car “services” and experience-driven digital transformations of cars?

We’re seeing a greater and more rapid adoption rate of self-driving cars, especially in emerging countries, for one. 

These numbers reported from 2015 alone forecast that, at a similar rate of growth, and thanks to a growing number of individuals with disposable incomes in these countries, the self-drive car rental market will reach 1.65 billion USD by 2020. 

The major shift from car ownership to CaaS will develop alongside changes in conferencing technology (think about location-independent entrepreneurs running conferences during their commutes). 

Insurance companies, too, are sure to be swept up in this change, offering innovative, short-term policies on rentals, making car sharing even more attractive or offering discounts on connected vehicles. 

So just count on your fingers the number of services and technologies relating to commuting, road-tripping, and car rental, in general. Then watch as these utterly transform in tandem in the next five to 10 years. 


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