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Smart Hotels: A Tantalizing View of Hotel Tech

A look at the latest technologies enhancing hotel bookings and stays.

hotel tech

Today’s savvy travelers expect more. Hotel guests are no longer satisfied with just a clean bed to sleep in and a TV with on-demand movies. Innovative hotels have taken notice of the modern traveler’s needs and are making technologies like artificial intelligence and voice recognition a mainstay of the guest experience. Here are some of the latest hotel tech trends you may encounter on your next trip.

How Hotel Tech is Changing the Way You Plan Travel

Cutting-edge hotels are using technology to augment their guests’ experience before they even book their stay.

Artificial Intelligence 

While robotic butlers and maids may one day become hotel standards, the artificial intelligence being used by hotels today is a little less sci-fi; nonetheless, it still makes the planning process a lot easier.

Innovative hotels are using information about guests and their travel preferences to create the best travel experience possible. All that stands between you and your perfect vacation are a few questions. Best Western has partnered with IBM’s AI, Watson, to make online ads that enhance their customers’ stay before they’ve even booked a room.

Let’s say it’s May and you live in Boston. If you are looking up average temperatures in San Francisco in June, you may see an ad asking you about the kinds of activities you plan on doing while you’re in San Francisco. If you select, “We’re going wine tasting,” the ad could give recommendations for the best wineries in Sonoma, and suggest Best Western’s Sonoma Valley Inn as the perfect home base for your stay. AI-powered ads take the stress out of travel planning so that you can spend more time enjoying yourself.

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Virtual Reality 

Virtual reality is no longer just for video games. Hotels are starting to embrace virtual and augmented reality to help make the hotel selection process easier for discerning travelers.

With so many hotel comparison tools out there, travelers are often left with decision fatigue after reading dozens of reviews and scrolling through seemingly endless user-submitted photos of rooms and hotel amenities. In the end, you may even be disappointed to learn that the hotel you’ve selected after hours of research feels nothing like the photos and reviews you saw online.

If you’re selective about where you stay when you travel, you will appreciate how virtual reality is being used to help guests know exactly what they’re getting when they book a room.

Best Western recently introduced a virtual reality experience that lets travelers explore all of their North American properties before booking a room. The hotel group has partnered with Google Street View to collect almost two million photos of their 2,200+ North American hotels to create Best Western Virtual Reality Experience (BWVRE). BWVRE helps you make sure you’ve picked the best Best Western hotel for your trip. Will your room’s TV be large enough to fully enjoy that playoff game? Does the business center have everything you and your colleagues need for a quick meeting before the conference? Will there be enough space for you to do your nightly yoga routine in your room?

The Best Western Virtual Reality Experience guides you through their hotels with 3D, panoramic videos that you can watch before you click “book.” The best part is that you don’t need a VR headset to partake in these immersive virtual tours. All of Best Western’s virtual hotel tours can be viewed on YouTube.

hotel tech

How Hotel Tech Makes Life Easier After Check-In

Here’s a look at how tech-focused hotels are using voice recognition technology and mobile apps to enhance your stay.

Mobile Engagement Platforms 

From in-room tablets that replace the need to call room service, to bypassing the front desk for check-in, hotel tech is making it easier than ever for travelers to get what they need for a comfortable stay.

Imagine you’ve just gotten to your hotel after a delayed red-eye flight. Your kids are cranky and you feel like a zombie. The last thing you want to do is to make small talk with the hotel’s front desk staff while they get your room key ready. Best Western’s Mobile Guest Engagement Platform lets guests use their smartphones to check-in and out of their rooms, communicate with staff and even order transportation from Uber. Hotel apps make getting what you need during your stay as painless as possible.

Voice Recognition 

If you prefer to be totally hands-off when you travel, you’ll appreciate how hotels are making voice recognition technology a part of the guest experience. With a little help from Siri, Alexa and Google, travelers are getting information about their hotels as conveniently as possible.

Want to know when the pool closes without having to rummage around your room to find the hotel guidebook? Want to request late check out without having to call the front desk? Best Western guests in select hotels can use the Amazon Echo Dot in their rooms to ask Alexa their most-pressing questions and make simple requests.

While many of us use voice-activated personal assistants in our daily lives, they can augment a hotel stay by suggesting local restaurants, giving you your wake-up call or helping you plan for the weather ahead.

From the booking process to the stay, hotel tech is enhancing the way travelers make decisions about where to stay and how they experience hotels. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, smartphone apps and voice recognition technology are making it easier than ever for guests to maximize their travel experience.

Great new hotel tech doesn’t have to be pricey. By booking your hotel room with Best Western and AAA, you can save you up to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards points.

What hotel tech are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!

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