Elva Ramirez is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Brooklyn, New York.

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The Hotel Of The Future Is Here, And We're Just Getting Started


Originally published in Tasting Table.

Soon, hotels may know you more than you know yourself. From digital hotel keys to robot-staffed front desk and concierge services, new technology is—believe it or not—making the hotel experience more personal than ever. For guests, that means having a range of platforms with which to connect seamlessly with brands. For hotels, emerging technologies like, say, voice-activated AI deliver on the promise of customizable guest experiences.

“Voice activation is growing at such a rapid clip year over year,”  Brian King, chief global digital officer for Marriott International, says. “So how does voice become fully integrated into the lodging experience?” As more people use virtual voice assistants, it makes sense guests want the same smart technology they use at home in their hotel rooms, King notes (read the rest of his interview).

At the W Hotel in Austin, Marriott is testing a new Amazon program called Alexa for Hospitality, which offers hoteliers the opportunity to equip their guest rooms with specialized Echo products that work like digital concierges. The custom hardware has the power to answer everything from details on room reservations to the best barbecue in town.

Though technology is often perceived as impersonal and cold, in the case of travel and hospitality, it allows for a personal touch, albeit delivered through a screen.

In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, guests staying at Hacienda Encantada are prompted to download the hotel's app, which offers a way to book spa and restaurant reservations on the property. Individuals might be pinged with details about a special cooking class or other offers, while groups can get alerts about meeting locations and times.

“We send push notifications for theme nights and send reminders if there are special events,” Gabriel Ibarra, the hotel's sales and marketing manager, explains. “I see it as an additional channel of communication with our guests.” Ibarra acknowledges that the service is still in its infancy, but he's still betting that apps will be part of hospitality in the future.

Read the full article on Tasting Table.

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