The Future of the Hotel and the Automated Room…

I always like to look ahead and wonder what the industry I grew up in will be like in the future.

So much has changed in the past 30 years and will continue to change over the next few decades because of the changing environment, employment, social, economic, and political developments that have so much influence on the hospitality industry.

Who would have believed the impact of the Covid pandemic around the world and how many of these changes will most likely stay with us forever!

Here is a summary of what the recent look at my crystal ball has foretold…

Fast Forward 30 years to the year 2052……enter the new world of a hotel operation and the things to come our way in the hospitality industry in the 3, 4 and some 5-star hotels.

  • Automated check-in with facial recognition replacing room keys, allowing access to room, lifts, car parks, etc.
  • Only “pay upfront” with a dollar amount deposit on your credit card, eventually returned after several weeks, when all in room usage (toilet/shower/tea facilities have been calculated)
  • Complete cashless transactions systems will be in place
  • Meter operated toilets and showers in guest rooms 😊
  • Disposable bed sheets, (with an option to bring your own)
  • Disposable towels (again with an option of bringing your own)
  • Guest room amenities will no longer be provided (for environmental reasons of course!)
  • Meter or coin operated coffee/tea/water dispensers (minibars will have finally disappeared)
  • TV/internet only via your own internet/mobile account (free in-house movies/TV will by then be history)
  • Laundry/dry cleaning services will no longer be provided
  • Onsite restaurants will be history and UberEATS or Menulog contracted to deliver your breakfast to the hotel entrance/lobby.

I can certainly think of a few more and their reasons, although I don’t want to scare off the younger generation that still sees hope in the industry.

Current rates of 5-star hotels in major European cities and parts of the Middle East and Asia are already astronomical, somewhere between US$750 – $2,500 per room per night, so where will they be the year 2052?

Looking at rates in the early 90’s and going forward from today’s rates to 2052, a night stay in a decent hotel in London, Paris, Hong Kong or Singapore could set you back some US$5,000 – 10,000 a night!

What level of service will they provide that is different from today and, looking back 30 years to the early 90’s, what has really changed in terms of service?

The concierge is hopefully still around or maybe has been replaced by a computer screen that recognizes your face and welcomes you, his nametag most likely says Google, Bing or Yahoo…

The receptionist will have disappeared, because menial jobs will no longer be on top of the list for a hotel apprentice or graduate. To carry luggage to your room will cost you dearly, if not in service fees, but in tips, and as for food, well if you are lucky, room service will be still around and a coffee shop that operates between 7am and 11pm.

It seems that the expectation of a comfortable bed, clean linen, fluffy towels and daily housekeeping at a reasonable price is still possible, but will this continue, or will hotel operators try to gouge every last cent from the gullible public, and of course, will they still want to pay in 2052?

I invite ideas and suggestions from industry leaders. What will the industry look like in 2052 and what will hotels be able to charge for a night’s stay? A summary of the ideas (anonymously) will be published in one of our future Quarterly articles.

Some of the younger generation may be able to see the benefits of progress, but for those of us that have lived through the golden age, when guests were welcomed with a smile at the door, we can only sit back and wonder if progress has ultimately killed good old-fashioned service.

About the Author

Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.

For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net

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