Reimagining the Hotel Experience with Touchless Technology
How cutting-edge technology can help hoteliers add a personal touch in a contactless world (and no, we’re not talking about QR codes and chatbots).
At last, the hospitality industry is showing signs of real recovery and steadily circling back to the pre-pandemic era. Except, it’s not.
The guests walking through your doors today aren’t the same. They have different expectations, behaviors, and are understandably more concerned with hygiene than we could’ve possibly imagined pre-2020. And as EY points out in their Future Consumer Index, they’re pretty anxious.
Today, the desire for minimal physical contact is propelling us towards a no-touch world faster than you can jump on a Zoom call. And according to the OECD, we can expect a greater focus on hygiene, safety, and contactless experiences for years to come.
To provide the optimal guest experience, the hospitality industry must find new, innovative ways to assure guests that they’re in safe hands.
A recent survey of over 4,800 consumers by Capgemini showed that 62% of consumers expect to increase their use of touchless technologies post-pandemic. Another study also found that consumers in the UK (71%) and the US (74%) expect to interact with more touchless technologies, such as gesture interfaces, in the future.
Many leading hotels have embraced a contactless-first approach, leaning heavily on mobile phone apps and chatbots. These are necessary and effective solutions, but we believe that in hospitality, there’s some room for creative license.
So how can you use touchless technology to create a truly unique guest experience?
Entering the Realm of Touchless Technology
Once a guest steps foot in a hotel, a sequence of physical interactions is set in motion. Cards are exchanged, room keys are handed over, pens are passed for signatures, buttons are pressed, door handles are clasped - you get the point. We all know that these high-touch areas are hotbeds for bacteria and pathogens that can spread disease.
But what if instead of punching a number into a physical keypad, guests were presented with a holographic version that responded intuitively to every “touch”?
“Now it’s possible for people not just to view holographic interfaces, but to interact with them too. With in-air gestures, they can make a payment, order a cappuccino, or swipe through a newspaper – all on floating 3D displays. This cutting-edge technology unlocks fantastic opportunities for the hospitality industry, making it possible to create a seamless guest experience while reducing the spread of infection,” explains Bastien Beauvois, Area Sales Director Western Europe, at Neonode.
With this touchless technology, people can safely pinch, scroll, and rotate any image in mid-air (think minority report meets Grand Budapest Hotel). These holographic projections are clear, precise, and highly responsive – even if your guest is wearing gloves.
But if that feels a little too sci-fi, don’t worry. It’s also possible to quickly turn existing screens and surfaces into fully touchless experiences with our easy-to-install touch sensor modules.
By blending the physical and digital worlds, forward-thinking hoteliers can eliminate high-touch points and exceed guests’ expectations. And this technology is versatile. Here are some example use cases throughout the hotel customer journey.
Your guest arrives at the front desk to check in a digital concierge asks for their details. With a few contactless taps towards a digital screen, a quick photo and a flick of the wrist, their info is saved, signature and all.
After tapping their payment card on the side of a terminal, a holographic keypad pops up and prompts them to enter their pin. While they’re at it, they should probably choose a code for their door instead (most of us just lose room keys anyway).
They head to the elevator. As they reach forward to select the up-button, it automatically illuminates before any physical contact is made. With a quick air tap inside the elevator, the floor number is selected, and up they go.
An example of this exact contactless application has recently been implemented by global elevator component manufacturer Dewhurst. They installed their retrofit contactless elevator sensor, Halo, at one of London’s most exclusive hotels, Claridges.
The Halo solution, which is powered by Neonode technology, is a sleek, simple-to-install component that instantly made the guest experience more superior and also safer, by transforming the physical elevator buttons to a contactless action.
“Since we launched this product in early 2021 it’s gotten a lot of interest from big names in the hospitality industry, and I can understand why. Implementing hover-based alternatives for physical touchpoints doesn’t just prevent the spread of infection. It’s the small things like this that spark joy for hotel guests as the world opens up and they start enjoying travel again,” says Peter Dewhurst, Dewhurst.
Lunchtime. Once your guest arrives at the restaurant, they’re presented with a holographic menu, or touchless screen if you prefer, to place their order. At the top, there are several tabs. They toggle straight to the vegetarian section, select the chef’s special, and in one swift movement swipe to the drinks menu. Their finger hovers over a glass of Rioja, and with a brief tapping motion, their order is placed.
But these touchless experiences aren’t limited to front of house. In their room, your guest scrolls through a TV guide without ever having to touch a remote. Hovering their palm over a small panel on the beside table activates another ethereal keypad. For room service, press one.
After turning out the lights (without, of course, flicking any switches) it’s time for a contactless checkout. Using what was once a touchscreen, your guests can notify you of their departure and pay the minibar bill without touching a single thing.
Then they’re presented with one final question: how would you rate your stay?
Showing that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your guests’ health is crucial for building customer loyalty in a post-pandemic world. Creative digital solutions also present a new opportunity for hoteliers to differentiate themselves in an over-saturated, highly competitive market.
These are just a few examples of how touchless technology and interactive holograms can transform entire industries. The best part? Our touch sensor modules can be easily retrofitted to make any screen or surface touchless, so you can quickly implement instant contactless experiences.
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