In our personal and professional lives, we are swamped with ground-breaking technology. All of it promises to make our lives faster, easier, more interactive and more intelligent. It’s true that connectivity has become the centre of our worlds at home and at work, but can the same be said for the experiences guests receive in hotels?
In the hospitality sector specifically, research has proven that hotels which develop mobile apps and introduce them to a guest have higher customer satisfaction . However, the same figures also suggested that almost two fifths (38 per cent) don’t actually find a reason to use the apps provided during their hotel stay .
The hotel industry is also facing increased competition, with the home-from-home market booming. AirBnB, for example, recorded revenues of over £4bn in 2019 , driven by its focus on user experience, personality and individuality . As such, it’s important that hoteliers work harder to integrate designs and facilities which work to make a guest feel comfortable and meet their ever-changing, personal expectations.
One area that guests are placing more value and focus is access control. Security, which is as integrated, connected and seamless as guests have come to expect from other utilities and devices in their life, equates to a first-class experience and is in demand.
The latest trend in the hotel sector is to use access control technology to create operational and technological benefits, with a range of products available which also create a point of difference for a guest. For example, staff-free reception areas, which grant guests access to their rooms via remote access control systems, offer a sleek and sophisticated entrance to a hotel while helping hotel operators to run their properties more efficiently.
The latest developments to Dialock, the advanced door and furniture locking system from Häfele, aren’t just providing trendsetting technology in the access control arena. Its newly designed smartphone app, “Hafele Access Hotel”, which provides a digital key via Bluetooth® to access bedrooms and hotel facilities, improves convenience for the guest, while creating efficiencies for the hotel operator. Removing the need to cut physical keys, take a guest up to their room or show them how to use a gym locker, the system arms staff with more time to spend on the running of the hotel and enhancing the wider customer service, while a guest comes and goes at their leisure.
Marrying up guest management systems for easy check-in and check-out, payments and facility use with an app the guest can navigate as easily as if it were their favourite social media channel, will provide them with an improved experience, making their stay as connected as that they enjoy at home.
This shouldn’t, however, come at the compromise of great design. Spaces that are fully functional, secure and reliable are little use unless they also wow. Customised access control systems which achieve a consistent look and feel with the existing or planned design or interiors of a building offer the perfect solution to this challenge.
For example, during a recent project on The Roseate Reading Hotel, Häfele adapted its usual Dialock design to complement the luxurious interior the operators were trying to achieve in a large-scale renovation. With a large section of the building listed, owners wanted to retain as many traditional features as possible while upscaling its access control features.
To achieve this, bespoke, polished nickel wall readers offering access and a ‘Do Not Disturb’ function were integrated outside guest rooms, allowing for the traditional polished nickel door furniture to remain untouched. Meanwhile, more modern, satin stainless steel lever handles with a minimalist design were chosen and partnered with Dialock for the hotel’s newly developed annexe suites.
Access control technology is advancing and, equally, becoming more synonymous with smart devices. It can enhance a guest’s stay to such an extent that they feel compelled to book again, leave positive reviews or recommend your hotel to a friend. As such, and as we move forward to an even more connected world, the use of access control within your hotel should be prioritised – at initial design stage, or during a restoration or renovation. Doing so will ensure you offer a premium, personal experience to every guest who chooses your hotel for their next break.
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