Smart hotel rooms create the right environment

June 13, 2018 by Xavier Boudin, international hospitality systems sales engineering leader at Lutron Electronics
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Smart hotel rooms create the right environment

Hotel companies strive to distinguish their brands by creating guest experiences that resonate with their loyal customer base and still attract new travellers. An intuitive, integrated guestroom management system can contribute to elevate guest comfort while helping to reduce operating and maintenance costs in the property.

In fact, a guestroom management system can deliver design elements that elevate the guest experience, create distinctive guestroom environments, appeal to both the business and casual traveller, and ensure the room can change over time. Beyond the in-room experience, the right guestroom management system can effectively integrate with Building Management Systems (BMS), Property Management Systems (PMS), door lock, and a variety of third-party systems to automatically reduce energy costs associated with lighting and HVAC, while simplifying operations for an already stretched staff.

What to look for in a guestroom management system

A guestroom management system should provide equal benefits to hotel and guest, seamlessly integrating with property and building management systems to automate response to occupied and unoccupied spaces, simplifying check-in, subtly welcoming guests to their room, and providing inconspicuous communication between the guest and the hotel staff.
Consider the following check-in scenario. Guests are greeted upon arrival by the hotel management team, receive their keys and move to their room. An integrated guestroom management system reacts immediately to the hotel’s PMS system, which indicates the room is sold and soon to be occupied. Room lights automatically turn on, HVAC adjusts to a predetermined temperature, and blinds open to offer a stunning view as the guest opens the door for the first time.
Guests may not even be aware of the process behind this warm welcome, but they feel comfortable and relaxed in the right environment, and are able to wind down from a long day, or chill out at the beginning of a holiday. An excellent first impression is delivered with no sacrifice to energy efficiency, and no further involvement from the front desk, housekeeping, or other hotel staff.
By choosing a responsive, integrated guestroom management system the hotel team can define the appropriate sequence of operations for a variety of guest scenarios in response to room occupancy, time of day, or cues from other building management controls. Lights and TVs will turn off when the guest leaves the room, blinds can automatically close to reduce HVAC demands and protect furniture, HVAC setback reduces energy use and extends useful life, and the system can be assigned to return to preset levels upon guest occupancy. These integration features allow the property to comply with energy use and sustainability goals and meet code without inconveniencing the guest.
Other integration opportunities can include smart controls that adjust HVAC when a window or patio door remains open, alerts that are communicated to the front desk or room management system when the guest requests privacy, and the ability to control, monitor, and troubleshoot guestroom lights, blinds, and temperature to provide a seamless and positive guest experience.

Smart control simplifies system management and maintenance

Smart, IoT-optimised control can be the key to creating the right environment. Advanced guest room management system solutions depend on a reliable, web-based interface to simplify both the staff and user experience. Look for a solution that offers intuitive software accessible from a variety of devices, and that provides the Directors of Engineering access from wherever they are – on or off property.
Software can offer floorplan-based navigation and room search, enabling proactive responses to potential maintenance issues and quick responses to specific guest requests. An intuitive user experience is essential to building managers who are frequently called upon to train and update employees in the event of turnover, special event staffing requirements, or other changes to the property staff. A networked system is only as good as the staff’s ability to quickly and easily navigate through software to make appropriate adjustments.

Automation saves energy, but personalisation heightens the guest experience

While automated control ensures a consistent guest experience and a more energy-efficient property, guests also want the ability to control and adjust their room environment to their own preferences. Beautiful, accessible, easy to use controls allow the guest to raise or lower lights, open and close blinds, and leave a night light on if they wish. The more intuitive the user experience, the better!
Evaluate control options and select finishes that complement room décor and are designed with the guest in mind. When selecting guestroom controls, consider the following questions:

  • Will the control options ensure comprehensive bedside control?
  • Once guests are tucked in for the night, the last thing they want to do is get up to close the blinds.
  • Is there an intuitive, simple option for control in each location where the guest is most likely to need it?
  • Shading solutions are a common aggravator for guests as well as staff.
  • Have you considered blinds that can be integrated with the guestroom control solution to open with the push of a button, and also operate manually, responding to a guests’ natural tendency to tug a drapery open or closed?

These simple conveniences are often overlooked, and just as often create a negative experience for the guest as well as a maintenance problem for housekeeping.
Select a guestroom management system that offers tremendous versatility as part of a broad-based property renovation or as an essential aspect of new property planning. Integrated lighting, temperature and shade controls are critical for a better guest experience, lower maintenance operating costs, and a more streamlined staff process.
The best guestroom management solutions will keep guest needs top of mind while they also help ensure an energy-efficient, economically sound property.

 

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