Technology: It’s what guests want – and expect – when they check into a hotel (and at no extra cost, in most cases). Gone are the days of paying for Internet access or going to the hotel business center to check email. Guests care less about amenities like in-room movies available for purchase (they can stream them on their tablets!) and more about being able to use their own devices for information, communication and entertainment – whether they’re in their rooms, by the pool or in the lobby.

Technology mobility is now a priority for hotel staff, too. When set up correctly, it can improve productivity while improving guest satisfaction, thanks to faster processes and quick response times. When staff members have access to technology throughout the hotel, they can respond to guest questions faster – even when they’re not at the front desk.

Here are a few ways smart hotels benefit from technology …

1. Better Energy Management

In connected smart hotel rooms utilizing Internet of Things technology, sensors can detect when guests leave their rooms and communicate that information to other devices so temperatures and lighting levels can automatically be set back to save energy. (Industry statistics indicate that rooms are empty at least 50% of the time due to guests attending meetings, social gatherings, etc.)

The same goes for meeting/conference rooms or other spaces that aren’t used 24/7 – according to a schedule or based on occupancy levels, temperature and lighting levels can be adjusted to save energy when no one’s using them – and it’s all done automatically, with no manual intervention required.

2. Remote Management of Rooms

A few years ago, the buzz was using smartphones to lock and unlock guestroom doors. Today, however, guest smartphones are being used to do a whole lot more.

Many smart hotels are unveiling apps that allow guests to use their smartphones to seamlessly control lighting, HVAC, door locks, window shades and entertainment, whether they’re lying in their hotel beds or are halfway across town.

Hotel staff can benefit from these remote monitoring features as well, with the ability to remotely turn lights off and change temperature settings in a room after a guest checks out.

This technology may also help reduce downtime and anticipate maintenance needs. For example, Hilton’s new connected rooms can send alerts to hotel managers when batteries in a device are low, or when something isn’t functioning correctly. The problem can be addressed or the battery can be changed before the guest ever notices an issue.

3. Happier Guests (and Higher Satisfaction Levels)

Thanks to Siri, Amazon Echo and even Nest thermostats, hotel guests are becoming used to using connected technology at home – and they now expect these things when they travel.

The J.D. Power 2017 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study indicates that a hotel’s incorporation of technology like mobile apps and functionality is associated with higher guest satisfaction levels. When used correctly, this kind of technology can create better experiences by anticipating guest needs and providing higher levels of customization and personalization.

For example, when integrated with energy management systems, mobile apps can allow guests to set preferred temperature and lighting levels before they arrive in their room so they’re ready upon arrival.

How to Make it Happen

The secret behind deploying this level of technology? A robust cabling infrastructure. It may seem counterintuitive, but as smart hotels roll out wireless networks and turn their facilities into digital buildings that support convergence, provide cost savings and allow for better management – it translates into the need for more wire and cable!

With so many systems, processes and communications depending on the network to perform, everything must work 24/7 with no downtime – otherwise, guests and staff will become frustrated quickly. Instead of being seen as helpful, the technology will be viewed as something that keeps them from achieving their goals.

A futureproof Category 6A cable platform that supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) will allow smart hotels to deploy whatever tomorrow’s newest technologies are — from voice activation to things we haven’t even thought of yet – while still being able to support the needs of today, such as wireless access and bring your own device (BYOD).

This will also simplify infrastructure, since PoE cable can carry data and power over one Ethernet cable to IP devices like wireless access points, surveillance cameras, AV equipment, digital signage and even overhead lights.

Belden can help you simplify project management by serving as your one infrastructure partner, with everything you need to make a smart hotel a reality – whether you’re renovating or building new. Learn more about our hospitality expertise here.