After the pandemic began to converge and the number of international travelers began to increase, the hotel industry in Japan is facing more and more critical labor shortage issues.
In order to solve the labor shortage problem and improve the guest experience, new hotel technologies; such as robots to serve guests and keyless entry to guest rooms are emerging.
With the increase in the number of domestic and international travelers, the demand for tourism has risen again in recent years.
The hotel industry suffers from a labor shortage due to long working hours, such as night shifts and early morning shifts, as well as difficulties in maintaining a work-life balance due to the lack of holidays.
Despite the fact that the hotel industry is in desperate need of labor, the low level of satisfaction in terms of compensation and the high turnover rate are the big challenges in the hospitality labor market.
One solution to this problem is the use of AI and technologies.
In this post, we will introduce five high-tech hotels in Japan, focusing on how technology is used in these hotels and what issues it solves.
Living in today’s technologically advanced world, we may be able to experience the world we longed for in comic books and movies when we were little.
Let’s take a look together!
1. Easy check-in with face recognition! Next-generation lifestyle hotel “sequence”
At “sequence” hotel many tablets are lined up at the check-in counter, and guests can easily check in while operating the tablets. You can choose between a card key or face recognition for your room key, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting your card key when you go outside.
Furthermore, if you register your face image through the app in advance, you can check in on the day of your stay by yourself with face recognition and without having to go to the hotel staff in person!
This eliminates the need to wait in long lines at check-in, relieving guests’ stress and significantly reducing the workload of front desk personnel. Also check-out procedures can be completed on a tablet in the guest room, ensuring a smooth and smart stay.
2. “Hen na Hotel” where only robots work and no humans
“Hen na Hotel” is said to be the first hotel in Japan where robots work as staff and provide services to guests.
This interesting and high-tech hotel has been registered in the Guinness Book of Records, and guests from all over the country and abroad have come to stay at the hotel.
Local cities tend to have a greater shortage of human resources than urban centers, and Huis Ten Bosch, located in Nagasaki Prefecture, decided to solve this shortage by using robots and other devices to achieve unmanned and automated operations.
Guests can spend the entire stay from check-in to check-out without having to talk to any human being.
Robot porters carry guests’ luggage to their rooms and store it in dedicated lockers. Chatbots placed in the rooms can also provide 24/7 assistance through instant messaging services even when hotel staff is not available.
Services provided by humanoid and dinosaur robots not only solve the problem of understaffing, but also entertain the guests.
3. “/slash Kawasaki” Hotel rooms became a movie theater
The compact but unconventional space design and functional design utilizing technology create a stay full of surprises and discoveries despite its affordable Prices.
/slash Kawasaki is one of the hotels that greatly focused on in-room environment, guest experience, and entertainment.
The beds in the rooms recline electrically and can be switched between bed mode and sofa mode with a single remote control.
All rooms are equipped with a projector & screen, and you can connect your own smartphone to the projector to enjoy movies, dramas, animations, and even YouTube videos.
Also each room is equipped with an iPhone, which can be used as an extension phone in the room and also functions as a remote control to operate the electric screen and bed in the room.
Smart Rooms, which are the rooms equipped with smart technology, offer convenience to guests and enhance the guest experience.
4. “Aloft Hotel” based on the concept of art×music× technology
Aloft Hotel Tokyo Ginza, a stylish hotel chain operated by Marriott International, incorporates many of the high-tech features. Guests can use their smartphones or Apple Watches as room keys, eliminating the need for a traditional room key, and adopting a keyless system that makes it easy to enter and leave the hotel without having to search for a key.
The hotel line, located in Dublin/Pleasanton, has introduced Alexa, a voice assistant which provides weather forecasts and music to make the guest’s stay experience even more enjoyable. Guests can also send requests for room service from their smartphones and have a robotic butler deliver towels, toiletries, and other amenities right to their door.
In addition to providing guests with a comfortable stay through technology, “technology and design” such as projection mapping in the elevator halls will bring an extraordinary artistic experience to the guests and attract modern art lovers of.
5. Simulate ryokan service with VR! Teshima Ryokan”
This pandemic has caused many booking cancellations, and many hotels have been suffering from it.
For customers who had to cancel their trip due to the coronavirus, Teshima Ryokan in Yamaguchi Prefecture proposed the “VR Teshima Ryokan & Fukufuku Kaiseki” plan, which allows guests to experience a virtual stay from their own house and takes “staycation” to another level.
Not only experience the hot springs and rooms in each situation in VR (by watching special YouTube streaming with VR goggles), but guests can also cook and eat the famous local fugu kaiseki (sashimi, grilled meat skin, tecchiri, etc.) at home.
Restrictions on travel and hotel stays have become stricter due to pandemic, but in order to entertain customers even amidst these restrictions, technology can also be used to create a new kind of lodging experience that allows guests to feel like they are at a ryokan while staying at home. At the same time it can bring more revenue to the hotel and increase brand exposure.
Hotels are increasingly turning to technology to help them address different needs. Adopting solutions from simple face recognition, check-in to fully robotic staff it seems like we’re heading towards a future from sci-fi movies.
The ultimate goal of the hospitality industry is to increase customer satisfaction. Automating with technology is a way to constantly improve service. Technology can help people, but it can never replace humans.
However, technology can help hotels grow and provide a richer guest experience by streamlining tasks and allowing staff to focus on other aspects of hospitality.
Virtual concierge, developed at Aiello is an AI system designed to help hotels on 3 levels: offloads staff, drives conversions through better marketing exposure (on-screen ads), and gives insights on guest behavior.
Take the first step toward becoming a high-tech hotel with AVA, a smart concierge that can solve labor shortage issues and improve the guest experience at the same time!