Hospitality's Tech Makeover

The sci-fi FlyZoo hotel in Hangzhou is staffed by robots, guests can check in with facial recognition and rooms are voice controlled.

Fly Zoo hotel- A robot delivers a guest's food who ordered the meal on the phone's app

Technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever before, and this is changing both the expectations of customers as well as the way in which the hospitality industry conducts its business.

The hospitality industry has the ultimate goal of pleasing its guests by providing the best service and facilities.

A guest is happy when someone remembers their choice. How can technology help in this? Let us see the famous Alibaba Group Hotel opened in late 2018.

The Fly Zoo hotels by Alibaba group represents the future of hotels. It employs a range of artificial intelligence services, including robotic droids that carry food and fresh towels.

For check-in, foreign guests must visit a kiosk in the lobby upon arrival, where their picture is taken by a staff member and tells the room no. The staff member took a photo of the guest so that they can have facial recognition access in the elevator and their room.

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Facial recognition doors to enter your room mean no more queues or keys for the guests.

Each room is also equipped with a Tmall Genie smart assistant, which can adjust the temperature, curtains, lights, operate the TV, play music, and answer questions, with simple voice commands. Guests can also use Tmall Genie to order new pillows, food, and drink to the room, and a waist-high robot will arrive with them.

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The hotel has a refrigerator for drinks. It unlocks by scanning the Alibaba app QR code

And as soon as you pick up your favorite drink, the app reflects the charges.

The hotel has an interactive gym with a digital floor and wall for high-tech workouts. The gym has a big digital screen to follow workout steps. The gym also uses facial recognition for access.

The restaurant has a unique QR code for every table. Once scanned with Alipay, it opens the menu. The food is served by robots. But some kind of, let's stay steamy food, is served by the staff itself, yet.

So, do you think hotels will get automated entirely and this industry will not need human employees?

According to the Alibaba hotel group CEO, robots and automation will be used only to increase efficiency, they will still hire associates, and staff will be around to help.

It was just an experimenting hotel, later it may be used for tie-ups with other international hotels.

Such kinds of hotels may not be perfect for a vacation. But can be suited to business purpose stays. Clearly, service is not the same as hospitality. With this kind of speedy service, it should be also taken care of that guests have pleasant faces to interact in the hotel, not just bots.

When luxury is taken care of with innovation in technology, the possibilities are endless:

  • Virtual view of hotel/building using XR technology

  • Chatbots equipped with applications for room services and giving the best offers for stays and bookings.

  • 5G broadband for a seamless experience

  • Creative Feedback surveys with emails for gathering user experiences and promises to improve in the future

  • Real-time language translation tools for better understanding of foreign visitors

  • Luggage bots for carrying

  • Automated lights, mood-lightening, smart lightning for saving energy

  • Websites with instant support and chatbots showing offers according to the type of trip are business or recreational.

  • Providing wifi is a common practice and hence more Entertainment on tap is needed along with it.

  • Offering them to connect their personal devices to the TV to stream their favorite content, or get real-time updates

  • Creative AR menu in restaurants

  • Recreation businesses that offer refreshment, enjoyment like museums, amusement parks are now using Augmented Reality technology.

  • NFC (near field communication) technology is used as a smart way to open doors, it is a powerful tool for offering users exquisite personalized experiences – from personalized ad content to tracking loyalty points for using room service.

  • Data analytics can help in tuning the budgets, pricing, and inventory according to the type of customers and can offer dynamic pricing.

The goal of the technology is to make hotel services better and easier while also freeing up staff time from tedious tasks so it can focus more on a better service for guests. FlyZoo seems to deliver on these goals and may well deserve its “hotel of the future” nametag.


The Team:

Shriya Madan, an ardent learner, a digital enthusiast, aspires to make an impact in the real world with the power of technology

Pranjali Apurva, driven by curiosity, converging design principles with digital transformation

BLVCK PiXEL is a Digital Innovation Consultancy headquartered in Paris. We aim to bridge the gap between Technology & Business through Design-led Strategy. Connect with us.