Creating a Smart Hotel for the New Digital Era

Creating a Smart Hotel for the New Digital Era

In the hospitality industry, treating guests with the utmost care and hospitality is a given, and is the most important value of many hospitality companies. Hotels are the most common type of accommodation in the hospitality industry, and with great hospitality comes guest loyalty. 

Hotels are no longer purely a site of accommodation. They also offer various services such as dining, entertainment, laundry cleaning and many more. Many hotels also come with a wide array of facilities such as swimming pools and gyms to enhance their guests’ experience. However, these facilities and services also come with huge operational costs.

Major hotel brands have been quick to jump on the smart hotel technology bandwagon, prioritizing turning their hotels into smart hotels in order to enhance customer experience, improve efficiency and drive down costs. Cost-cutting in hotels is critical due to the immense expenses on daily operations, and it helps maximize ROI for the hotels while improving overall efficiency at the same time.

With the improvements in technology, cost-cutting measures can be a lot simpler. Through the effective use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), data and insights can be easily collected and derived, providing hotels with new information to make smarter decisions to drive significant cost savings. 

5 ways to create a smart hotel for significant cost savings

Reduce energy consumption

A large number of facilities within a hotel is dependent on a huge amount of electricity to remain functional. However, electricity at such a scale does not come cheap. It is also a common sight for facilities to be operating even though there is no one using them. This waste of electricity and energy can amount to a huge cost and hotels ought to look at reducing such costs.

What if there is a way for you to minimize this wastage of electricity?

With AI and Machine Learning (ML), it is possible to reduce the amount of electricity used when not needed. Occupancy sensors allow hotels to check the occupancy of a room, reducing the electricity consumption in the room should there be no guests. Moreover, ML using past and existing data allows for the automatic adjustment of the optimal room settings, ensuring that there is no unnecessary usage of electricity.

BEFORE

AFTER

Smart Monitoring

  • No accurate way of knowing when a guest leaves the room while leaving the keycard in the slot
  • Unnecessary energy consumption when no one is in the room
  • Occupancy sensors enable hotels to perceive and detect movement changes in the room
  • Automatic power cut-off upon detecting that no one is present in the room
  • Monitor the room in a much smarter and efficient manner

Automatic Adjustments for Optimal Guest Room Settings

  • Inaccuracy in determining the optimal air conditioning temperature that can provide guests with comfort and yet save on energy costs
  • Setting a limit on the AC temperatures to cut down on energy consumption will affect the guest experience and comfort
  • Automation in optimal guest room settings upon learning about guest preferences, current weather conditions, and time without compromising on guests’ comfort
  • Puts the guest rooms in an ‘efficient energy mode’ and reduces the amount of unnecessary energy consumption
Track and monitor water consumption

Facilities such as laundry cleaning services or the swimming pool consume large amounts of water. However, wastage or improper use of water will only result in increased expenses for the hotel. As such, technical problems that lead to water wastage should be detected before the problem aggravates.  

Manual tracking and managing water consumption can be tedious and time-consuming. By consolidating this data into a single database with clear visualization via a dashboard, the management or operations team will immediately be alerted should an issue arise. Moreover, with proper tracking in place, the team will be able to accurately determine the source of the problem in real-time, something that staff members may not be able to do so quickly in a manual setting. This allows for the necessary actions to be taken before the situation worsens.

BEFORE

AFTER

Early Discovery

  • Water leaks are difficult to detect in the early stages, especially to the naked eye
  • Damage has already been done by the time the leak becomes visible 
  • Results in potential operational downtime, affecting hotel guests and incurring huge maintenance costs for severe leaks
  • With a centralized dashboard to keep track of all equipment status, water leaks can be discovered instantly 
  • Staff members can take immediate action to carry out the necessary maintenance work

Laser-like Accuracy in Problem Detection

  • Location of the visible leak may differ from the actual root source of the problem and is difficult to identify manually
  • Manual checks will require extra time and resources to fix the problem
  • A centralized dashboard allows the hotel to pinpoint the exact source of the leak, allowing staff members to immediately tend to the issue 
Increase efficiency when it comes to housekeeping matters

Housekeeping is a standard procedure of any hotel to ensure a clean and comfortable stay for its guests. Optimizing the housekeeping process helps to improve overall operational efficiency in manpower allocation.

With a smart housekeeping management software, automation of such menial tasks is easy. The software will be able to do automatic planning, deriving a set of schedules optimized to suit the various requirements, such as type of task and availability of workers etc. This ensures a neat system whereby there is no overlapping or under-utilization of workers, creating a work system that is organized and efficient. 

The software will also be able to help managers make smarter contingency decisions as real-time operational changes occur throughout the day and the unexpected can always happen. It can also help ease communication within the team.

BEFORE

AFTER

Automatic Assignment

  • Schedules are manually planned, increasing the risks of manpower overlaps and time wasted
  • System looks at all the variables involved (capabilities/demographics of attendants, layout of rooms etc) before automatically assigning the room. 
  • Streamline the schedule planning process

All-in-one Reporting Platform

  • Unnecessary downtime from poor communication and manual planning

Eg. Unclear information, non-responsive parties etc

  • Channel for convenient reporting (in the event of equipment breakdown or additional manpower required)
  • Alerts will be brought up to the relevant parties immediately to allow contingency plans to be executed immediately

Reactive to real-time changes

  • Real-time changes (e.g. earlier arrival of VIP guests) throughout daily operations may result in staff members being unprepared, affecting quality of service rendered
  • Revision of schedules manually will increase the downtime during operations
  • Reacts and automatically recommends suitable adjustments to the schedules of affected attendants
  • Information will be immediately available to relevant stakeholders, increasing productivity and eliminating miscommunication.
Minimize food wastage

About 25% of all food that passes through hotel kitchens is thrown out as food waste. Food wastage is a real issue for most hotels, and measures should be taken to reduce such costs. While under-preparation of food can result in a poorer dining experience for the guests, over-preparation of food leads to huge wastage and adds on expenses for hotels. The aim is to achieve a balance between both and prepare just the right amount of food, which is actually a humongous challenge. Simply eye-balling or using estimates is insufficient.

Instead, using historical and existing data on food wastage, a smart food wastage system can accurately estimate the amount and identify the source of food wastage. A ‘Smart Bin’ can be used to track the amount of food thrown away, and from there, it can identify the cost of the food being thrown away and all this information can be captured and easily reviewed via a centralized dashboard. 

This allows hotels to adjust the amount of food prepared according to the insights, ensuring that the section with the largest food wastage can reduce the amount of food prepared. Moreover, hotels can also learn the taste and preferences of its guests’ palate, thereby providing a better service.

BEFORE

AFTER

Enable Smarter Estimation

  • Food waste often stems from over-preparation because it is challenging to make accurate estimations
  • Consolidate the amount of food wastage at the end of each service by tracking wastage in smart bins
  • Using this information, chefs can make necessary adjustments and prevent over preparation of food

Accurately Identify Food Waste

  • No accurate way of identifying the type and amount of food being thrown away in an efficient manner
  • Using computer vision technology, it is possible to identify the type of food through comparison of before and after images
  • Furthermore, integrating this on a weight scale allows us to determine the exact amount of waste

Real-time Tracking

  • Difficult to consolidate the amount of waste especially when food is being thrown away at different disposal points
  • Inefficient to only have one single disposal point
  • Keep track of the amount of food being thrown away in real-time and consolidate the information into one single dashboard
  • Allows chefs to better understand the situation and make the necessary adjustments
Predictive Maintenance

Different hotels adopt different approaches when it comes to hotel maintenance.

Reactive Maintenance VS Preventive Maintenance VS Predictive Maintenance

Many hotels often rely on a Preventive Maintenance strategy to minimize operational downtime. However, there are a lot of unnecessary costs due to maintenance works for well-functioning equipment that are actually not breaking down. This is not an efficient strategy in the long run.

On the other hand, Predictive Maintenance offers a “crystal ball” solution. It is able to accurately predict and diagnose the failures and breakdowns of machines and equipment, allowing hotels to carry out early maintenance work for equipment that will potentially break down.

For example, with historical data of past breakdowns of the air-conditioning system, the Predictive Analytics algorithm is able to analyze the data and derive a trend of system breakdowns. This allows the system to forecast future breakdowns and raise alarms when there is a potential breakdown, allowing the hotel management to service it before it deteriorates. This reduces the operational downtime and prevents unnecessary spending on over-maintenance works, driving a new era of smart, guest-centric hospitality.

The cost of maintaining a hotel is not a small one, and a wrong approach will instead add to the financial burden. However, Predictive Maintenance can drastically reduce maintenance cost through the effective use of AI. Through this approach, hotels can easily collect data and derive valuable insights, streamline maintenance procedures, and achieve significant cost savings.

BEFORE

AFTER

Prediction of Equipment Breakdowns

  • Impossible to forecast the breakdown of an equipment
  • Repair works can only be done after the breakdown has occurred
  • Algorithms can predict the occurrence of a breakdown
  • Conduct maintenance work before the breakdown occurs

Reduction in Operational Downtime

  • When breakdown occurs, maintenance work is carried out to repair the equipment
  • Operational downtime due to unavailability of equipment to function as per normal
  • Affect the guests’ experience at the hotel
  • Maintenance work is carried out beforehand, ensuring that equipment continues to function as per normal without disruption
  • Guest can have an uninterrupted stay at the hotel and will not be affected by maintenance work

Cost Savings

  • Maintenance work occurs on a frequent basis to prevent breakdown of equipment 
  • Unnecessary servicing is done even when not required, resulting in unnecessary cost 
  • Maintenance work is carried out only when detected and required
  • Prevent unnecessary spending which can be used to serve the guests better
To sum up…

Creating a smart hotel has plenty of benefits that can generate significant cost savings and improve guest experience in the long run. Of all the ideas proposed, predictive maintenance is one of the most important aspects of a smart hotel, due to the possibility of streamlining operational efficiency and the significant cost savings it can bring, especially if the hotel is of a major scale.  

At groundup.ai, we will support and guide you through the process of implementing such systems into your hotel. Using AI and complex algorithms, we can efficiently leverage on data to create revolutionary changes to the operational aspects of your hotel and use innovative solutions to drive business value in the long run. 

Want to reduce operational downtime and increase cost savings? Request a call from us today!

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