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IoT creates 'haunted' hotels

By Max Burkhalter
July 11, 2022

Well-travelled guests know the pain of standing in line at a hotel lobby, bags in hand. The check-in process has traditionally involved waiting in queue for a receptionist to administer your hotel keys after verifying your identity and taking a credit card for those 'just in case' incidental fees. The process – while increasingly efficient, thanks to online booking and the power of today's hotel service platforms – still requires a modicum of patience.

Thanks to the internet of things (IoT) and the connectivity of today's smart devices, waiting in line to check in with a human receptionist may become a relic of the past. This article will examine the tech-afforded possibilities of a contactless check-in experience, and detail how "haunted" hotels – stays in buildings where running into other humans is a spooky and occasional ice-machine occurrence – are giving AirBnB a run for its share of the private stay market.

Big in Japan

As reported by An Adventurous World, Japan's Henn Na, or "Weird Hotel" has been spooking travellers with IoT automation since 2015. Documented as the first step towards a humanless check-in experience, guests arriving at the appropriately-named building were greeted by an English-speaking robot dinosaur. Staffed by humanoids with exaggerated eyelashes and automated blinking eyes, checked-in travellers were subsequently treated to robot porters who assisted in the transportation of their bags.

Boasting an array of IoT sensors and machines, facial recognition software was employed at the hotel in order to utilize a digital image of a guest's face (registered at the time of check-in) to gain access to the rented room.

While the automation of Henn Na hotel is an example of the creative extremes this technology can unleash, subtle applications are increasingly being utilized all around the world.

Hostless hospitality

Recognizing the potential to increase guest satisfaction and efficiency, the hospitality and tourism industries have been quick to adopt IoT technology. With staffing representing a large expense for hotels, the ability to automate interactions not only improves the customer experience (by foregoing lines and the wait times associated with them) but provides cost savings for operators as well.

Mobile electronic keys – delivered directly to a guest's phone upon a virtual check-in – allow weary travellers to head directly from the hotel front door to their room, without so much as a nod at a receptionist.

Walking into an empty hotel lobby has earned this particular experience the 'haunted' hotel moniker, as the staff waiting to greet new arrivals are decidedly invisible. The ability to request room service, or request additional amenities from an automated hotel chatbot service such as HiJiffy, has customers relishing the spooky-fast service of an artificial-intelligence (AI) powered workforce.

Thanks to advances in IoT technology, the traditional association of a haunted hotel – burned into the pop culture zeitgeist thanks to films like 1980's The Shining – is slowly giving way to a new and decidedly welcoming version.

Perle powers IoT innovation

Perle is proud to partner with the hospitality industry innovators that are leveraging connectivity solutions to power innovation. To learn more about how Perle provides efficient, reliable connectivity via industrial switches and terminal servers, visit our case studies page.


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