The rise of smart hotels in Singapore

Restaurant Tech Live blog post 1

Technology is now becoming an essential staple within hospitality. More and more hotels in Singapore integrating forms of tech such as mobile applications, service delivery automation and even virtual concierges into their establishment. 

One hotel that has gone under a tech makeover is the Bayview Hotel which is now called 30 Bencoolen. All 131 rooms have smart room control units, that enable the operations team to monitor rooms statuses and will be immediately informed of any room faults. 

Regional head, business development of Bayview International Hotels & Resorts, Kevin Peeris said “technology creates exciting new opportunities to increase productivity, and effectiveness resulting in incredible experiences for staff and guests alike.” 

Another hotel in Singapore named Conrad Centennial Singapore uses eConnect which reduces the overall time taken to sort out any pressing issues. Now both these hotels are looking to branch into automation and marry it with their more traditional hospitality processes. 

Heinrich Grafe, the hotel’s general manager commented on this technological progression, he said “we are even exploring having a robot-operated linen distributor, which will decrease the need a higher volume of housekeeping staff.” 

Peeris shared that 30 Bencoolen is looking out for solutions such as collaborative robots and robotic process automation.

Another area of technology the hotel is exploring, Peeris added, is integrated mobile applications.

Meanwhile, the 343-room Grand Park City Hall, scheduled to unveil the results of a revamp in 2H2018, is set to roll out fully-customised mobile application with functionalities such as mobile room bookings, room selection, mobile check-in, keyless entry and guest messaging.

A focus on technology and revamped rooms could deliver a “high-tech, high-touch” guest experience, said Elaine Heng, assistant director of marketing communications, Park Hotel Group.

On a group level, the Park Hotel Group is also planning to pilot an Artificial Intelligence-powered Virtual Concierge Assistant (VCA), accessible on web and mobile starting next month. To be trialed on Park Hotel Alexandra’s website, VCA will be tasked with suggesting personalised recommendations and itineraries based on guest queries, as well as answering commonly asked questions.

VCA will be subsequently integrated onto social media platforms such as Facebook Messaging and rolled out groupwide in 2H2018.

M Social Singapore and Singapore’s two Hotel Jen properties employ autonomous service delivery robots, and the former also welcomed a robot that can cook eggs.

STB’s Ong Huey Hong, director, policy & planning group hotels & sector manpower, noted: “We have seen quite a lot of adoption (of robotics) in the last two to three years. Our first adoption was in 2015, and there was only one hotel that did a pilot. Now we have about 10 or 12 hotels committing or that have already adopted robotics.”

Hotels were initially concerned that robotics was “gimmicky”, but pilot programmes have since proven that robots can “enhance customer service and improve productivity”, Ong added.

With the rise of smart technology, STB and the Hotel Innovation Committee, led by the Singapore Hotel Association, will chart a roadmap for the hospitality industry to transform into “Smart Hotels” through the Smart Hotel Technology Roadmap.

This will identify the next-generation system capabilities such as facial recognition at check-in and payment wallets.