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Singapore Tourism Board to keep investing in smart hotels

Hospitality and technology have made a strong bond in Singapore and authorities are determined to keep heading in this direction. From innovative mobile apps to virtual concierges, the south-eastern nation's Tourism Board has announced it will continue to increase the automation of services throughout its properties, in an attempt to increase quality and customer satisfaction.

Singapore Tourism Board to keep investing in smart hotels

While some of Singapore’s appeal lies in its prime geographical position at the crossroads of vast Asian markets, it is the nation’s investment in digital connectivity that differentiates it from the rest of the region. The nation has been investing in technology across all of its sectors, and the tourism industry is certainly not an exception. According to recent declarations, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has announced a larger number of initiatives to increase “smart” services within its hotels. Ranging from service delivery automation to integrated mobile applications and virtual concierges, technology-related solutions are growing at an unprecedented rate.

The 30 Bencoolen from Bayview International Hotels & Resorts, which was recently revamped, has pioneered in many of these changes. Its 131 guest rooms are now fitted with smart room control units that allow the operations team to monitor room statuses and be alerted by any room faults in real time. In addition, the 30 Bencoolen is looking out for solutions such as collaborative robots and robotic process automation as well as integrated mobile apps. Kevin Peeris, regional head of business development at Bayview International Hotels & Resorts, said:

“(The use of technology) generates exciting opportunities to enhance productivity, increase effectiveness and create exceptional experiences for both staff and guests.”

Another example of a smart hotel is the Conrad Centennial Singapore. The property uses eConnect, a similar system that according to Heinrich Grafe, the hotel’s general manager:

“… drastically reduces the time taken to solve issues by eliminating middle steps. (We are) exploring having a robot-operated linen distributor, which would ease the need for manpower in the housekeeping department.”

Likewise, the 343-room Grand Park City Hall, scheduled to unveil the results of a revamp in the second half of 2018, 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. Moreover, 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. The VCA will be tasked with suggesting personalised recommendations and itineraries based on guest queries, as well as answering commonly asked questions.

Ong Huey Hong, STB director of policy & planning group hotels & sector manpower, concluded that these technological leaps have grown in the past years and will continue in the future:

“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.”

In association with the Hotel Innovation Committee, STB is set to transform all of the properties in the hospitality industry into “smart hotels”. The Singapore Hotel Association will chart a roadmap that will identify the next-generation system capabilities such as facial recognition at check-in and payment wallets.

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