How has technology transformed the hospitality industry in the past five years?

Stefano Valdrighi: The entire hospitality industry has gone through a transformation of their business, their relationship with customers and providers, and the delivery of their services. All these transformations were mainly made possible through the use and integration of different technologies in all areas of the hotel – processes aim to improve efficiencies and create an enhanced guest experience.

Hospitality has embraced the trust to use cloud-based services and IoT technologies, enabling them to deliver seamless and personalised experiences and services to their guests – knowing guest’s preferences and being able to deliver information and services independently from the hotel you want to deal with. In consequence, communication has taken a huge leap in speed and efficiency by using self-service solutions, such as one tap check-ins, chatbots and digital concierge services or smart room technologies.

The use of technology is considerably supporting hotels to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. For instance, reducing labour effort thanks to the introduction of advanced information systems around inventory management, life cycle management and finance. Additionally, it enables continuous learning from guests’ feedback, helping to adapt faster to new trends and requirements.

How can Siemens better enable hotels to respond to the demands of Covid-19?

The pandemic has put hotels under severe pressure to introduce strict measures that guarantee a safe stay for guests, while at the same time offering a comfortable and enjoyable visit. This requires precautions aimed at preventing infections, including the ability to trace people who may have come into contact with an infected person. And this requires a communication platform and a specific software solution. Siemens Smart Infrastructure conceived a smart hotel solution supporting these measures. We optimise the common areas by collecting data of movement through indoor positioning system, implement CO2 sensors for automated adjustment of ventilation, and enable guests to easily adjust the room settings (temperature, ventilation, lighting, and other functions) directly on their smartphone or tablet. To protect service and maintenance personnel as effectively as possible, it’s advisable to monitor and operate HVAC systems remotely.

What are some of the advantages of using Siemens technology?

Our technologies are transforming hotels into first-choice destination for guests and make operations efficient. We support hoteliers to navigate through the digital transformation journey, assessing new customer requirements and designing their North Star that fulfils new trends and responds to operational goals. The integration into a holistic one smart hotel concept helps sets the future model based on a solid business case. Smart hotels requires a close integration of IT and OT from consulting and engineering to hotel operations, with specific solutions and services to ensure transparency of energy consumption, as well as consulting to improve sustainability; that’s Siemens commitment to our hospitality customers.

Our technology supports management of the facility through frictionless processes, facilitating a smooth workflow for guests and staff. The modular smart hotel solution ensures owners and investors that their buildings are future-proof and equipped with state-of-the-art technology to enable optimal performance.

The smart hotel solution delivers a unique guest experience, building on a loyal base of customers while improving building performance through connectivity, data analytics and digital services – not forgetting security and safety systems fulfilling the highest standards for assets and people.

Ultimately, our human-centric approach is about delivering technology and services ensuring a total experience, connecting all the X’s (customer, user, guest, employee experience) and creates a unique differentiation for our customers. We create environments where people genuinely care.

What role can enhance data monitoring play in creating guest profiles to anticipate guest preferences?

In accordance with GDPR and other local data privacy regulations, we collect data based on current and previous stays, around the guest journey (booking data, food ordered, movies watched, room settings, etcetera) to constitute the guest profile. These allow us to tailor the services to best suit the preferences on future stays.

For instance, as soon as the guest is checked in, the information will be sent to the room to automatically set the preferences from past usage.

Another example would be the notification to the staff when the guest has left the hotel to start cleaning the room. Leveraging the use of data creates a frictionless guest experience and adds efficiency to the process.

Energy efficiency is vital as hotels strive to be more sustainable. How does technology from Siemens enable hotels to be more energy-efficient?

At Siemens, we take the protection of our environment very seriously. More and more governments are introducing regulations requiring companies to minimise the environmental impact of their operations and very soon companies failing to comply with the energy reduction and carbon neutrality targets imposed by the Paris Agreement will face penalties and high fines. For this reason, we are using integrated building management technology and advanced analytics to enable our customers to monitor and optimise energy performance and guarantee that sustainability goals are met.

Furthermore, all stakeholders interacting with the building and the hotel services can contribute to reduce the impact on the environment. For instance, the hotel guests could embark on different sustainability initiatives when provided with information about their environmental footprint, and potentially be rewarded when they are not extensively using electricity or water, for example.

What are some of the recent hotel projects you have worked on?

Unfortunately, we cannot disclose specific projects as we are under NDAs with several top hotel brands. I must say that the introduction of ESG requirements was a game changer in this industry and we are intensively working with leading hotel chains to help minimise their environmental impact.

“Our open platforms allow us to integrate partner and third-party portfolios, ultimately enabling us to keep up with new developments and requirements.”

With the support of new data-driven services, we are optimising their operations and generating substantial savings – up to 40% in maintenance costs and 20% in energy consumption, developing a competitive edge for our clients. Lastly, the advent of digital technology and cloud-based solutions introduced new models and advantages that require upgrades to building infrastructures and the standardisation of their technology portfolio. This ensures higher reliability, more flexibility and more importantly enables an enhanced guest experience while opening new revenue streams and greater profitability.

Is Siemens technology better suited to a particular type of hotel or does it cater across the board?

Our smart infrastructure solutions are suited to any type of facility infrastructure in the hospitality and leisure sector. Actually, our value propositions are applicable to every smart building providing space and user efficiency, intelligent and resilient energy systems, energy and asset efficiency, comfort and safety for people and assets.

How is Siemens evolving as a technology provider to keep pace with the market?

Both in existing buildings and new constructions we are partnering with hotel and leisure park investors to design, build and operate their facilities. We engage in vested partnerships based on an outcome-focused approach, sharing risks and rewards in a sort of twin-win model. We agree with our customers on common goals and drive every initiative towards these goals based on clearly defined and measurable KPIs, putting the end-customer at the centre.

We offer innovation as a service to create new solutions and specific business models playing the role of technology advisor, business consultant and trusted partner. Siemens is an E2E partner from strategy definition to operations. We have a dedicated team with industry knowhow to identify requirements on current needs and capture forward-looking ideas, constantly liaising with our R&D teams to offer solutions and services that will meet client needs. Our open platforms allow us to integrate partner and third-party portfolios, ultimately enabling us to keep up with new developments and requirements. What’s more, we interface with the customer out of a single point of contact that coordinates operations worldwide. This is called the enterprise business approach and is one that we have implemented for our primary customers with a global footprint.