Business Traveller (Africa) - - FEATURE – TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY -

All the ma­jor play­ers in the ho­tel space – in­clud­ing Hil­ton and Mar­riott – seem to be work­ing on a “smart” or “con­nected” ho­tel room, with Ac­corHo­tels the lat­est big group to make a noise about the progress it is mak­ing, with the com­pany test­ing tech­nol­ogy that uses voice ac­ti­va­tion and the in­ter­net to make the ho­tel room ex­pe­ri­ence more ac­ces­si­ble and per­son­al­ized.

A model smart room at the com­pany’s Paris head­quar­ters in­cor­po­rates a va­ri­ety of tech­nolo­gies and ac­ces­si­bil­ity fea­tures to ac­com­mo­date up to three guests at a time.

They in­clude:

- A Google Home voice as­sis­tant

- A con­nected tablet that con­trols light­ing, mu­sic, the bed head­board, cur­tains,

TV, and other au­dio-vis­ual equip­ment in the room

- A spe­cial LED light­ing sys­tem that senses mo­tion at night to au­to­mat­i­cally

turn on

- Sleep aids, like Dodow, de­scribed as a “lu­mi­nous metronome that pro­motes both con­cen­tra­tion or sleep,” and a Dreem head­band that has “brain en­ergy sen­sors and a re­lax­ation sys­tem.”

- Aro­mather­apy aids like Sen­sor­wake, which helps you wake up to a cer­tain aroma, like cof­fee, tea, or a sea breeze, and Sk­in­jay shower cap­sules that con­tain es­sen­tial oils.

“Voice is the fu­ture,” says Damien Per­rot, Se­nior Vice-Pres­i­dent of De­sign So­lu­tions for Ac­corHo­tels. “To be able to use it to ac­cess the TV, go to Net­flix di­rectly, or se­lect your favourite song — we’re hop­ing to con­nect all of those el­e­ments to en­hance the guest room ex­pe­ri­ence. All of th­ese el­e­ments and in­no­va­tion in tech­nol­ogy help im­prove the us­age of the room.”

Ac­corHo­tels is test­ing the use of both voice ac­ti­va­tion and in-room tablets.

Per­rot said the de­ci­sion to use an in-room tablet was prompted by the fact that “many guests don’t want to have to down­load an­other app that they only use when they’re in the ho­tel. For this room, the de­ci­sion was to put in a real tablet with all the func­tion­al­ity al­ready built in, and they can use the tablet to con­nect ev­ery­thing.”

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