This is the 3rd article of a series of 4 where we’ll discuss how Augmented Reality (AR) can be applied to the Hotel Business in order to add value and create new and unique services and experiences that happen before, during and after the guest’s stay.
In the previous article, we discussed how AR can be used by the Hotel Business to engage guests before their stay, by making the most out of marketing mediums, adding value to the booking process and creating a better experience. In case you missed it, give it a look here.

AR has a considerable capacity of enhancing pre- and post-booking customer experiences and it goes a long way to satisfy anyone’s appetite for planning holidays to the very last detail. In this article, we’ll be taking a look on how Hotels can use AR to engage guests during their stay, add value to guest experience and improve their overall satisfaction.

The tourism and hospitality industries are keenly aware that there is a shift happening regarding the demographic that makes up their key consumer base. Many technology savvy business owners know that appealing to the internet generation of consumers requires adopting the next generation of technology, and it’s no different for hotels.

Hotels must differentiate their brand experiences, particularly if they seek to win over millennials, who shy away from predictability and are quick to embrace the new and different, especially if it leverages mobile devices. Now that consumers are becoming more aware of the power of AR technology, it can soon take its place among the top hotel technology trends. This recent popularity of AR has illustrated consumers’ willingness to embrace this new trend, as long as it delivers real value.

Integrating AR in the hotel app can be a way to engage guests as soon as they step foot on the property. Combining an AR navigation guide with a self-check-in and smart room key system can create a seamless arrival experience. All guests have to do is fire-up the app enter their check-in information, follow a set of navigation arrows or hints in AR directly to their room and enter using the smart key system. Resorts can even customize an AR-guided tour of its art, gardens or other points of interest.

Once in the hotel room, guests can scan the room using their device to find wall sockets, amenities, room temperature and other controllers that can be highlighted. If the room or suite has any particular art piece or if the interior design was curated by a specific designer, guests can access content in AR, like the artist’s interpretation of a painting or get a virtual tour of the space by the designer himself. The possibility to buy a desired art piece can also be available in app, assigning the cost directly to the guest’s room.

For hotels that offer high end room service, pointing the device’s camera to the room table or room service menu can trigger a 3D model of the F&B items available or videos of the hotel’s chef preparing the dishes. This kind of interaction can also be available when walking by the hotel’s restaurant, displaying guests’ reviews, menu recommendations or special offers, and, while we’re at it, why not give guests the opportunity to hand pick their table and make a dinner reservation all within the hotel app? While sitting at the bar, guests can browse cocktails and other drinks by pointing at their coasters and swiping through their virtual representation or scan breakfast buffet items in search of allergenics or ingredients that don’t go with their dietary choices.

AR can also be a fun and valuable way of discovering the hotel property. Hotel brand and concept features can be highlighted through animations and treasure hunt type games can get guests to walk around the property, getting to know all the services and features offered by the hotel. Spas and other often private areas can be visualized with AR, tearing down walls with an x-ray vision effect and giving guests a sneak peek of inside. For hotels with big event spaces, AR can be used to help event organizers see how different spaces can look with different layouts, table configurations or decorations. Allowing event planners to walk around empty rooms with virtual holograms of how the space is going to look on the event day helps them plan it to the last detail and can get them to book a venue on the spot.

AR can be used in many different ways and experiences in the hotel setting but it should always be in line the hotel’s brand and concept and its guests’ profile. Through personalized AR experiences, content and real-time translation, hotels can create a more friendly and tailored guest experience.

Allowing guests to access information that will enhance their stay through AR is not limited to the hotel’s property. If hotels include AR navigation features in their native apps, it could spur guests to rely on the app as a destination’s tour guide, overlaying location specific information in real-time. This can increase the amount of time guests spend using the app altogether, which in turn provides more opportunities for hotels to advertise other company’s services. The more each guest interacts with the app, the hotel property and the destination itself, the more data can be collected on each guests behavior.

The most important thing that AR offers hotels, however, is connecting the Hotel’s brand to cutting-edge innovation. Using AR will show guests how the hotel is doing everything to satisfy their technology needs.

Most people already own the hardware necessary to bring AR to life on a mainstream level in the form of smartphones. Mounted headsets and other wearable devices are simply the next step and hotels could be at the forefront to capitalize on these changes.

However, for hotels and for the time being, the AR world is typically accessed via mobile apps. Guests simply point their device to receive customized information on their screen. As wearable devices become mainstream, future travelers will inevitably want to interact with AR in their trips. This is likely to happen spontaneously but hotels may initially want to drive this behavior. To do this, wearable devices could be left in rooms and guests encouraged to record and share memorable moments at the property and destination, all through their own social channels.

AR will ultimately make finding stay-related information quicker and more convenient than ever before. Choosing between a hotel whose native app integrates AR and one that does not could soon be a selling point for modern travelers.

On the next article, we’ll be discussing the potential of AR after the guests’ stay and how it can be used to increase loyalty.

Stay tuned!

This are just some examples, to find out more about what AR can bring to the Hotel Business and Hospitality join in the conversation at Augmented Reality in Hospitality.