Here at Akia, our most anticipated movies to watch in 2018 were Hotel Mumbai and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. Although our movie taste is very specific, it is universally known that hotels do not have to be involved in movie storylines, but instead are often used as filming locations. In fact, that's how many hotels rise to fame, besides being reported as haunted.
Famous hotels typically host celebrities, so they face pressure to maintain beautiful overall design and provide the best guest experience possible. As a result, many of these hotels embrace new technologies that are visually appealing and practical for guests. Here are a few hotels that are not only influential in film, but also pioneers in implementing new technology in the hospitality industry:
1. St. Regis Hotel in New York: First controlled heating and air conditioning in each guest room, early 1900s.
The St. Regis Hotel in New York was the inspiration behind the character "Lily St. Regis" in the 1977 hit broadway musical, Annie. It has then been the filming location of numerous movies and music videos, including Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out”.
In the early 1900s, St. Regis was the first hotel to introduce heating and air conditioning that can be controlled in individual guest rooms. Since then, almost every hotel has provided AC units in guest rooms that can be controlled by temperature.
2. Goring Hotel in London: First private bathrooms & central heating, 1910
The elegant Goring Hotel in London is minutes away from Buckingham Palace. It is famous especially among royalty, and Kate Middleton even stayed there the night before her Royal Wedding in 2011. It is the entire family's favorite hotel and considered an "annex", or extension of the Buckingham Palace because of how closely they are located.
When the Goring Hotel first opened, it featured central heating and facilities in every room. This proved to be a worthwhile investment, as the Goring Hotel has consistently been renowned as London's best hotel.
3. The Waldorf Astoria New York: First Hotel with Room Service, 1931
The Waldorf Astoria in New York, known for its rich history and luxury suites, has been redefining guest experience since its inception in 1893. It was the first hotel to introduce room service following a major renovation in 1929. The cuisine at the Waldorf Astoria has also remained excellent, and guests have close access to a variety of dining options.
In popular culture, the Waldorf Astoria has served as a filming location for scenes of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Maid in Manhattan, and various other television shows. Waldorf from the Muppets was even named after the hotel!
The Waldorf Astoria is currently closed for renovations and will reopen in 2020. We look forward their new guest rooms, and any new technological features they might have.
4. The Plaza Hotel in New York: First Hotel with iPads in guest rooms, 2010
The Plaza is a stunning 5-star hotel close to Central Park in New York City. It was famously briefly owned by Donald Trump and has heavily inspired film and literature.
It is the home of Eloise, an adventurous, fictional little girl with a suite on the top floor of the hotel. The Eloise book series was a hit among all ages and a major force in helping The Plaza rise to fame. Of course, the adapted Eloise screenplays were filmed there too, along with other notable movies, like Sleepless in Seattle, The Great Gatsby, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
In 2010, The Plaza added iPads to every guest room. The iPads come with a pre-downloaded app that allows guests to communicate with concierge, control curtain level and temperature, request items, and more. The iPads reduce paper usage for printed directories, part of their efforts in becoming more sustainable and eco-friendly.
5. Stanley Hotel: First to build a new Pavilion Amphitheater, then use it to host a music festival, 2018.
The Stanley Hotel in Colorado was the main inspiration behind The Shining, a horror film (no spoilers ahead) about a hotel caretaker that accepts a job at a questionable property. The Stanley Hotel is most notably known for this project, but in recent years has focused on building a new modern pavilion. According to their website, the pavilion was built "combining cutting-edge design, technology, and innovation", (source).
The Stanley Hotel announced the Stan Jam Festival in 2017. The technology in their Pavilion opens up a new avenue for entertainment within the hospitality industry. With music festivals on the rise, hotels have the opportunity to both host these festivals and provide accommodations for the festival-goers. Many hotels are trying this new venture out, but at a slow rate due to high cost and focus on more important priorities. As for The Stanley Hotel, they have partnered with AEG and plan to continue holding concerts for local bands.
The Future for Hotel Technology
Here at Akia, we are excited about new developments in technology for hospitality. We have seen an increase of hotels deploying virtual tours of rooms, mobile door keys, and cloud-based Property Management Systems (PMS). However, we believe that the future for hotel technology lies in Artificial Intelligence (AI), namely in the form of guest assistance.
With an increasingly tech-savvy world, more and more guests expect text communication from hotels. When guests ask common questions, AI can automatically answer those questions without any staff interference. This allows the staff to work efficiently and handle more complex requests. In return, hotel guests get a personalized customer service experience, which leads to higher overall satisfaction.
At Akia, we take pride in the robust AI that powers our text messaging platform. Along with being able to automatically answer questions, Akia can generate work orders, translate messages for international guests, and check guests out within seconds to optimize room turnover.