The Technologies Underpinning Smart Hotel Rooms

In 2027, ABI Research expects 6.4 million smart hotel room devices to ship worldwide. That’s double the 3.2 million smart hotel room devices that shipped in 2022, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24.6% between 2021 and 2027.

Between embedded connectivity and network management, smart room technologies provide hoteliers and hospitality managers with a host of new opportunities. While smart hotel room technologies have been a niche area for years now—with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Hilton being some of the earliest adopters—this market is expected to proliferate due to a need for brand differentiation.

From a Business-to-Business (B2B) perspective, the increased adoption of smart room technologies for hotels is spurred by fierce competition from other hospitality players, notably the Short-Term Rental (STR) market. Indeed, hoteliers must turn to smart capabilities and devices to bring the hotel customer experience to an entirely new level, while reducing operational expenses.

In this blog post, you’ll read about:

  • What smart hotel rooms are and how smart room technologies will transform the hospitality industry.
  • Several types of smart technologies that solution providers are focusing on to help align product portfolios with demand.
  • How smart room technologies reduce energy consumption and operating costs for hoteliers.
  • The reasons why consumers/travelers want to stay at hotels that offer smart technologies.
  • Market data forecasts for smart hotel room devices through 2027.

The chart below conceptualizes the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for smart hotels.


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What Are Smart Hotel Rooms?

Smart hotel rooms are rooms that deploy “intelligent” devices and systems, often via Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled technologies. A smart hotel room, similar to smart apartments, leverage smart home technologies like smart locks, smart thermostats, smart blinds, voice control front end, and smart speakers to provide a new level of connectivity. These technology deployments make for more interconnected hotel building management and attract customers or travelers who want more convenience and greater control over their hotel stay.

Smart Hotel Room Drivers for Hoteliers and Guests

The market opportunity for smart hotel room technologies is extensive. However, it really boils down to two key things: operating efficiencies and guest room amenities. Hospitality technology vendors should ensure their products align with these two factors.

Operating efficiencies refer to easier and more efficient commercial building functions like Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and lighting. These smart hotel room solutions enable hotel building managers to reduce their carbon footprint, save on energy costs, and improve staffing allocation.

Smart room technologies are also a great match for hotel guests in a changing economic and environmental context. Your B2B hotelier customers, as they aim to outdo other hotel chains, want smart room technologies that greatly enhance the customer experience. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 73% of travelers say they would be more likely to select a hotel that offers self-service technology. For example, a frictionless hotel stay can mitigate the concerns surrounding COVID-19 containment. Or environmentally-conscious consumers may favor hotels that practice sustainability with energy-efficient building management solutions.

Relatedly, our 2023 tech trends paper points out the role of energy management solutions in driving consumer smart home growth. 

Smart Room Use Cases for Hotels

When hoteliers make guest rooms “smarter”, they not only enhance the customer experience but they are provided with a new level of operational efficiency. These technologies can be used in a variety of smart hotel room use cases, including room occupancy, automated room temperature, lighting and room illumination, building maintenance, hotel staffing, and environmental regulation.

These use cases go into more detail below.

Hotel Room Occupancy

Smart occupancy sensors, including in-room motion sensing and smart lock guest tracking, enable hoteliers to track which rooms and areas are being used in real time. This room occupancy tracking ability is crucial for optimizing energy consumption from HVAC, lighting, and other building management systems. Or as a little different example, a hotel can send menu notifications to guests through speakers or smartphones, based on optimal times when guests are in their rooms or based on the timing of previous orders at other properties owned by the same hotel chain.

Hotel Room Temperature

As previously mentioned, hoteliers can preserve or reduce room temperature based on how many people are in the room. But climate control can also be automated based on humidity, air quality/refresh, and external temperatures/solar gain to deliver managed control of HVAC. Smart thermostats, temperature/humidity/air quality sensors, and smart blinds are all key technologies to make these smart hotel room applications possible.

Lighting and Room Illumination

Occupancy sensing automates light control according to whether guests are in the room or not. Furthermore, with this smart room technology, hotel managers can schedule specific times for lights to turn on or off, and they are notified when luminaries or lightbulbs need to be replaced.

Hotel Building Maintenance

Instead of waiting for a hotel guest to alert staff about damaged systems, appliances, and devices, hoteliers can track the functionality of these assets via an integrated smart system. When combined with smart staff scheduling, such systems alert hotel employees when lightbulbs, air filters, batteries, and other assets need to be replaced (or this can be based on a fixed schedule). These smart hotel room solutions are especially beneficial for detecting water leakage, as water damage restoration can cost more than US$5,000.

Hotel Staffing

A smart hotel system affords hoteliers greater efficiency and control over staffing operations. Consequently, this allows managers to accurately match staffing levels with guest demands. A notable example is being able to better predict and manage staffing needs because guests can check in with their mobile phones, as opposed to requiring front-end desk workers. This also reduces labor costs substantially and lets hotel employees focus on other job duties.

Environment Regulation

Not only do smart hotel room technologies reduce operating costs, but they also help hotel chains meet environmental regulations. Hotels must adhere to certain energy code requirements in the United States, notably California, and in other world markets. This necessitates the adoption of intelligent systems that reduce energy/power consumption at hotel/motel properties, such as automated, occupancy-based lighting. To meet these environmental regulations, some hotels have adopted the formal Environmental Management System (EMS) or the internationally recognized International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001EMS.

Now, the next section identifies the benefits of a smart hotel room for guests—and the technologies behind these solutions.

Smart Room Use Cases for Guests

For hotel guests, the main drivers for choosing hotels that use smart room technologies come down to convenience and a more personalized hotel stay. Some of the applications of smart hotel room technologies for guests include greater control, contactless stays, climate control, and an easier way of interacting with hotel services.

More Control

Greater availability of hotel services through connectivity deployed in several devices and systems.

Contactless/Frictionless Stays

Technologies like Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth, smart locks, and mobile apps allow hotel guests to self-check in. Most major hotel chains like Marriott, Hyatt, citizenM, Thompson, and Hilton have all opted for contactless check-in.

Climate Control

Based on occupancy, time of day, and other environmental factors, connected devices enable guests to automate and optimize climate management in the hotel room. These solutions ensure that hotel rooms are at a comfortable temperature level for guests.

Simplified Hotel Interaction

Smart room technologies, such as voice control in smart speakers or smart speakers, makes it easier for hotel guests to request room or other guest services (e.g., dinner booking, check-out, and concierge services).

Most Popular Smart Room Technologies for Hotels

Within the smart hotel room market, smart locks have been identified by ABI Research as the dominant device. Smart locks must come equipped with wireless connectivity technology and the ability to support soft key operation (e.g., mobile app), typically via Bluetooth, NFC, or Wi-Fi.

But with energy management coming to the forefront of enterprise priorities, smart lighting and smart thermostats will account for the greatest number of smart hotel room shipments by 2027 (2.8 million and 1.3 million shipments in 2027, respectively).

To learn more about smart hotel rooms—including the technologies behind them, solution providers, and other hospitality use cases—check out the Smart Home Devices for Hotel Rooms, Short-Term Rentals, and Coworking Spaces Research Highlight. To access this content, all you need to do is register for an account with us.

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