38 / BUILDING DIALOGUE / March 2022 ELEMENTS Hotel Tech Hotel Technologies: From Robots to Space Oxygenation W ith 17 hotels currently under con- struction in Denver, plus many more in the tourist-heavy moun- tain communities, developers are betting big on Colorado’s hospitality industry. Despite the gut-punch from COVID-19, hoteliers and developers are playing the long game, and funding an unprecedented number of new lodging options. The pressure to differentiate in the intensely competitive hospitality market, particularly inColo- rado’s lucrative and luxury-driven high country, will only increase. Service is key of course, but as developers, archi- tects and designers know, guests today are seeking a more personalized, seam- less and modern experience when they travel, so savvy developers are build- ing in unique forms and functions into their projects. One of those is guest-facing technology that can help hotels stand out from their com- petition, drive loyal- ty and improve the customer experience. n Augmented reality. The technology made fa- mous by Pokemon GO also lets hotels digitally aug- ment a guest’s physical environment and helps them explore during their visits – something an increasingly smartphone-focused clientele will embrace. The early iterations were about guest engagement, as was the case in what was perhaps the first hotel-specific AR implementation. For the 2012 London Olympics, the Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum featured AR visits by athletes such as British Windsurfer Nick Dempsey. While limited by the processing power of a decade ago, the technology’s potential to add zest to a guest’s stay was clear. Today, AR’s possibilities extend to the practical. Why not embed the ability for overseas guests to aim a smartphone (or smart eyewear) at signage, guides, and menus and have the text appear in the guest’s preferred language? If a property boasts notable features or works of art, AR can provide descriptions as part of a self-guided tour. In large hotels with many offerings, AR combined with wayfinding technology can steer guests to their destinations. For rooms with views, AR can layer the names and elevations over mountain peaks or the names and natures of nearby buildings and points of interest. In addition to engaging guests, creative managers can harness AR to generate de- mand, cross-sell and refer guests to pre- ferred partners. Note also that these more utilitarian implemen- tations involve low- cost, easy-to-update textual overlays rath- er than video or ani- mation. n Robots! Hotel ro- bots have been a cu- riosity for years now, the prime example being Japan’s Henn na Hotel chain. While the widespread appli- cability of animatron- ic dinosaurs doing check-ins remains a question (although maybe will become more popular in light of hospitality staff shortages), the prospects for robotics in the hotel industry remain bright. Brightness that can kill coronavirus and other pathogens appears to be lighting the way. As an example, the Yotel Boston’s Vi-YO-Let robot inte- grates an ultraviolet disinfection system to kill 99% of bacteria and viruses – including the coro- navirus – on surfaces and in the air. (Vi-YO-Let joins a chatty delivery robot called YO2D2.) Guests can order a robotic disinfection for an addition- al $30 per stay. The technology in question has historically found adherents in hospitals, but the pandemic has expanded the market to hotels, con- vention centers and airports. n Oxygenation. If this publication were based in Louisiana, oxygenation likely wouldn’t make this shortlist except for certain wellness retreats. But hotels in Colorado’s mountain communities are no strangers to guests for whom the combination Bill Sinclair President, Altitude Control Technology New technologies being implemented in Colorado hotels, like this one giving guests the ability to set their guest room to lower altitude for better sleep, are giving lodgers new opportunities to create loy- alty, differentiate their property and generate additional revenue.