How Augmented Reality is Redefining 21st-Century Hotels

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August 29, 2016

AR has captured the public’s interest and imagination ever since innovations like Google’s Project Glass have been released.  While this game-changing technology may have a profound impact on how all businesses engage with their customers, the potential in the hospitality industry is limitless. By embedding “auras” on locations and physical objects, hotels can add more “life” to their properties and create powerful, and memorable customer experiences.  Here we will take a look at just a few of ways AR is, or is about to, change the face of hospitality.

augmented reality is where the real future of the hospitality business lies

Improved Pamphlets and Brochures

The luxury property of The Mansion at Casa Madrona is now using an AR brochure that demonstrates their amenities and accommodations to prospective guests. Like any other hotel, they’ve started with the conventional print media but struggled to relay the exact beauty of their property. AR has helped them solve that problem in a unique way.

With the help of the technology, any hotel can display their amazing amenities in the pages of a brochure or pamphlet. When scanned, the hotel will be brought to life and it will show guests a virtual layout of the place. Since the new generation of consumers is only too keen in adapting to any innovations, these brochures are more likely to sell.

Enhanced Booking System

With the use of AR, hotels can come to life and users are able to get an impression of the place they’re planning to book. Depending on the amount of detail embedded in the AR system that they deploy, people who book online can now feel like they’ve personally visited the hotel, explored every room, and even saw all furniture within them. In other words, AR provides a virtual tour around the whole property, including its amenities like the pools, spas, restaurants, and gyms.

This highly effective marketing service will give a tremendous persuasive power over potential customers. After all, seeing the hotel in this interactive manner will only help increase their confidence on the hotel’s services. It will also build satisfaction within customers if they know what their stay will look like.

Then, from the convenience of their own computer or smartphone, people can book the room they want with a process that is fast and easy.

Guest Recognition

Google Glass, an optical display that shows information in a smartphone format and makes AR possible, can work wonders with hotel management. For example, this technological device can detect which of the coming guests have stayed at the hotel before and which ones are new. Along with that information, the user can also identify the guest’s arrival, departure, and dining reservations. If worn by the restaurant staff, it can tell the servers whether the guests have allergies to a specific food or not. It can also match the guests' faces to their orders so that no mistakes can be made.

Other advantages of AR in serving guests include being able to tell the purpose of their stay: Is it their birthday? Are they celebrating their honeymoon? Are they taking a vacation? Knowing information such as these can help hotel staff give a better service. Lastly, AR can display the latest headlines regarding a particular person so when you have a VIP guest, you’ll know what to talk about and what’s best to avoid.

Staff Communication

Professionals in the field of hospitality have mastered the usage of hand signals, nods, and other signs in place of voicing out every command. These signs are made so as not to disrupt conversations between guests. However, while working silently works best in a hotel environment, it does not guarantee 100% accuracy of the information that’s being passed on.

With AR, receptionists can be alerted when any guest is approaching the front desk, housekeeping is informed of the time the guests have left so they can clean the room, and concierges are given reports on the guests’ interests so they can arrange the best tours. Information is relayed faster and more accurately so communication between each staff and department can flow smoothly.

Concierge’s Extension

Among the many AR applications available on smartphones, those with tourism-related functionality are the most popular. AR browsers like Yelp, for example, allow visitors to identify the most important and interesting points of the place through an interactive display of virtual information. There are also Augmented Virtual reconstruction apps like Layar that gives any tourist a realistic 3D model of the Berlin Wall and other destroyed landmarks. Then, there’s the Urban Augmented Reality (UAR) launched by the Netherlands Architecture Institute that enables tourists to experience an environment for what it was and what it will be.

If hotels make use of the said apps’ features, it could encourage guests to rely on their native app as a tour guide instead of completely depending on the concierge. The app will also provide opportunities for hotels to advertise their services. Lastly, the hotel can use the data gathered during the guests’ interaction with the app and use it in its latest campaign.

Dissemination of Information

Since AR is now fairly popular among smartphone users, hotels can now let guests sign in to an app and give them a personalized direction to their room. When in the hotel, guests can open the hotel’s app and point their smartphone in any direction so they can get the information they need.

Useful features of an AR app related to disseminating information include highlighting maintenance issues, recording videos of staff interaction, listing the names of the hotel crew, providing updates on when the room was last cleaned, and giving a map that directs them towards the different amenity sites of the hotel.


Dimitrios Buhalis, director of the e-tourism Lab at Bournemouth University in England, has declared that augmented reality is where the real future of the hospitality business lies. While its influence is not yet widely visible in many hotels around the world, AR is about to ‘augment’ the hospitality industry in a huge way. So hold on, the best is yet to come.