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The now-upon-us landscape of the Internet of Things (IoT) for hospitality offers both opportunities and challenges. As we highlighted in a recent blog post, hoteliers need to fully address the security and data privacy concerns when exploring IoT.

Conversely, there’s a world of opportunities for enhancing the guest experience with connected innovations in hotel rooms, and beyond. According to a recent Trivago report, which highlighted the top hospitality predictions for 2020, IoT rises to the top as the most significant trend for hoteliers.

Specifically, the report showcases how hotel IT leaders are developing new ways to enhance mobile guest engagement – not only for room selection and payment but also as access keys for amenities such as pools and spas.

IoT also offers a way for hotels to integrate all of their mobile apps together to better leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance overall guest satisfaction. This can be achieved by using guest data to provide targeted and personalized offers and recommendations through chat bots and other communications channels.

The Trivago report also highlighted how we will see the rise of an engaged customer base that craves unique local experiences. Today’s guests wants experiences over commodities and amenities. According to Skift, 67 percent of high-income travelers would rather spend their money on activities than a nicer hotel room.

In addition, according to PwC, IoT can be a driver for enhancing hotel employee productivity. For example, dashboard reporting and analytics can be used in real-time to not only make employees more productive, but also to empower them to spend more of the workday creating connections with their guests.

With 77 percent of hotel executives reporting that they have active IoT projects today, the fully connected hospitality area is fully upon us. As always, there are both significant concerns and opportunities. They key is developing sound strategies that both address the security issues, while also propelling the guest experience to the next level.