September the 7th, 2023 – The very first automated Croatian hotel is set to open in the year 2025, and it won’t be in Zagreb, nor will it be located on the coast. Osijek in Eastern Croatia will be its home.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, in many European cities, the trend of automated hotels has been present for some time now, where classic reception and usual hotel services give way to innovative technological solutions. The very first automated Croatian hotel will be called HOP IN, it will open in 2023, and it will be located in the City of Osijek. This innovative concept will not only provide a unique experience to guests, but will also emphasise sustainability and superior functionality.
Behind this ambitious project stands the company Cras d.o.o., specialised in building automation, with a special emphasis placed on the hotel industry. Osijek’s upcoming Hotel HOP IN will be the result of a combination of their synergistic knowledge, technology and experience that they have gained over the years.
An eight million euro price tag is attached to this huge project
According to Jožef Viszmeg, the director of Cras d.o.o., the Croatian automated hotel project has an estimated value of eight million euros attached to it, and its development phase began a year ago. The project is currently registered for EU projects and a decision on its co-financing is being awaited. The upcoming Croatian automated hotel will be located in the remodelled space of the former Panonija facility, next to the Avenue Mall shopping complex in Osijek.
HOP IN will boast 47 luxuriously decorated rooms and two spacious apartments, providing quality accommodation for slightly more than a hundred guests. This unique offer is aimed at business travellers, active tourists and passionate sports enthusiasts. More than classic accommodation is going to be offered here – it is designed for guests to experience a stay here at the absolute fullest. The new Croatian automated hotel will also include a conference hall and recreation rooms with a swimming pool and saunas.
For business travellers, the conference hall, which will be equipped with all of the latest technology, will provide guests with a practical space for holding business meetings and conferences. In addition, for active tourists and sport enthusiasts, the recreation area that includes a swimming pool and saunas will allow visitors to relax and renew after an active day or physically demanding training sessions.
What’s the difference between a classic hotel and an automated one?
To clarify the difference between an automated hotel and a classic one, Jožef Viszmeg explained that the development of an automated hotel like what Osijek’s HOP IN will be differs from the development of classic ones primarily due to the deep integration of technology. While the architectural guidelines are maintained, the main difference lies in the automation of operational processes and their mutual compliance. The key focus is on technological integration to achieve efficiency and comfort for guests with minimal human intervention. Reducing the need for staff, adapting the space and ensuring precise planning become key components of the development process.
Although the emphasis of this project is of course on automation, and direct contact with guests is minimised, staff also continue to play a key role. The adaptation of preparation, planning and service to the needs of guests remains essential. On top of all of that, the automated system eliminates waiting around at the reception. Check-in is already done during the reservation and arrival, and the system enables a smooth check-in and check-out, providing a very fast and efficient service.
Each room will be personalised according to guests’ desires
Krešimir Bajamić, the executive director of Cras, added that each room in the new Croatian automated hotel will be fully personalised according to the individual wishes of the guest, providing the opportunity for personalised offers and services through an advanced TV system located within the room. The system focuses on collecting information from the guest at the time of them making their booking to provide personalised content such as food, events, wellness and other interests.
HOP IN’s marketing team will monitor all events going on in Osijek and its surrounding areas on a daily basis in order to always be able to provide guests with the latest and relevant information adapted to their own personal interests. This allows guests to stay up to date with the latest goings on in the city and to take advantage of everything this often overlooked eastern Croatian destination has to offer. The idea is to attract business travellers who already use similar technological applications in their daily activities, thus creating a recognisable and more than alluring concept of an automated hotel.
There will be around twenty employees in the future hotel
It is important to emphasise that Osijek’s future HOP IN has a very deep-rooted vision to become the first Croatian automated hotel and to create an innovative model that connects local manufacturers of furniture and other elements important for the hotel environment. In particular, each vendor has the opportunity to arrange multiple spaces in a variety of styles, thereby exclusively presenting their creations using the hotel’s own rooms as their showrooms. Their products will have QR codes on them to enable quick access to information about manufacturers, further encouraging domestic production.
“With this revolutionary concept, we want to empower local producers and provide them with a platform to promote their products. It often happens that guests will fall in love with a piece of furniture, but they don’t know where it comes from or how to get it. Our approach is to create marked connections between the guests and the producers, providing them with complete information and establishing a proper connection,” Krešimir Bajamić pointed out.
Experiences with automated hotels around the world vary from excellent to less successful. Quality preparation and proven management solutions are key to the successful functioning of automated hotels. “Good preparation and proven management systems are essential in order to avoid possible problems as much as possible and reduce the need for interventions,” emphasised Viszmeg.
It’s fairly common for smaller hotels to have a minimum of one employee per room, with additional people for various facilities. Thanks to automation, HOP IN’s projection reduces that number to a maximum of twenty employees.
“Our expert team is proud of its significant and long-term experience in the design and implementation of various installations in the hotel sector. The hotel concept has been thoroughly designed to optimally use electricity for its needs, including heating, cooling and other amenities. This energy will be generated through a solar power plant installed on the hotel’s premises. In addition, for the sustainable use of water, the use of rainwater accumulation is planned for the needs of flushing sanitary facilities,” explained Jožef Viszmeg.
The first Croatian automated hotel presents various technical challenges
The integration of diverse information systems and technological solutions represents a specific challenge in such cases. This task includes the management of thermal technical installations, the supervision of the hotel rooms and other related facilities themselves, the proper control of energy production and consumption, and the efficient management of reservations and financial applications.
Hotel HOP IN isn’t only a technological breakthrough for Osijek, it also represents a step towards the future of the Croatian hotel industry. The automated concept is expected to attract the modern traveller and provide a new accommodation experience that is adapted to the demands of today’s rapidly evolving business world.