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With the level of technology in hotels on the rise, many in the hospitality industry are competing to have the newest and the most in terms of guest technology. Combining the technology available today, guests can check in with their phone, have the power turn on in their room when they walk in the door (and turn back off when they leave), tether their phone to the TV in their rooms, watch a movie via blue-ray/movies on demand/internet/cell phone, control air and water temperature via complicated systems, and check out by sending a text. But what do guests actually want?
When it comes to staying away from home, guests’ needs are still basic. They want cleanliness. They want comfort. Most guests aren’t spending the majority of their stay in their hotel room. Would it benefit hotel managers to think more about where to put their technology dollars?
Guest technology is a fast-growing market and is changing guest experience in a permanent way. Since basic in-room needs aren’t going to change much beyond connectivity, managers would do well to pay attention. Being one step ahead of your competitor is crucial in today’s market, but sometimes industry leaders are led astray and forgo basics in search of innovation.
The key is to embrace innovation in a way that enhances the key provisions, rather than taking away from them. For hoteliers, this should involve using technology in a way that gives employees more efficiency, freeing up their time to focus on what really matters in this industry – the guest. Many hotels have found that moving to cloud based computing and taking the hardware off the property has provided a way to increase efficiency and productivity. Adopting technology that spotlights arrival experience empowers managers to focus on making the rest of the stay more comfortable.
Digital touch screen technology adds a visual pop in a hotel lobby, meets the expectations of travelers, and keeps guests interested and informed. New generations of this sort of signage are all-in-one resources for hotel properties. The latest systems give guests the power to search for local recommendations based on concierge input, access specialized maps and directions including property way-finding, check-in to flights and print boarding passes, send digital postcards to their friends via their social network accounts, and even tap into a hotel brand’s rewards system, just to name a few.
Hotel technologies such as this are evolving fast and offer tremendous value and potential for hotels to notify guests of any number of initiatives and brand features. And all of these things contribute effectiveness, attractiveness, and time saving without taking away from the comfort and ease of the guest room. Guests are saying that that don’t want to read a manual to figure out how to turn off the bathroom light; but they do want friendly service, access to useful, relevant information when they need it, and when it comes to technology – they want intuitiveness, efficiency, and reliability.
Updated Jan. 2013