How the latest technology can help your hotel
Technology is progressing inexorably across every aspect of our lives – and the hotel world is no different.
But while many hotels are happy to be swept up in the tide of technological advances washing over society, there are still plenty out there that are reluctant to embrace its potential.
The number of hotels currently offering little more than an in-room television (and a dated, terrestrial one at that) and next to no other tech offering is incredible given the pace of change elsewhere.
At RoomNetTV, we aim to bring hotels to the forefront of modern life by providing cutting edge in-room infotainment and Wi-Fi solutions.
We’ve blogged before about how we’re looking to encourage hotels to provide a home away from home experience. As guests engage with the latest gadgets and devices at home, they’re increasingly looking for the same from hotels.
It’s easy to see why.
If you have all the mod cons at home but none of these at a hotel, then it’s going to diminish the hotel experience. In the past, hoteliers had it relatively easy – people watched terrestrial TV at home and were happy with a similar in-room setup. But things have moved on rapidly. Guests often want a hotel break to be a step up from their home. Technology can play a huge part in ensuring your hotel does indeed offer a step up.
So how, if you’re a hotelier, can technology help?
A solid Wi-Fi infrastructure that delivers high-speed internet is, at a basic level, where to start. Wi-Fi is now expected practically everywhere you go. If guests can’t access the internet properly via their smartphone, tablet, laptop or other mobile device then it’s a sure-fire way to tarnish their experience and get any potential review off to a bad start.
Bigger, better TVs that easily interface with mobile devices brought in-room by guests are the next step. They’re what many people are using at home, so hotels really should be offering similar capabilities. We work with AppleTV to provide our solutions and it’s an excellent, advanced platform from which to do this.
This further emphasises the importance of Wi-Fi, as it provides the link between mobile devices and a hotels’ in-room infrastructure (should it be in place), which means an unreliable connection is doubly frustrating for guests.
It’s not just in-room entertainment where the benefits can be felt. Technology can help in all sorts of areas, be that check in, smart keys – even robot butlers.
Citizen M for example – a pioneering hotel group when it comes to technology – has kiosk check-in, which enables guests to check themselves in, saving the need to queue, while even offering room choice and optional extras during the process, helping to personalise their experience.
Citizen M has also installed iPads in all its rooms (courtesy of us), which allow guests to close the blinds, adjust lighting, turn on in-room music, access hotel information and more, all from the iPad.
Smart room keys are also becoming increasingly prevalent. These allow users access simply by swiping smartphones across a keyless pad on the room door, with globally recognised brands such as Sheraton and Hilton already embracing them.
An even more advanced tech has seen the advent of robot butlers – where people are able to use their smartphones or other devices to place room service orders or request more towels by the pool and see them delivered by a robotic member of staff.
While the introduction of robot butlers may be a stretch for most hotels, creating a technological infrastructure certainly isn’t.
Guests are starting to expect it, so hoteliers can’t afford to ignore it if they don’t want to fall by their rivals’ wayside. The benefit of embracing it now is that it still affords you a differentiating factor; you’d be considered a trendsetter rather than simply playing catch up, as will be the case in a few years’ time. Technology allows you to stand out from your competitors.
Differentiation aside though, the main benefit is to guests themselves. By delivering a seamless, technologically integrated experience – augmented with home-away-from-home in-room entertainment – you’ll be ensuring guests both enjoy their stay and hold you in high regard. This in turn then, will provide an excellent reputational boost for your hotel, which is something all hoteliers can appreciate.