It seems businesses everywhere are jumping on the technology bandwagon. This is particularly the case since the advent of mobile devices. The numbers of technology savvy people is fast rising, with technology itself becoming progressively more mobile and entwined with our lives.
In order to gain a competitive edge, businesses in a variety of sectors are beefing up the presence of technology from the back office to the front line. This is not only to improve internal functions, and ultimately output, but is also for the eyes of the customer. To simply appear to be keeping up with the times is in some cases enough to generate a decent flow of business.
Hotels nearer the top end of the market tend to regularly upgrade the technology operating there. But some have gone a considerable way further in an attempt to lure the growing army of technology-reliant people, by installing 3D televisions and wireless printers.
Checking-in at hotels such as New York’s Andaz Wall Street and The Upper House in Hong Kong is a paperless process, without a visit to the typical reception desk. Instead clients are greeted by their host, who equipped with an iPad, acts as their personal concierge throughout their stay. The host can accept payment and produce a room key via the iPad.
The Las Vegas Aria at CityCenter provides clients with a key card that unlocks their room door when brought in close proximity to the sensor, using radio frequency identification (RFID). If it’s your first time in the room, I hope you’re not superstitious, because the system detects that you’re a new visitor and automatically lights the room, opens the curtains and turns on the TV for the client to set their preferences!
The focus of technology in hotels is now more about accommodating what the clients will be bringing with them; smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. JW Marriott Seoul offers the remote “Jack Pack” in guest rooms. The interface allows guests to control the functions of the 40 inch flatscreen TV, as well as play content on their MP3 players or laptops through the TV.
London’s Ecclestone Square Hotel features in-wall docking stations and charging points for mobile devices and laptops. They also provide the iPod2 in the room for the guests to mess around with as well as a library of 3D Blu-rays to watch on the 46 inch 3D TV accompanied with 3D glasses.
The larger hotel groups are tapping into the ever mounting app world, by developing apps for tourists to use, helping to locate the group’s nearest hotel and checking the rates.
Hotels have been notoriously slow at keeping pace with technology used by guests, and at last it seems there is a shift in the attitude of the hotels. But the larger hotels may not be entirely content with the changes, as social media is providing a large voice for small boutiques that would otherwise not have a chance to compete. All a happy guest has to do is post great feedback on their Facebook page, and their 500 friends will instantly know of the unknown boutique.