This is a guest post by Hannah Connor
When you last checked into a hotel did your mouth open wide with shock at the length of time it took, or the paperwork required or the time wasted in finding your booking? Breathe a sigh of relief, then as hotels around the globe go hi-tech in an effort to resolve these issues.
As hotels upgrade their technology, what will this mean for the overall hotel and leisure industry? Will it improve the check-in procedure time and room occupancy in these tough economic times or will the competition grow so fast that it will become too competitive to survive in? Today I’m taking you into hi-tech hotels to see exactly what is going on and why hi-tech is needed.
Value To The Customer
Installing new technology is an investment and a risk. Hotels need to be sure that they are adding value to the customer or improving the smooth flow of their stay through enhanced operations, taking the complexity out of the hotels functions and building better working relationships between the different departments within a hotel.
Making sure that housekeeping and reception are in harmony and know exactly which guests are checking in and the special requirements of guests is one thing but making a stay feel futuristic is the way forward. The latest in technology-heavy hotels is The Hotel Alma in Barcelona with their door opening at the touch of a finger. This new feature enables the visitor to live the keyless experience, and gone are the problems with swipe cards not functioning or getting demagnetised. Hotel Alma, with it’s fingerprint recognition system, allows you to arrive and then scan your fingerprint for door to door access.
This is just one hotel leading the way of technology revolution, so what are the others doing you may be thinking? Are they learning from the likes of Hotel Alma or failing in upgrades?
The Magdalen Chapter, Exeter is a paper free zone. We’ve all heard about the paperless office, and marvel that the idea still hasn’t really come into fruition. In a former eye hospital in Exeter, the hi-tech Magdalen Chapter gives guests an iPad to check in on and use throughout their stay; to order room service, play music and video and view the restaurant’s wine list.
Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, Balaerics has taken the extraordinary step of allowing customers to pay for their stay with a fingerprint. When they check in, customer’s credit card details are taken along with a scan of their fingerprint. That way, when it comes to paying for a drink at the bar or checking out, they simply place their finger on the scanner and job done! Furthermore, guests can use their fingerprints to log into Facebook at dedicated ‘Totems’ around the hotel. This quick pay system actively encourages transactions by making them fun and speedy!
Marlin Hotel Miami Beach, Florida offers customer the ultimate in luxury in-room technology. Aimed specifically at the younger tech-savvy customer, it has two recording studios, a personal 60 inch TV concealed behind a mirror in each room and an iPad that is customised with your favourite music and films. The hotel provides excellent wifi service and there is a Tannoy surround sound system and subwoofer in each room. It’s all about entertainment here.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Georgia is harnessing technology that improves the hotel’s organisation. It employs a Hotel Service Optimisation System (HotSOS) which tracks guests’ requirements and helps to resolve issues within the hotel. A bonus for business guests is the SwankDraw app which allows them to plan an event or meeting and use technology to visualise the event and send out pictures of it. You can also check in to your flight and print your boarding pass in reception.
There are various technologies being employed already by hotels globally that are aiming to achieve this simplification of processes. Some hotels have infrared sensors to tell housekeeping that you are still in your room and not to enter for cleaning, for instance. There are lifts that play music according to the number of people in it – playing “Are you Lonesome Tonight” by Elvis if you’re travelling solo, or “Just the Two of Us” when a pair ride the elevator.
These hotels have installed high-tech gadgets and add-ons in an attempt to stand out from their competitors. Often it’s the additions to a guest’s stay that can enhance their enjoyment and prompt a recommendation to a friend. Hotel discounts and promotions are great offerings for visitors, and hotels using high technology will only see results if their offering really provides customers with more value for money or makes their stay more comfortable and easy.
Have you ever been in a hotel that used technology to make your stay easier, more comfortable, or gave added value? Or have you been in a hotel that tried to do so and actually ended up with the technology being a hindrance rather than a help? Why not share in the comments and tell us your hi-tech hotel stories?
Author: Hannah is a fan of technology innovation in hotels and loves how hotels are embracing technology to improve the customer experience and believes this should be continued. Hannah has stayed in many hotels herself and works as a freelance writer within the Vouchercloud.com hotel team.