Technology has come a long way. It wasn’t all that long ago that hotels everywhere excitedly added the words “color TV in every room” to their billboards. Wow. Color TV. What was once considered billboard-worthy is now mundane.

As new innovations hit the marketplace at breakneck speeds, the hospitality industry now looks for other ways to appeal to an increasingly “been there, done that, got the t-shirt,” not-so-easy-to-impress clientele. And cutting-edge technology seems to be the answer.

Defined. Highly.

Twenty-first century television viewers are no longer satisfied with mere color. We can see that anytime we open our eyes, after all. No, we want our Modern Family to come in crystal clear, high-definition glory–even when we are miles away from home.

And the hospitality industry is taking notice. Durham, North Carolina’s Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center, for instance, has introduced high-def, flat-screen LG televisions to its rooms. According to “Sheraton Raises Customer Satisfaction with High-Def TV Offerings,” the televisions have a built-in Pro-Idiom chip, which removes the need for unsightly set-top boxes, adding that since providing guests with the same high-quality viewing experience they would enjoy in their homes, the hotel has improved its customer satisfaction rating by eight percent.

Yes, it seems that every generation enjoys top-notch television viewing. And this one covets clarity–even if it means noticing that your favourite leading man has more wrinkles than you realized.

Heat Detected.

While it may sound like something from a science fiction flick, the Hotel 1000 in Seattle has found a new way to determine if your room is, indeed, occupied. The Huffington Post‘s “Future Travel: Hot Technology will Change your Hotel Stay” reports that this Seattle Hotspot boasts rooms “with heat-detecting body sensors that indicate to housekeeping staff when a room is occupied…a 21st- century ‘do not disturb’ notice.”

This type of technology has the potential to transform other areas of the hotel industry too. Why pay to heat, cool, or light unused spaces for lengthy periods of time? According to “Occupancy Detectors Save Money, Environment,” the biggest drain on hotel utilities is unnecessary heating and air conditioning and that the installation of energy controls throughout a property could “shed utilities costs without compromising quality.” This money could, in turn, be put to good use in other areas that greatly enhance the guest experience. It’s a win/win.

Customized Z’s.

When we think of innovative technology, we automatically conjure up images of electronic gadgets. A new initiative by the Four Seasons, however, involves an innovative new bed that enables guests to customize their sleep experience.

The Four Seasons Bed is the result of a partnership between the hotel chain and Simmons. “Four Seasons Hospitality Revolution Continues: Introducing Industry’s First Fully Customizable Sleep Experience” explains that these beds include three mattress toppers that can be switched in mere minutes, offering a Signature, Signature Firm, or Signature Plush sleeping experience, and a Gel Touch Foam Center that absorbs extra heat in order to ensure maximum comfort.

Already available in several American locations, the Four Seasons Beds will be installed elsewhere as other locations are upgraded. And, if you long to have one in your master bedroom, they will also be available for purchase.

Yes, even the seemingly uncomplicated bed is undergoing substantial changes.

Robot Butler.

Who wants a monkey butler when you can have a robot? Yes, the Aloft Cupertino Hotel in Silicon Valley recently introduced its first robotic staff member, a butler named “Botlr.” CNBC’s “Aloft Hotels Recruits Robot to Join Team in Cupertino” adds that this endearing addition has “the work ethic of Wall-E, the humor of Rosie from The Jetsons” and is reminiscent of R2-D2. Yes, Botlr can be found delivering amenities to guests throughout the property donning his custom-fit butler uniform.

If upon your next hotel stay, you find your room stocked to perfection, you can will know exactly “who dunnit.” The Robotic Butler did it. In the Hotel Room. With the shampoo.

Perhaps, you have an awesome idea for an innovative product that could revolutionize your hotel–and others around the world. “How to Become a Successful Inventor” offers sage advice regarding the steps you should take to bring your idea to fruition, beginning with identifying a problem you’d like to solve and coming up with an invention that could fix it. The possibilities are endless.

Yes, this is an exciting time. Thanks to new innovations and advancements in current technology, hoteliers can provide guests with modern conveniences that surpass even their wildest dreams–dreams that can be dreamt on a customizable mattress in a perfectly heated room in front of an HDTV with a robot butler to cater to their every whim. Now that’s perfection.

Which of these technological innovations would you most enjoy? Why?

This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer and avid blogger who would love to have a robotic manservant. Or a roomba. Ignore the fact that her Tamagotchi died–repeatedly–from neglect. You can follow her tales of woe at The Embiggens Project or Searching for Barry Weiss.

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