As people all over the world become more and more occupied by social media and technology, hotels are now trying to keep up with the growing demands from their customers for access to free Wi-Fi, laptop rentals and in-room iPads.
While some hotels struggle to keep up with the latest technological developments, others are staying ahead of the game and are offering some of the most high-tech facilities to be found.
One hotel, The Peninsula Tokyo, has even give one step further by introducing digitally-interactive treasure hunts to keep its younger guests entertained during their stay.
Below are seven trends changing the face of the hospitality industry and a look at some of the hotels that are pioneering these changes.
1. Free Wi-Fi
In a recent Global Survey, free Wi-Fi ranked in the number one spot for “most important in-room amenity” and in the third spot, behind complimentary breakfast and restaurant, for the “Top 10 Most Important Hotel Property Amenities.”
More and more hotels around the world are finally realising that having free access to WiFi is also a top priority for most business travellers.
People no longer want the hassle of paying per hour, or asking for tiny slips of paper with WiFi access codes. Guests want unlimited access to a fast internet provider, a service which they now expect to be included in the price of their room.
Hotels chains that currently offer free WiFi to all their guests include the Mandarin Oriental, Courtyyard by Marriott, Four Seasons and Hilton Worldwide.
2. In-Room Touch Screens
Hotels are also using technology to increase levels of comfort in their guestrooms. Many rooms in top hotels are now equipped with easy-to-use touch sensitive keypads which allow guests to control room temperature, lighting, and even in-room music.
Hotel guests can now control everything from a single device, allowing individuals to personalize every aspect of their stay and control their own environment. Choosing a hotel is no longer just about basic amenities and a good location, guests are looking for a unique experience which they cannot have at home.
A great example of a hotel that offers such technology is the citizenM Hotel in Amsterdam. Each room in the hotel has its own ‘Mood Pad’ which allows guests to navigate the lighting, temperature, curtains and television to create the perfect ambiance for their stay.
3. Self Check In
Self check-in is both useful for hotel staff and guests. Many smaller hotel chains now have secure cubicles outside the main door of their hotel, to allow for easy access to the hotel late at night or early in the morning.
Guests type in their booking number, scan a form of identification and will be automatically issued with a room key and allowed into the hotel.
Other hotels have touch screens in their reception instead of a concierge, allowing guests to check themselves in at any time without help from hotel staff.
Yotel in New York is one of the first hotels to introduce Self-service kiosks for guests to check themselves in. The hotel also had an automated robot, known to the staff as amicable YOBOT, that helps guests with their luggage!
4. Instant Mobile Booking
In the past, hotel websites would simply contain information about the location of the hotel, local amenities and some basic contact details such an email address and phone number.
Hotels have now moved towards providing potential customers with a more positive booking experience, allowing them to check availability and book rooms on the site instantly, eliminating the stress of trying to call hotel reception staff during working hours.
Not only does the Hyatt Hotel chain offer mobile booking, but in an effort to get more people to book online, the hotel gives away bonus ‘Hyatt points’ for bookings made using their mobile app.
5. Meeting Room Apps
Improved access to technology is also promising to improve business business meetings and events help in hotel conference rooms.
Hotel chains such as Marriott have introduced mobile apps that can be used in their meeting rooms and allow event organizers to adjust their meeting room requests and room preferences from inside the hotel, without ever having to leave the meeting room.
Requests such as Coffee refills, additional refreshments and asking to change the room temperature can all be done with the touch of a button on the new Marriott Meeting Services App.
6. Laptop Rentals
Hotels have recently realised that to keep business travellers happy, there must be access to anything they might need during their stay.
Telephones, laptops and printers are all top of the list for many business execs, in addition to mobile phone docking stations and international chargers in bedrooms.
Some hotels are even going one step further, giving guests free access to Samsung Tablets (with free Netflix!) for the length of their stay.
Most large hotels now offer this service and many smaller boutique hotels will also have laptops available for guests travelling on business.
7. Smart Showers
When it comes to the presence of technology in hotels, it doesn’t stop in the bedroom! Some hotels have even installed ‘smart showers’ that can turn from clear to frosted at the touch of a button.
Others automatically control power and temperature depending on your previous preference while others have built in waterproof TV screens and sound systems to keep you entertained while in the bathroom!
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas recently installed smart showers in its guest rooms that spray guests with Vitamin C infused water to help them feel revitalized.
The Eccleston Square in London has also introduced technology to its guest bathrooms, installing shower walls that turn from clear to frosted at the touch of a button.
This post was contributed by Janet Newenham. Janet is the Community Manager at Meetingbooker.com, a site that helps you find meeting rooms in 1,000’s of hotels all over the world.