As technology becomes more and more pervasive in all parts of society; playing an integral part in how we work rest and play, Hotels wanting to keep ahead of the curve have become keen adopters of the latest hi-tech technology.
In New York, a stay at the Yotel will afford guests the privilege of having their luggage stored by Yobot the Robot, while later they can dine at hi-tech tables that raise or lower in height at the flick of switch. Go to the 100 in Seattle and the lobby stationed Microsoft Surface table can treat you to a spot of virtual chess, or help you explore the local vicinity with its virtual concierge. If you fancy something a bit more active then head to the ‘Holodecklike’ room for Virtual Golf - complete with infrared tracking for real-time ball flight, interactive practice situations and a choice of up to 50 different courses. Even Exeter is in on the act, with The Magdalen Chapter hotel billing itself as the world’s first paperless hotel. Everything you need controlled by your own, guest IPad.
Of course not all hotels wish to cultivate a futuristic image, but even for the most traditional, the importance of technology can no longer be ignored. A 2012 Hotel Amenities survey reported that good Wi-Fi was the most important feature of a hotel for 34% of travellers, going up to 56% for business users. It’s not just about catering for your guests needs, intelligent Wi-Fi platform’s such as Meraki, coupled with multimedia channel app’s like those delivered by Usable Net, allow hotels to get closer to their clients; delivering a more personalised service, opening up new and improved channels for direct marketing and ultimately equipping them with ‘big data’ for improved business decision making processes. For any hotel still sparing on Wi-Fi (as discussed ISPReview, here) then the above gives just a snapshot for how one can find ways to monetise the service while still providing it for ‘free’.
The integration of IP based services into hotels is something that the industry has seen more of over the last few years. In particular, IPTV and TV on Demand have become more prevalent and have furthermore been adapted to allow for the console to be used as a central, interactive service hub capable of entertaining a number of hosted services. Sanguine Hospitality Development Director, Graham Phillips, sees the next step as being able to link any external device; laptop, mobile or tablet to use on the television screen wirelessly.
The Global Hotel chain Amadeus, recently released a series of reports of what hotels will look like in 2020. Their findings, based largely on customer responses around their wishes and expectations, highlighted the importance of innovation, with people expecting more responsive, personalised services in the near future. Intelligent furniture and air conditioning systems, smart TV’s and intuitive entertainment systems – the future of hotels lies in the development of intelligent, inter –connected devices, or in other words the ‘Internet of Things’.
Just like with the idea of the ‘Smart City’ or ‘Smart Home’ one of the stumbling blocks when looking at M2M communication and it’s services is that the building needs to be ‘plumbed’ - with sensors, cloud servers, Internet and Wi-Fi infrastructures, and then the ‘Things’ – from TV’s and fridges to elevators and doors need upgrading or ripping out and replacing altogether. Any companies who play a part in developing and designing hotels from scratch, such as Sanguine Hospitality, have a unique opportunity to build hotels equipped with these technological foundations and deliver exciting new next generation hospitality services to the public.