Which In-Room Technologies Are Hotel Guest Magnets?
Modern in-room technologies make your guests feel at home.
Outfitting your guests’ rooms with tech they are likely already familiar with is a great way to provide additional customization, comfort and convenience.
It’s also a great way to increase profitability!
Hotel stakeholders are seeing how new technology saves money by:
- Cutting electricity and other costs
- Increasing efficiency
- Promoting rewards programs and other incentives that keep guests coming back
- Making add-on purchases (such as ordering room service) easy and convenient
We’ll take a look at the technology guests are loving at each step of the guest experience, from check-in to check-out.
Finally, we’ll conclude with some small but mighty extras that will show your hotel guests you’re willing to go the extra mile to keep them happy, comfortable and safe.
The front desk is understaffed, and there’s a long line of guests waiting — all of them jetlagged or road weary. You’re doing your best to work quickly and efficiently, but the person you’re currently helping has a lot of questions and even more requests.
This is the experience you don’t want your guests to have. Luckily, implementing technology can help streamline the check-in experience.
Stand-alone kiosks can relieve much of the burden on front desk staff. They are commonplace in airports, so your guests are likely already familiar with them.
Besides just checking people in, many provide additional options, such as upgrading guest rooms.
They can provide an overview of hotel services and take on the role of a concierge by sharing information on popular sightseeing, dining and fun excursions.
Some kiosks gather data, so you can track what your guests are looking for, and if possible, think about incorporating or embellishing upon whatever they’re seeking. These insights allow you to go even further in creating a positive guest experience.
From increasing efficiency to better accommodating guest requests, incorporating check-in kiosks can go a long way toward achieving greater guest satisfaction.
Using an app is another way to relieve your front desk staff during busy check-in times. Guests can download it onto their mobile devices and use it to check-in.
Some hotel chains have already incorporated this technology. Guests check-in a few hours before their hotel stay, and upon arrival, simply pick up their key card at the mobile check-in desk.
Comfort is paramount in the hotel industry. It extends far beyond just providing a bed to sleep in.
Besides the basics of fresh, crisp sheets and a spotless space, there are other advancements in hotel technology that add an element of luxury to the rooms and help you exceed guest expectations.
When guests first enter a room, the first thing many of them do is look around to see what’s available to them. Upon discovering all the little touches hotel owners have included, they’re likely to feel thought of and looked after.
Let’s take a look at some of those touches you could provide.
Smart thermostats are popping up in more and more homes. It makes sense, as they are a convenient way to remotely control the temperature of the room.
With smart thermostats, hotel operators are able to change room temperatures without even setting foot in the room.
If the rooms are empty, there’s no need to have the air conditioner running. If you have someone checking in soon, you can set the thermostat to a comfortable setting an hour or so before they arrive.
Take it a step further by incorporating new technology that allows guests to use their personal devices to control the temperature in their rooms. Guests are also able to use this system to adjust the blinds and customize their in-room entertainment.
These new systems are a win-win for sustainability, efficiency and guest satisfaction. They bring the hotel experience into the modern era.
Who wants to pick up the phone and make a call anymore? It almost seems archaic in this day and age to have your guests call the front desk when they could just text instead.
Most people prefer text over an actual conversation, and it’s much quicker and more convenient for both parties than a phone call.
Text messaging can be used to order room service or request more towels or a late check-out. And if they opt-in, you can text your guests discounted rates and other marketing-related perks as an incentive to stay with you again.
You can still leave a phone in the room for less tech-savvy guests, but it probably won’t get much use.
In-Room Tablet Tech
Remember when all of the amenities hotels had to offer were printed on paper, slid into sheet protectors and clipped into a 3-ring binder?
Things are a little different now.
In-room tablets are excellent for showcasing all your guest services in a clean manner that’s pleasing to the eye.
Your guests will have real-time connectivity to everything you offer at their fingertips. They can use it to make a reservation at your restaurant — you can tempt them with mouthwatering photos of the specialties on the menu or a fancy cocktail.
If you offer spa services, they can schedule a massage.
You get to showcase everything that makes your place special and categorize it according to age and activity for easy navigation and reservations at guests’ fingertips.
An all-too-common scenario: Your guest arrived for a business trip and realized their phone’s battery was critically low. After digging through their bag, their mind flashes back home to where they left it — on their kitchen counter back home.
It’s easy to save the day and earn your guest’s gratitude. Simply provide a universal charger in your rooms (also known as an octopus cable because it has multiple arms to accommodate various plug styles).
This solution helps skip the potentially awkward interactions that can ensue when housekeeping arrives and a guest is still occupying the room — especially if they forgot to display the do not disturb hanger.
Occupancy sensors can accurately determine if your guest is presently in the room, so your staff can enter with confidence without worrying about disturbing a guest’s privacy.
Whether they’re staying with you while on business or vacation, your guests will require some entertainment as they settle in and relax. But how can you accommodate every guest’s unique preferences?
Make every guest happy with interactive protocol TV.
Through IPTV, guests can cast their own content by accessing their Netflix accounts or YouTube, or they can watch cable networks. Whatever they choose, it’s there.
You can also create fun video clips highlighting all the amenities you offer and some local attractions as well for them to watch if they’re curious.
Add a refined touch to your guest rooms with mirror TVs. When not turned on, these devices look exactly like mirrors. Press the power button, and voila — you’re watching television.
Alexa for Hospitality
The Alexa smart home devices have become so common in households that even those who don’t live with one still know how to use it.
Alexa for Hospitality is more nuanced; adopters of this technology are able to program-specific information about their property, so when guests ask, Alexa is there to answer.
It also works if they have a request. For instance, they can ask for a toothbrush, room service or late check-out.
Whatever their needs may be, Alexa for Hospitality will transmit the message to the front desk or appropriate staff members to fulfill the request.
While extremely convenient, it’s important to keep in mind that some guests may have privacy concerns about this technology. Allowing guests to opt in or out is an easy way to accommodate their preferences and keep everyone feeling comfortable.
At once convenient and whimsical, incorporating robots to handle some basic tasks in your hotel is a great way to delight your guests.
In some places, robots are used to deliver room service. For instance, Dash, a three-foot-tall robotic contraption, brings food, towels and other requested items to guests with methodical precision.
Dash is programmed to navigate the elevator and find its way around the building, and the recipients are able to communicate via an attached touch screen.
Some hotels position stationary robots in different locations throughout the property. These robots provide guests with directions to the elevator and answer other basic questions about the facility and area.
This is a technology that will continue to evolve. Currently, the novelty of the experience is likely more valuable than the actual service provided, but it’s still a fun and futuristic touch.
The same solutions that guests use to check in and manage needs during their stay can be used to check out.
Small but Thoughtful Extras
Most of these extras are basic, relatively inexpensive items — but keeping them on hand can make a major difference in a guest’s experience.
Being prepared to help guests out with anything they might need is a further example of your excellent customer service.
Spare Laptop Cables
When you’re running late to catch a flight, it’s easy to forget to unplug the charging cable for your Mac and toss it in your bag.
In addition to providing cell phone chargers, having a spare laptop charging cable could prove lifesaving to those who rushed out without packing their own.
Portable Power Banks
Is your hotel near a national park or another famous landmark that invites outdoor exploration? Are you situated in a city with lots of walkable attractions?
Providing portable power banks makes it easy for guests to spend the day out and about without worrying about running out of juice.
If your guests are out taking pictures, looking up directions and researching destinations, they’ll burn through their phone’s battery fast. Providing the option of a power bank to bring along is a great value add that will help them enjoy their day to the fullest.
Plus, there’s nothing worse than getting lost in an unfamiliar place without having your phone to help direct you back. Portable charging devices are inexpensive to keep stocked but can come in seriously handy for your guests.
Although most people are quite tech-savvy these days, there are plenty of exceptions. Whether it’s generational or a matter of preference, you can’t expect all of your guests to have the same degree of familiarity with your devices.
It is frustrating when things don’t work or do what they’re supposed to. Be prepared to help out guests by training employees on how to assist, and provide a backup troubleshooting manual.
Make sure to include phone numbers of the manufacturing companies so staff can call tech support if necessary to get a device working.
We’ve offered a bunch of ideas here for how to amp up the tech in your property. Not every solution will make sense for every property, so think about what will work for you and your guests.
It’s worth bearing in mind that people are adopting these new technologies into their homes and using them daily. Many are now used to the ease and convenience these inventions have in their lives. If you’re trying to provide a true home-away-from-home experience, it just makes sense to incorporate some of these innovations into your hotel.
The rise of smart devices and Internet of Things (IoT) technology is constantly bringing new, efficient ways of doing things into our lives.
Yet, there’s still something to be said about a personal touch; being attentive and present for your guests. The impact of human-to-human interaction is something technology can’t (yet) fully emulate.
But integrating useful tech into the guest experience is a great way to demonstrate that you’ve anticipated your guests’ needs and found creative solutions to meet them.
Anticipating travelers’ needs and streamlining problems is what Hotel Engine is all about, too. We connect business travelers with the hotels that want their business, while offering a ton of useful tech-driven solutions along the way to make booking, managing and reconciling travel smoother and easier.
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.