By Steve Jarratt, Technology Writer
With the right choice of in-room tech, even a small change can make a big difference. Most hotels already provide guests with a television, refrigerator, access to the internet, and a personal safe, maybe even a hairdryer and a clock next to the bed. But beyond this standard equipment, there’s some budget-friendly hotel tech that can add extra value.
An aromatherapy diffuser, for example, can make a room feel fresher and more relaxing. The 5-star Langham Hotels  reportedly use green grass, rose, lily of the valley and jasmine essential oils to make the atmosphere of their hotels feel more inviting. It’s a tactic called ‘scentscaping’ and high-end/luxury hotels have been using the approach for years.
The tactic is also trickling down to budget hotels like Best Western and Holiday Inn Express. The latter’s scent is described as “a fresh citrus and herbal aroma with notes of white tea, citrus, ginger, woods and musk” , designed to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
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Other affordable hotel technology can be dedicated to convenience, such as installing hand sanitizer dispensers on the wall or switching to LED bulbs to save energy and reduce maintenance costs. Many hotels have already switched to LED. As Louisa Daxer-Robbins, Operations Manager at Novotel, told Energy Manager magazine , the eco-friendly lighting offers “an impressive energy saving of up to 75%, which fulfills our criteria for sustainability.”
Budget-friendly in-room tech
Just as important as providing a comfortable place to stay, hotels are increasingly turning to technology to improve in-room entertainment. According to Nielsen data, 25% of [US] adults added a new streaming service in 2020 , while the share of TV households with a pay-TV subscription dropped 1.8%. Consequently, interactive hotel TVs that can provide support for the likes of Netflix, YouTube and Disney+, can give guests the option to watch their favorite shows.
Hotels are increasingly realizing the importance of connected devices. Guests typically bring a range of gadgets with them when they travel and they expect to connect them to the internet. In fact, according to a USA Today survey, 65% of hotel guests use hotel Wi-Fi within seven minutes of arriving . The problem is that Wi-Fi speeds can be inconsistent, coverage can be patchy and unlimited access isn’t always free. So, investing in a fast internet connection delivered by reliable wireless routers can pay dividends in the long-term and keep guests happy.
With connectivity in mind, instead of providing a simple bedside clock, consider how the clock can do more and add extra value. The Brandstand CubieWink, for example, is an affordable and versatile solution that combines a single day alarm clock with twin USB ports for conveniently charging/powering a guest’s devices.
In-room charging stations
Charging is a key requirement for travelers. In a report by hotelwifi.com , data showed that “98.5% of guests travel with smartphones.” Yet hotels are often criticized for not providing enough power options to charge them. In most cases, power outlets are either lacking, already in use or not located where guests really need them (e.g. near the bed).
In an age where people use their phones to watch video on the move, listen to audio, play games and use all manner of apps (including hotel concierge, mobile key or loyalty apps), keeping a guest’s devices charged should be a top in-room priority.
The good news is that it’s easy to add extra power and charging options on a budget. Compact power products can often provide 2-3 extra outlets plus a cluster of USB charging slots and can easily be retro-fitted to desks or nightstands. Or, for a more high-tech solution, hotels can easily add tabletop Qi Wireless charging devices that support Samsung 10W (fast charge) and Apple 7.5W standards. Solutions like the Brandstand CubieVia and the Brandstand CubiePoint, for example, simply plug into a wall socket and sit on any flat surface, so installation couldn’t be easier.
These budget-friendly hotel tech solutions might seem fairly modest additions to a room, but they can make a measurable and lasting difference. When guests remember just how accommodating, sweet-smelling and well-equipped their hotel room was, maybe they’ll reward you with that vital extra star on TripAdvisor.
Brandstand designs and builds power and charging products for the hospitality industry, including alarm clocks, retrofit power outlets and wireless charging pads.
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