What guests really want from hotel tech

By Steve Jarratt, Technology Writer

What do guests really want from hotel technology? - Brandstand

We’ve all been there: you walk excitedly into your new hotel room only to be met with a disappointing array of outmoded or obsolete technology. 

  • A non-smart TV with only local-language channels? Check. 
  • An antiquated alarm clock you can’t figure out how to set? Check.
  • A speaker dock that’s only compatible with iPhones from the last millennium? Check. 
  • Electrical sockets hidden behind furniture, frustratingly just out of reach? Check, check, checkity-check…

The truth is, even if a hotel room itself is well decorated and presented, outdated gadgetry can adversely affect the hotel guest experience. It’s an unfortunate fact that in-room technology is swiftly blunted by the passage of time, and hospitality operators can struggle to keep their rooms updated and relevant.

It’s a problem highlighted by a survey commissioned by hotel operations platform ALICE [1]. When asked about the ‘most frustrating experiences about hotel stays’, more than a third of respondents cited ‘outdated technology in rooms’. Indeed, old gadgetry ranked highly in guest complaints, just behind unfriendly hotel staff and long front desk waits. 

Netflix and… Whatever you want

One simple upgrade is the aforementioned television: most hotel rooms offer a TV set, but their actual feature set is often limited. These days, TVs are more than simple broadcast receivers, and guests have increasingly high expectations. 

As part of its biannual survey [2], Hotel Internet Services asked travelers what features they expected from a TV entertainment system, and the top responses were: to ‘wirelessly cast content’ from their own devices to the TV (67%); to ‘surf the Internet’ (66%); access ‘a library of latest Hollywood movies’ for rent (50%; and to use it for ordering room services or making reservations (50%. 

Turning on the set and just watching broadcast TV is, increasingly, a thing of the past. A connected smart TV really should be the low bar these days. As the survey highlighted: “guests’ increased reliance on their own devices, means hotels will need to find new ways to interact with third-party applications in order to provide a high-quality guest experience going forward.”

‘Why won’t it work with my phone!’

The ALICE survey revealed that almost half of respondents want in-room technology to integrate seamlessly with their own mobile devices, whether that’s providing the right selection of compatible ports and cables, or having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled systems for easy wireless connectivity. 

The Brandstand CubiePoint offers easy QI Wireless charging for hotel guests.

Add Qi Wireless charging to hotel rooms easily with the Brandstand CubiePoint.

The research also suggests that guests are more than happy to use hardware provided by the hotel, but more than half wanted to use their own device for dining/spa reservations and for checking-in/checking-out. It’s a clear signal that integrating guests’ smart devices into their stay should be a high priority. 

Making in-room charging easier

Of course, for guests’ mobile devices to play a wider role in the future, they need to stay charged. Adding extra plug sockets and charging points needn’t be a mammoth project either.

Brandstand’s range of Cubie devices offers both wired and wireless charging in a variety of form factors, including bedside alarm clocks, Bluetooth speakers and Qi Wireless charging pads. These standalone units can be easily and economically installed, solving multiple problems in one hit.

Going contactless to combat COVID

The move to contactless has only been accelerated by the COVID pandemic, and is now uppermost in guests’ minds. This is highlighted by a recent survey by Metova [3], in which 90% of respondents said they would prefer a hotel which had an app they could use to manage their stay without human interaction. 

Accordingly, the top three requests are: ‘mobile check-ins and alerts for on-site amenities’; ‘room access via a mobile app’; and an ‘online concierge service’. Interestingly, what guests don’t want, at least according to the ALICE survey, is robots. Over half of respondents (56%) said that they ‘did not want to interact with robots during their stay.’ So, while hotel guests might want greater automation, virtual reality tours and in-room gadgetry, they still want to talk to real people. At least for now.

Easy upgrades elevate the guest experience

Increasingly, hotel guests expect a high level of technology, but upgrades don't need to be complex or expensive. An easy route is to simply make it easier for guests to use their own devices as part of the hotel experience. It’s why we’re seeing hotels adopting mobile room keys, enabling guests to stream content from their smartphone to the room TV, and to contact room service via dedicated guest apps.

Ultimately, the question you should be asking isn’t ‘what technology do my guests want?’ It’s ‘what technology do my guests need?’

Keep your hotel guests happy with Brandstand’s UK/EU charging products.


Other posts you might like:

[1] https://www.aliceplatform.com/hubfs/ALICE-Hotels-Digital-Divide.pdf
[2] https://beyondtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020-Survey-Full-Report_web.pdf
[3] https://metova.com/infographic-survey-tech-supported-new-normal-hotels-covid-19/


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