According to a recent article in the NY Times, hotels are falling all over themselves to find ways to stand out in a crowd, and technology appears to be the big winner. It’s quite surprising, really, to think that it has taken as long as it has for hotels to see free WiFi and other digital perks as a way to attract and retain customers. Certainly, occupancy is a far more significant revenue stream than the one that comes from an irritating and not inconsequential connection fee that requires a guest to physically plug in and renew every 24 hours.
I don’t know about you, but I would certainly be more interested in staying at a hotel that offers me ways to be more productive while on the road—often free of charge. Below is a short list of what various chains are doing to satisfy their guests using the latest technology and marketing strategies:
- The Chancellor in SF collaborated with Amaratech to offer an app that guests can use before and during their stay: features include early check in, late check out, wake-up calls, restaurant search, dinner reservations, room and valet service
- The Plaza in NY installed Apple iPads that act as an in-room concierge
- The Ocean House in RI uses iPads as well, in addition to virtual fitness machines and classes
- The Preferred Hotel Group (650 strong) has high speed, wireless internet access in every room and common area with enough bandwidth to download music, videos and social media from any location within the hotel.
- In most of their 120 hotels, Sofitel provides iPads in its suites and Mac minis in every room and in all common areas
John Hach, SVP of TravelClick, says that business travelers are getting used to doing things on their own. As a result, they want technology wherever they are and whenever they need it. Rather than be left behind, hotels are happily jumping on the bandwagon to improve business travel.
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