hotel industryA positive hotel experience used to mean providing guests with a clean room, a comfortable bed, and soft bathroom towels. While travelers still expect these standards to be met, though, they need a whole lot more in order to feel comfortable and happy while visiting your facility: cutting edge technology. With today’s consumers growing increasingly reliant on technology for their everyday needs, it’s more important now than ever that you evaluate your hotel to make sure that you’re keeping up with the demand. 

So what do guests want -- and expect -- from hotels in 2016? This two-part series will explore the top hotel technology trends for the current year and beyond.

1. The Freedom to be Plugged In

The majority of today’s hotel guests are attached to their devices -- even when they’re traveling. These individuals are likely reliant upon more than one device for communication, work, and entertainment. Whether they have an Android smartphone, iPad, or laptop, it’s your job to make sure that you have the freedom to enjoy their devices from the comfort of their guest room. Each room, then, needs to be equipped with adequate, easy-to-reach plugs, ample bandwidth, and the right ergonomic support.

2. Mobile Loaners

Not all guests will be traveling with their own devices, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to enjoy this type of technology. Placing devices like tablets and e-readers inside individual guest rooms is the new “mint on the pillow” guest relations technique. These devices can be pre-loaded with books or magazines while also offering guests the opportunity to pay to upload custom services like games and other apps.

3. Service Automation

Some guests prefer to interact with your staff through technology over face-to-face or telephone interactions. Leading hotels are making it possible for guests to use mobile devices and kiosks to check into their hotel via self-service, or even from remote locations. Guests might also use smartphone apps or VoIP consoles to order services or check-out. 

4. Digital Signage and Tools

Printed signs are out, and digital technology is in. Interactive video displays or walls can show guests which types of services are available throughout your facility, or even allow them to make “shout outs” about your venue via a live Twitter or Facebook feed. Digital tools like elevator panels and thermostats are also becoming increasingly popular.  Concierges might use VoIP consoles to keep tabs on guests and create a more personalized experience. The possibilities are limitless, but the bottom line is that electronic is simply better!

5. High-Tech Meeting Spaces

For many hotels, business travelers comprise a large percentage of guest population. As a result, it’s absolutely crucial that you offer high-tech business and meeting spaces. Spaces should feature the latest audio and visual presentation equipment, high-quality VoIP phones that allow for conference calling, device outlets and ports, and even the ability to connect with hotel staff  -- for more coffee, temperature adjustments, etc. -- with the touch of a finger. High-tech features and applications like these can take your guest’s meetings to the next level, making your venue a more desirable location for conferences and business travel. In other words, more recommendations, more return business, and more cashflow! 

If your hotel is currently embracing these five trends, or is planning to do so in the immediate future, you’re on the right track. There’s still more work to be done, though. Be sure to drop by for the second part of this two-part series to familiarize yourself with five additional tech trends for 2016 and beyond. In the meantime, feel free to talk to the pros at PhoneSuite to learn more about how VoIP can bring your hotel up-to-speed.