“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” (Steve Jobs)
Technology in the background
Original design and unique location are not the only factors influencing the customer’s decision about choosing a hotel. Although architects do their best to offer more and more sophisticated solutions, sometimes their effort alone is not enough. What creates success is the details, such as a mobile booking application, a smart TV set in each room or hotel interactive kiosks.
Attract and keep the customers
“Simple life” is one of the most up-to-date trends in interior design, characterized by functional solutions and minimalistic style. It is all about things that are durable and aesthetically pleasing. This creates a great background for the most sophisticated ideas on how to attract demanding customers.
But it’s not the colour of the walls or a comfortable bed that hotel guests are looking for today. The old saying ‘the devil is in the detail’ seems adequate here. Modern technologies, visible but not conspicuous, are what the customers of the hotel world pay attention to. And it is the modern technology that makes a visitor stay at the same place again to enjoy its sophisticated comfort.
Wi-Fi is a must but it’s no longer enough
The times when the wireless Internet connection was a token of a modern hotel and the concierge was at the disposal of the guests are gone. Today, new technologies in the hotel include such solutions as an iPhone instead of a room key, remotely controlled room equipment, touchscreens, a computerized reception desk or a digital newsstand.
A survey conducted by the HRS hotel reservation portal proves the appeal of such solutions. It turns out that 34% of visitors in Poland would prefer calling the room service with a smartphone rather than with different remote controls or switches. A 2015 report published by Software Advice shows that a combined 60 percent of respondents (random travellers within the USA) are “more likely” to choose a hotel that allows guests to check in and open doors with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn’t.
To meet the needs of the guests, hotels upgrade their technological standards. Solutions offered by some of them are quite revolutionary. For example, the Copenhagen Towers Hotel encouraged its guests to generate electricity for the hotel on exercise bikes. The guests were offered restaurant vouchers in exchange for a fifteen-minute training. Or, the Yotel Hotel in New York was equipped with an advanced robot that was putting its guests’ luggage into safe lockers.
The last year’s We Are Social report indicates that nearly 3.5 billion people in the world use the Internet and more than half of the world’s population uses mobile phones. The youngest generation (often referred to as digital natives) was brought up on new technologies and is constantly connected to the global network by their mobiles. This is a huge challenge for the service sector. One of the Croatian hotel chains Valamar has introduced a mobile app that simplifies hotel procedures like check-in, check-out, mobile payment or mobile key. The app also offers such functions as Recommend to a friend, or Tailor-made that automatically adjusts offers to guests’ preferences.
Meeting the needs of young adult customers requires many far-reaching changes in numerous industries. But the enthusiasm with which the above-mentioned social group reacts to all sorts of technological innovations is worth the effort. And any opinions on positive changes are more likely to spread, because social media are a perfect place to recommend a recently visited hotel that’s full of new, exciting technologies!