Over the past two years, every major hotel brand has embraced new technologies. They’ve upgraded their mobile apps. They’ve turned smartphones into room keys. They’ve even started speaking in emojis. The tech transformation shows no signs of slowing down, but which of these innovations really matter to business travelers, leisure guests and convention attendees when they check in for their stays?
A new survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association in partnership Best Western Hotels & Resorts reveals that all in-room innovations are not created equal, and the highest-ranked tech amenity happens to be one of the most basic: additional regular power and USB outlets. Thirty-five percent of respondents in the research indicated that they wanted more places to plug in throughout the room. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; as more guests arrive with smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices, old-school rooms with an outlet under the desks and another tucked behind a nightstand don’t fit into their digital lives. They aren’t just looking to plug in for work, though. The second most-requested tech innovation shows that guests aren’t looking to take a break from binge television consumption. Thirty-four percent want streaming services such as Netflix and HBO Go on their in-room TVs.
Here’s a look at the breakdown of the other items guests want to see in their rooms.
- In-room chargers for laptops and phones
- Keyless/mobile entry
- Smart TVs with Internet access
- Self check-in/check-out kiosks
- Smartphone docking stations
- Online or mobile check-in/check-out
- Guest profiles that deliver a more personalized experience
SEE ALSO: Why Marriott Is Making Netflix A Top Priority
The Hotel Experience Of The Future
What will hotel rooms and lobbies look like in 10 years? Will they all have the current requested amenities? It’s tough to make concrete predictions. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, there will undoubtedly be new innovations and new devices that will shape the direction of the hotel industry. However, the industry is already seeing some notable design changes. For example, when I stayed at the recently renovated Calgary Marriott Downtown on a visit to Alberta last year, the property’s team told me that the new room design eliminated a traditional component: desks.
Other properties are following the same path. In a recent interview with USA TODAY, Alexandra Jaritz, global head of Hilton’s new Tru brand, echoed a similar philosophy. “Our target guest doesn’t want to sit in the guest room and work,” Jaritz said, explaining the lack of desks in Tru’s rooms. “They are working on beds many times, and our research has shown they would prefer to work in a vibrant social space when they need to spread out.”
However, ditching desks pales in comparison to some of the game-changing pilot programs at select properties. How about the robot butler at some Aloft hotels? Or fingerprint scan room entry at the Alma Barcelona? These are just the beginning of the next era of hotels. As companies continue to explore new applications for virtual reality and robotics, these fields will impact every element of the guest experience. From checking in to buying a cocktail at the downstairs bar to tucking in for the night, it’s clear that the hotel revolution will be technologized.
Technology isn’t just changing the way individual guests feel at hotels. It’s also impacting the way groups come together. Click here to learn how properties are powering better meetings with virtual technologies.