Although we’ve been covering technology trends a lot lately, this recent poll, conducted by SmartBrief.com (sponsored by The Wall Street Journal), explores how guests’ demands are changing with the technological environment—not just what the tech industry is projecting. The results below are those we found the most relevant to the hospitality industry today.
- BYOD is Becoming BYOC (Bring Your Own Content): 99% of guests travel with at least one device. Of those, 45% travel with 2 devices and 40% travel with 3 or more. Guests carrying their own devices have implications for more than just bandwidth; guest devices are home to a lot of rich content, namely entertainment (movies, music, games, etc.). Syncing services like Shodogg and Roomlinx, which allow guests to attach their devices to the television, are expected to be successful services for 2014.
- Guests Prefer Automated Services: When offered, over 85% of guests use online service requests for room service to housekeeping. When polled, 91% of guests said they checked in or would check in using an automated kiosk. These services are no longer peripheral offerings, but expected services. These statistics indicate more universal adoption of automation across most guest services.
- The Lobby as the Social and Technology Epicenter: Communal tables, outlets, and charging stations are encouraging more than just transactional traffic in hotel lobby spaces. More and more guests are seeing lobbies as a way to get work done while enjoying the atmosphere and networking opportunities.
- More Investment in Guests and “Free” Wi-Fi: 87% of guests polled think that Wi-Fi should be a free amenity. As posted in our previous article, this movement toward Wi-Fi as a commodity has moved high-end hotels like Public Chicago and Viceroy New York to offer Internet access in exchange for email addresses. Most guests also agree that tiered bandwidth plans are more than fair.
- Remote Office and Meeting Spaces: As workplaces have transformed with technology, so have hotel meeting spaces. Programs like Workspace on Demand and Liquidspace, along with better meeting space design, have enabled more productive use of hotel meeting and convention spaces. With increasingly more available technology, expect this trend to continue with even more redesigns and technology at our fingertips.
- Service and Social Integration: Social technology continues to be woven into guest engagement and service. Social networks are quickly becoming a standard (if they haven’t already); it will no longer act as a separate arm of businesses. Read more in the Technology Forecast for 2014.
Many of these trends come from a wave of technology-driven guest empowerment (read more in our recent post, Hotel Guests Are Catalyzing Tech Changes). As more guests can be heard through online media and forums, hotels respond with these more guest-centric approaches and trends.
What technology are you using to better your guests’ experiences?