Hospitality technology solutions are continuously revolutionizing the way hotel guests perceive a brand and engage with it. Technology is completely changing the way travellers books holidays, personalize their hoteling experience, and the amenities they demand during their stay.
Technology is imperative to deliver memorable experiences at hotels, for instance, a Smart HD TV is not a premium guest privilege anymore but a necessity especially for millennial travellers. Academic research and technology trends in California both indicate that technology does directly influences the guest experience.
“People want more control and we must give it to them,” …“It goes beyond making sure the rooms are clean; guests want to see more investment in technology.”
Sundar Swaminathan, Senior Director of Marketing – Oracle Hospitality.
The sheer power of wireless IoT connectivity, smart devices & wearables, and leading software tools is continually raising the guest expectations benchmark for hotels. In their brilliant research report, Oracle Hospitality conclude that 64% of their 3000 surveyed respondents established that hotels must invest in hospitality technology solutions that enhance the guest experience.
Technology Trends in California
Over the last 10 years, California has experienced a massive upheaval of its hospitality sector. Opening their doors for the world and becoming the sports capital of the US have only made the Golden State a popular global destination.
The diversity of travellers from around the world demands hotels are ready for even more variety in their offerings. As we will discuss ahead, integrating too much technology is not a great idea.
There must be a lucrative mix that hotel CIOs or alternatively hospitality technology providers must determine in accordance with popular guest demands. Now that we mention them, hotel technology providers are a great source for insights about technology applications. These specialist technology managers & consultants are equipped with the latest trends, knowledge, and skill to deliver highly functional technology hotels.
Hotel new builds and renovations both require a high level of management and oversight to ensure the efficiency of technology. Managing procurement, suppliers, vendors, field testing, deployment, and compliance all require that a professional hospitality technology manager handles the micro-tasks that will eventually matter.
California being a busy destination requires foremost, technologies that make the onboarding process easier. Self-check-in kiosks, robots and mobile app check-in remain some of the most popular techs that guest demand in California hotels.
Another popular technology that is quickly becoming common in California hotels in the mobile room key. There is a tendency to lose keycards and metal keys, a simple mobile app that controls room access can be brilliant for the guest experience.
Business centres are highly demanded amenities across California. High-speed internet-powered business rooms are very popular in the Golden State with a large number of both local and international travellers commuting to the state.
The Impact of Technology on Guest Experience – Research Study
In their research paper, The Impact of Technology Amenities on Hotel Guest Overall Satisfaction, Cihan Cobanoglu, Katerina Berezina, Michael L. Kasavana & Mehmet Erdem offer some excellent observations.
The research concludes on a positive note establishing that technology does indeed have a significant impact on guest satisfaction and future visits. The researches do note that not all guest technologies have a positive impact on guest satisfaction though.
The research identified that popular amenities like in-room electronic safe, guest control panel, in-room PC, mobile access to the hotel website, electronic lock, and flat-screen HD televisions may not have the same impact as other more functional technologies. The research team argues that technologies commonly found in guest homes are less likely to delight them.
The researchers did identify that business technology is a massive factor that affects guest satisfaction. Business centres, mobile check-in & checkout, strategically placed electric outlets, VoIP services, PPV digital entertainment, gaming systems etc. are excellent examples of highly satisfying technologies.
Hotel Technology Solutions in the Real World
Hospitality technology solutions are still evolving, with a completely new generation of travellers now making up the industry landscape. To determine exactly how effective hospitality technology solutions are to enhance the guest experience, I took to TripAdvisor. Here I found a treasure trove of reviews for some of the most visited California hotels.
After going through a large number of reviews, I noticed that no matter how big or small the hotel, technology was constant among those rated 4.8 stars out of 5. Consider this review of the Aria Resort in Las Vegas:
We can clearly see this guest was inspired by the technology integrated into the room but was clearly annoyed at the way service was delivered to him. In his review, he does go on to say that while there were vast hospitality technology solutions available their applications were flawed.
This guest was clearly annoyed at the way the room tablet was lighting up delivering ads while he was sleeping. Then the placement of the switches and their design was so impractical it would light up the room at night.
The one very important take away from this review is that guests do not expect to be bombarded with ridiculous digital advertising, especially those travelling for business. Applications of technology have to be intuitive, they must be functional so as they don’t interfere with the guest experience.
The ARIA Resort & Casino is one of Las Vegas’s popular hotels with a 4.5 (Excellent) rating and a massive lineup of amenities to choose from. However, the high tier resort falls partially short in both customer service and guest technology experience.
In comparison, we look at the Aloft Cupertino which is also tagged as the ideal accommodation for techies. Powered by high-speed internet, Apple TV in rooms, an intuitive mobile app, and a robot butler for late-night guest requests this magnificent property is however known for its unbelievable service experience.
Here is a great lesson for hoteliers who assume technology is the end game. Technology is only a means to an end, the end being an ecstatic guest experience. When the customer-facing aspects are perfected, guests will automatically enjoy their stay even if the technology is limited.
Finally, we come to the Yotel New York Hotel, an Asian hotel franchise asset. Among its thousands of reviews, there is one word that I found constant, modern. The hotel offers easy to use self-check-in kiosks, mobile apps, neat tech-powered rooms, high-speed internet, and business centres.
Yotel’s management applied the most basic amenities and then concentrated on delivering through premier customer service. That basically is the bottom line, great customer service delivered through technology. Technology, as I mentioned above, is never the end of the guest experience, it’s only the means to an end.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of our blog, do remember to contact us for all types of hospitality technology advice. Talk to one of our consultants today to get insights and trends for California hotel technology. Our experienced hotel technology providers bring together over 20 years of experience working with top hospitality brands including the Marriott, Hilton, and Sheraton franchises.