“With the growing use of technology, how will customers minimum expectations’ (e.g. wi-fi usage), affect my business?”
As an hotelier, you already know that success depends on giving consistently great service and therefore, anything – technology included – that adds to your service potential must be considered seriously.
Technology broadly affects your customer in three ways. The ‘headline’ way – as alluded to in the question is about communications. The other two are more about comfort and safety.
Facilities such as Hot Spots are important to some business clients and therefore if this is a major market, you should try to offer it to keep up. Other techno items are more entertainment orientated like i-pod docks and Play Stations. They can have a marketing function if you welcome families but be aware; they go out of vogue very quickly. I call these ‘headline’ facilities because they look impressive when promoted on your website and brochures and are largely there to attract attention.
However, from having handled thousands of reservations over the years, I am convinced that it is the more subtle use of technology that when used properly, fulfils and exceeds expectations.
Furniture design is a good example. Many hotels are introducing ergonomic beds and a selection of pillow-types intended to improve the quality of the client’s sleep. This is an excellent use of technology and if I had to choose between an allergy-free duvet and a seamless Internet connection I would choose the former.
When I first stepped into an external glass lift, I congratulated the manager host on a lovely design feature. “It’s not just for beauty,” she told me, “It’s so that sleeping guests are not disturbed by the noise of the elevator.” Brilliant.
By all means embrace technology, but invest in eco-friendly waste management, climate controlled atmospheres, fire-proofed doors that don’t slam and kitchens that are easy to cook in and easy to clean.