What does it mean to be millenials-ready, hi-tech hotel?
Well, for starters it does not necessarily mean LCD interface screens scattered around the room. Not that there is anything wrong with it. By all means, if your hotel feels the urge to install LCDs in rooms and bathrooms then do so. What it actually means to be a hi-tech hotel nowadays is to be a central connection hub for your guests to use and enjoy.
One thing to remember is that vast majority of guests already carry their LCDs (smartphones and tablets) with them so what they need is a way of easy access to hotel’s services, offers and activities via their own iPhones and iPads. According to a survey by Four Pillars Hotel, a staggering, 85% of travellers was using their smartphones while travelling abroad in 2012. Since then, mobile network operators have been successively lowering roaming charges over the last several years (and continue to do so), so it is probably safe to assume that this 85% figure has gone up since 2012 and has now passed 90%. Either way, almost 9 out of 10 travellers use their smartphones abroad.
So what a hotel can to profit from the fact that every 9 out of 10 guests is using his or her smartphone while staying at that hotel? The essential thing is to provide WiFi access across the establishment. The simple nature of hi-tech smartphones and tablets is that they require online connection to not become at least partially obsolete. Even though mobile network operators are getting better at offering data access to people traveling abroad, their service is still intermittent and often too expensive to use. At not much cost, hotels can provide free WiFi to their guests to keep them happy.
Hotels can, and should, leverage on the enthusiasm which people have for doing things online and using online connection as first point of contact for all matters. As a hotel, being a connection hub for your guests works well for both sides. It allows hotels to save time and expenses by offering their services, extras and activities online and guests can browse and book at their convenience anytime, anywhere. A win win situation. Also a hotel becomes a digital guide to local experiences, otherwise unknown to travellers. According to psychologists, people value familiarity over the unknown. Familiarity breeds enjoyment. It makes people feel relaxed and comfortable. A hotel can add to the level of familiarity by adopting a known system as centre of the hub. Hilton did a study which shows that only up to 7% of people download and use branded hotel apps. Travellers don’t like an idea of cluttering their phones with various branded hotel apps and learning new systems every time they visit a new hotel. People prefer familiar experiences and don’t want to waste their time and effort on relearning how another’s hotel app works. A modern hi-tech hotel is part of a known app ecosystems. Such systems which allow to tailor hotel’s services to guests stays and provide guests with information that is relevant to them. Easily accessible. Anywhere, anytime. Even on the beach.