Meeting the Growing Technology Needs of Guests
By Sanjay Nijhawan COO, Guoman Hotels (UK) | November 06, 2014
All of us who work in the hospitality industry are aware that the needs and expectations of guests are ever increasing and changing. Guests are our job and as companies we need to adapt to ensure we are offering the best level of service and keep guests coming back. An area that has seen the biggest and speediest change in the last ten years in my opinion is that of the technological needs and expectations of the guests. Ten years ago it was enough to offer in-room movies and a small business centre with internet access. Now that offering sounds possibly dinosaur.
In a bid to 'keep up' and be a market leader, hotels especially within the premium sector, have fallen over themselves to shout about their building wide Wi-Fi, i-pod docking stations as standard in all rooms and automated check in services. In reality many are merely paying lip service to having these amenities and don't actually have the systems in place to support guests' requirements.
Most groups claim to offer this as standard because they feel they should. In reality not many actually have a reliable service provider and guest complaints can become frequent and embarrassing especially within the business sector. Hotels need to be clear that they should invest in secure and robust services that have the capacity to host the band width in line with guests' requirements. This may be utilizing companies like Megapath who provide faster internet speeds and more stable and reliable connections for businesses because they need more bandwidth. If not this could really start to impact on repeat business. Would you recommend a hotel where you have to walk around the bedroom to get a good connection?
It is also imperative that the quality of the Wi-Fi in meeting rooms is the same as the bedroom product. Band width available to the hotel is scalable to the events they are hosting. More and more conferencing guests as using tools like skype and other voice over internet products (VoIP) together with web based video streaming which demands reliable and consistent web services. In fact these types of voice over internet packages can run with the Wi-Fi and be used to give the guests greater interaction with the hotel. For example I have heard cases of hotels giving guests VoIP mobiles to be able to use whilst they are in the hotel to call room service, reception, gym etc. wherever they are in the hotel, rather than a normal fixed handset in the guest's bedroom.
A good service of Wi-Fi in public spaces can also help drive revenue. You will find that public spaces throughout the hotels end up becoming the venues for impromptu meetings; this is especially the case in big cities such as London where people are keen to get out of their office and into a new environment. If they know you have a high standard of Wi-Fi in your hotel's lobby, bars and caf'e's they can become a prime location for such meetings to take place. The great news is the leaders of these meetings often have the benefit of a healthy expenses budget and a meeting can turn into a lunch and eventually using the meeting facilities and so on and so fourth. Something seemingly so simple can kick start a great relationship with your hotel.