Wearable Technology Improves Guest Experience at Hotels

By David Hogan Executive Director of Major Accounts, Heartland Payment Systems | December 20, 2015

Hotels have been at the forefront of offering guests ways to interact with innovative technologies for decades. When the popularity of television was starting to peak, many families did not have their own televisions. However in 1947, The Roosevelt Hilton in New York City became the first hotel in the world to install TVs in guest rooms. Guests were excited to experience the new technology during their stays.

At that time TV was a sought-after amenity – fast forward to now, and many guests don’t even turn them on. Technology has come a long way since then and hotel companies are seeking news ways to stay on the cutting edge of the digital movement. Today, wearable technology is looking like the solution for smoother hotel workflows and better guest experiences.

The use of mobile technology is an obvious solution for on-the-go travelers who can’t be bound to locations by equipment and wires. Smartphones are one of the most popular mobile devices. A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that 64 percent of American adults now own a smartphone – making them a new normal.
Smartphones contributed to our country’s increased technology use and dependency. Technology has become a part of who people are today. Devices and services like mobile phones, tablets and social media have changed the way people interact in their day-to-day lives.

As technology continues to push the envelope, wearables are the next solution for personal and business applications. Aside from basic features like telling time and looking trendy, wearables have many functions that can be used daily to improve their wearers’ personal lives. The Apple Watch can sync directly with a user’s phone and display messages, answer calls and give GPS directions all from a wrist.

Wearables also encourage fitness and good health. For example, smart sport bands can act as personal trainers. Current models have the ability to monitor stride length, distance, step count, and speed, while calculating calories burned, heart and breathing rates, skin temperature and activity intensity.
Sleep is also vital for a healthy lifestyle. Bands like the Garmin vívosmart can be worn while sleeping to monitor movement and rest.

These tech accessories are poised to mimic the adaption of tablets. Tablet sales started out low then soared in a few short years after businesses and consumers realized the utility and value that tablets provided. According to the 2014 Wearable Future study conducted by PwC, one in five Americans already own a piece of wearable tech and sales in the category are predicted to hit $70 billion by the year 2024.

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Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.