How Electronics Can Make Your Hotel a True Comfort Zone

By Kalen Willis Senior Interior Designer, Hatchett Hospitality | July 17, 2011

In our gadget-obsessed world, technology has grown from a convenient amenity to an essential element of every hotel's design and services. The challenge is to blend high-tech with high-touch – namely, to use cutting-edge science in a meaningful and memorable way that enhances every guest visit.

Let's look at nine ways you can meet that challenge, attract more guests, and justify higher room rates. Most of these are relatively easy and economical to consider for either new construction or renovation, although a few are more exotic, more expensive, and require considerable advance planning.

The Internet: Your First Impression

Guests used to get their first impression of a property when they arrived on-site and saw the hotel exterior or lobby. Today, opinions are formed much earlier and much quicker – typically on the web as travelers increasingly use their computers or smartphones to search for a hotel and to make a reservation.
Your website must tell your story visually and "sell" your property effectively, so invest in professional photography. Shots taken by a relative or friend at no charge may turn out to be a very expensive favor if they cause you to lose rather than attract business.

In contrast, strong photos will give visitors to your website plenty of reasons for becoming visitors to your property. You can use still shots or you can create a more dramatic video tour.
Whichever technique you select, your pictures should inform – by showing people what they can expect to see and to experience at your hotel, including:

  • The exterior, lobby, and public spaces
  • Various guest room types
  • Special areas such as meeting rooms, lounge, pool, fitness center, and meal service
  • Popular nearby attractions such as tourist sites, shopping areas, restaurants, beaches, and business districts
  • Airport transportation options such as taxi and shuttle services, with schedules
  • And be sure to include a map showing distances and transportation options to various destinations.
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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.