Design Technology Trends
By Michael Prifti Managing Principal, BLT Architects | January 2013
Smartphones as door keys, tablet room controls, and touchscreen check-in terminals have begun to change the operations and experiences of hotels and resorts around the world. Much more technology can be found in back of house, making operations more efficient and often improving the guest experience. It's no surprise that in a hospitality setting, the use of technology in the coming years will be more cutting edge, especially in mega resorts and boutique hotels aiming to cater to both discerning and hip guests. As we say goodbye to 2012 and usher in a new year, exciting changes are taking place within hotels, many which are already becoming apparent. So how will the incorporation of new and changing technology impact structural, operational, or interior design of hotels?
The headline is that hotels need to make space in at least three ways for the guest experience: the traditional way, using the hotels' technological devices, or using their own personal technological devices. Design is becoming as much about the app as it is about the architecture. As a result, technological advancements will heavily impact trends in porte cochere, lobby, guest room, and event spaces in 2013.
In years past, curb-side check-in was a convenience reserved exclusively for airports. Luggage, the worst
part of the experience for many travelers, was swept away immediately, not to be thought of until
reaching baggage claim at one's destination. This was made possible through a variety of systems of
throughout the airport, but the infrastructure was complex, expensive, and hard for others to replicate.
While an increasing preference for carry-ons are making car to curb luggage less popular, luxury resorts
are increasingly considering providing that same service. All guests arriving via automobile are greeted
upon arrival, names checked, and are unburdened of their bags. RFID tags are put on the bags so they
can be stored, assigned to rooms, and moved efficiently and without error.
We are beginning to see the use of proximity technology which allows two smartphone users to bump
their phones together or other speedy exchange to transfer contact information, photos, and other
objects to each other over the Internet. Expect to see the use of this technology to transfer guest
preference to check in and also obtain room assignments and provide entry into guest rooms, among