The Bottom Line of Next Generation Technology in Hotel Rooms Today
By David Chin Director of Information Technology, Stanford Hotels Corp. | May 2010
In 1969, futurist Isaac Asimov predicted that in 50 years there would be a hotel on the moon.
Now that 2019 is only a few light years away, the idea of a lunar lodge isn't so far out - especially considering the technological advances that have occurred in hotels on this planet in the last decade.
Historically, the hospitality industry hasn't exactly been the leading hotbed of technology. Earlier this millennium, the best you'd usually find was billing and room reservation systems linked using the room TV as a display. And guest services tended to be centralized with terminals at reception and in restaurants.
Beginning in the late '90s, the demand for cutting-edge media entertainment and communication caught the industry by surprise and hoteliers realized that to provide a truly quality stay for their guests, state-of-the-art technology had to become an integral part of the in-room experience.
Now, IT is everywhere. In-room mini-bars are connected to IP networks that add purchases to the bill 30 seconds after a cold beverage is lifted from the fridge. The flat screen TV offers streaming music services with soothing screensaver photos. Even the room key has become part of a technology link that allows guests to buy food in restaurants and access voice mail and wireless Internet portals.
And a new generation of gadget-minded and gear-toting business and leisure guests are forcing hotel operators to continuously -- and at warp speeds -- adopt new information and entertainment technology systems.