January FOCUS

Mobile Technology

Mobile Technology

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.


This month's feature articles...

Joe Schwinger

2020 forced the event industry to innovate and acclimate to a new way of doing things, and revealed new growth opportunities. On November 9, 2020, Marriott International kicked off Connect with Confidence, a hybrid event with both attendees on property and virtual attendees around the country. The event was not only a showcase for COVID-era safety and hybrid event technology - it was a model for the future of the industry. READ MORE

Norm Rose

For the hotel industry, mobile app development has always presented a paradox, especially for smaller chains and properties. Why would a traveler download my hotel's app if they are only staying for a single visit? Covid-19 has signaled a dramatic change in this approach: Mobile apps are now necessary for touchless check-in, check out and all communication with the hotel during the pandemic. Is this a permanent change? READ MORE

Tim Peter

We expect to see some light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel in 2021. Mobile will play a key role in leading you into the light. Mobile represents the primary way guests interact with content and experiences online, even when sitting on their couch. Here's how you can take advantage of mobile to fuel your recovery. READ MORE

Amy Draheim

Just when you wrapped your head around Instagram Stories, IGTV came out. Then came TikTok. Instagram Reels. Now, even LinkedIn is prioritizing mobile-friendly video content on their platform. Short form, video storytelling is the new social media frontier. Simply put, videos create impact that static images cannot. If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a million. This article is a comprehensive and practical guide to getting started. Adapt now, or get left behind. READ MORE

Ted Horner

Does your hotel have the technology in place to capitalize on the trend? Or are you at risk of being left behind? Across industries, around the world, businesses are rapidly adapting to the emergence of new consumer expectations, which are influenced by the mobile evolution. Guests today demand a mobile experience that follows them throughout their entire journey, effectively transforming every touchpoint along the way with enhanced convenience, service, and personalization. READ MORE

Darren Winterford

The current post-COVID climate has enabled microlearning to adapt the way we conduct employee training and make it more effective and accessible than ever before. This breaking down of information into topical, bite-sized chunks means education becomes much easier to digest, knowledge retention is significantly increased, and hospitality employees can access training from their mobile phone in their native language. READ MORE

Frank Vertolli

Smartphones have forever altered, mostly improved, many aspects of our everyday lives, and the travel experience is no exception. From planning and booking through check-in and on property experience, to social sharing, mobile represents a key touch point with our guests that enable connection and hospitality in new and evolving ways. READ MORE

James Lefcakis

Mobile apps were an exciting option in guest communication for hotels until the low probably of guests keeping the apps on their phone began to hinder the efforts of small to mid-sized hotel brands. In this article we go over some successful alternatives for mobile guest services and the infrastructure that needs to be in place to properly support them. READ MORE

Scott Watson

Industry-specific mobile applications are transforming the way hoteliers manage property portfolios and day-to-day operations. Apps, alerts and mobile communications offer hoteliers remote and secure access to key business data, allowing them to work from anywhere while staying connected in real time. Making back office technology available through mobile devices, hoteliers can save valuable time and boost bottom lines through streamlined operations and powerful data management READ MORE

David Abraham

The new remote work era has arrived. Since summer 2020, many companies from Facebook, to Fujitsu and Siemens made remote work policies permanent. In the process, they created a new type of traveler: Anywhere Workers. Those untethered from their offices -- will make up a huge potential segment in the hospitality industry. David Abraham who has developed and run Outpost, a remote worker concept in Asia, will examine this new and growing segment of hospitality industry. READ MORE

Michael Blake

Technology has always driven the hospitality industry with the demand to stay up-to-date on replicating a guest's normal day-to-day life while they are away from home. Given today's world, it's more important than ever for us to shine light on mobile technology that will aid in reducing physical touchpoints and maintaining social distancing measures for guests to stay safe and healthy while traveling. READ MORE

Ajay Aluri

The pandemic has now set a new standard of expectations for all guests and for every hotel scale. Additionally, the pandemic has caused digital technology adoption to advance at lightning pace; what formerly took years to adopt is happening in months. This, in turn, will set more and higher expectations for the hotel industry as we settle into the "new normal." READ MORE

Library Archives

 

Last month's feature articles...

Ronald Schirtzer

The question of how to balance the desire to return seemingly healthy employees to the workplace with concerns about the safety and welfare of other employees and customers continues to plague employers as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. While there is no "one size fits all" answer to this question, there are resources and best practices that hotel owners and operations can utilize to reduce their risk. Ronald Schirtzer and Steven Gonzalez of Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial offer their insight. READ MORE

Jerome G. Grzeca

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the United States, the Trump administration immigration policies contributed to steep labor shortages in the hospitality industry. As a result of the pandemic, President Trump has since raised additional barriers that make it more challenging for hotels to employ foreign nationals, who make up a substantial portion of U.S-based hotel workers. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

Does COVID-19 (coronavirus) afford hospitality industry operators relief from their contractual obligations? Hospitality industry operators are feeling the impact of coronavirus. The question may arise as to whether the coronavirus affords hospitality industry operators relief from their contractual obligations. In some cases, those contractual obligations may have arose months or years before coronavirus. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for all hospitality industry operators and, thus, hospitality industry operators should consider taking steps to examine their options, including but not limited to, the steps set forth below. READ MORE

John Mavros

After an unprecedented 2020, many are wondering when the COVID-19 pandemic will finally be over. With recent announcements of potentially viable COVID-19 vaccines, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. However, a post-pandemic "normal" for hotel employers could include questions about mandatory vaccination policies. This article provides an overview of the issues surrounding vaccination of employees that hotel employers will need to think about next year. READ MORE

Gregory A. Hearing

The polarization of our country and the recent Presidential Election has left hotel and lodging industry employers facing a conundrum as to how they may keep employee political, cultural and social rhetoric out of the workplace environment. This article explores the speech rights of hotel and lodging employees and the extent to which employers may limit such employees' speech. READ MORE

Michael B. Newman

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have changed how they purchase products more extensively utilizing on-line ordering and home delivery. In response, restaurants and bars have pivoted to expand their businesses in this direction. To help struggling on-premise businesses, numerous states have temporarily or permanently relaxed restrictions on alcohol beverage sales making it easier for bars and restaurants to make this pivot. READ MORE

Maureen Beacom Gorman

The US Supreme Court recently ruled that the domain Booking.com is capable of functioning as a trademark. Over the objections of the United States Patent & Trademark Office, the decision opens the door to other generic.com domain holders seeking Federal trademark protection of otherwise potentially generic brand names. The ruling shows how powerful consumer brand perception can be in obtaining trademark rights. READ MORE

Michael Wildes

COVID-19 has caused significant disruption to immigration and travel into the United States, and in turn has had a profound effect on the hospitality industry. While the challenges are daunting, by changing current immigration policies and implementing new safety guidelines, we can re-energize travel for business and tourism and resurrect the industry. READ MORE

Todd Soloway

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the hospitality landscape, and its effects on the industry are far from concluded. Diligent market participants can be poised to navigate this uncertainty and stand to reap substantial returns when the sector rebounds. The allure of these healthy future returns, however, should not give way to lax diligence, and a skeptical and thorough diligence process is critical to ensuring that stakeholders are best positioned to weather the current upheaval and benefit from future market upswings. READ MORE

Howard Russell

Liability waivers and limitation forms are commonly used by recreational facilities and tour companies, due in large part to the risks inherent in the use of recreational equipment and engaging in adventure tourism. Hotels and resorts are forced to balance the desire to offer guests amenities with the potential liability exposure created by providing access to the equipment involved. Howard Russell, office managing partner at Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial, provides factors for hotels and resorts to consider when developing or using waiver forms, sign-in sheets or liability limitation clauses. READ MORE

Coming up in February 2021...