Recently, in Hospitality Technology’s “2013 Lodging Technology Study,” 103 hotel executives representing more than 20,000 hotel properties ranked enhancing guest services as the second most important reason for tech investments after driving revenue. This high ranking makes perfect sense. As our worlds become more interconnected and automated thanks to social media, smart phones and tablets, travelers expect not only luxury, but also a connected experience throughout their stay. The lobby area is the first place the guest encounters and it sets the tone for the duration of their trip. It’s where the guest first interacts with staff, and where they can tap local knowledge for restaurants and activity suggestions as well as other guest services. Because of this, more and more upscale hotels are installing interactive technologies in this common area.
For example, hotels are outfitting lobbies with tablet computers equipped with apps that enable curb-side check-in or a self-serve concierge. Tablets used in such capacities can lower wait times and provide instant service, all of which improve guests’ overall experience at the hotel. Tablets in the lobby could also enable guests to make restaurant reservations, book spa appointments and local excursions.
In combination with tablet computers, we are also seeing hotels embrace interactive digital signage. In lobbies, large-format professional displays are being used for wayfinding, which is especially useful in large properties, such as resorts and casinos. These displays are also ideal for showcasing information about hotel restaurants, events or even real-time guest flight information. When connected to a printer, guests are able to print out boarding passes before heading to the airport.
Additionally, these screens, including tablets, can be revenue generators via advertising for local restaurants and other visitor-focused businesses in the surrounding area.
As guest technology expectations continue to rise, hotels that become early adopters of new interactive technologies in the lobby area will continue to not only set themselves ahead of the curve, but also improve the overall guest experience. Hotel property owners or general managers who are considering deploying these technologies should work closely with an integrator to install professional grade display and tablet equipment to prevent failures, which can lower total cost of ownership. You can find blog posts relating to both topics at the following links:
Have you stayed at a hotel with an impressive, high-tech lobby recently? Let us know about it in the comments below.