Hotels these days are embracing technology in order to appeal to the seasoned traveler. Instead of having a wake-up call, new touchscreen devices wake you with with melodic sounds. Room keys are a thing of the past, as smartphones are becoming the new norm and when guests enter a room, the curtains open and music plays while climate control switches on.
A Chicago hotel called theWit has pioneered a new way for guests to wake up in the morning. Instead of relying on a call from the front desk the touchscreen display allows you to customize the voice to suit their needs. Some of the stock options include Muddy Waters, Ann Landers or even Chicago villain Al Capone. The hotel also has motion sensors that reset the thermostat to an energy-efficient temperature when you leave and readjust it to your own setting when you return. There’s even a voice that offers a personal greeting when you enter your room, bidding you a good morning, afternoon or evening.
The Peninsula Hong Kong opened in 1928 and just spent $58 million on renovations to make the hotel more digital friendly.The Wi-Fi is fast and complimentary, and all calls (local or international) are free, thanks to the sophisticated in-room VoIP phone system. In addition to Samsung Galaxy tablets that allow guests to control assorted room features and place service requests, rooms boast in-wall touchscreen panels that can control lighting and temperature; in the bathroom, these panels also control entertainment options like TV and music. All electrical outlets are now “world” outlets, meaning you won’t need any adapters. Conveniently, a charging dock pops out of the desk, making it easy to juice up all of your devices in one place. In addition, all rooms come equipped with a touchscreen-controlled Nespresso machine, offering complimentary coffee and tea. Perhaps most impressively, every room now sports a 46-inch, 3-D flat-screen television (loaner 3-D glasses and movies can be ordered via the tablets); hi-fi surround-sound system; and Blu-ray.
When guests enter a room at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas the curtains open and music plays while climate control switches on. Everything reverts back to the hotel’s setting when they leave the room and returns to the guest’s preferences when they come back. Preferences are also recorded and stored for the next visit.
One hotel does something totally amazing, and is sure to impress. At the Hotel 1000 in Seattle they are employing body-heat-detecting infrared sensors let the housekeeping staff know when guests have left their rooms.
The Trump Hotel in Chicago, Shangri-La Hotel, and 3,500 Accor hotels are all offering complimentary digital newspapers to their guests by Pressreader. Thousands of international papers are available business travelers and have the ability to conveniently keep up-to-date with the latest global or hometown news. In addition to being available to overnight hotel guests all of these locations also give access to visitors attending corporate meetings and events at the hotel.
Not all hotels are including in-room features to lure travelers but some are taking advantage of the technology in your pocket. At select Starwood hotel brands around the world, guests will no longer have to fumble for their room key card at the bottom of their bag now that the chain has rolled out keyless technology that opens doors with the swipe of a smartphone. Starwood’s SPG Keyless program is being called a first for the hotel industry and will roll out to 10 hotels around the world in markets like Beijing, Doha, Hong Kong, New York, and Singapore. Starwood is not the only company experimenting with being able to open your hotel doors with an app. HotelTonight has also developed a mobile app-enabled feature that allows guests to open their doors with a swipe of their phone which is being negotiated with hotels worldwide.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.