August 6th, 2013 | Tanya Venegas

Staying connected is a top priority for hotel guests

6 Aug, 2013 By: Tanya Venegas, Frank Wolfe

ipadWhat are guests’ technology expectations? This was one of the most frequently asked questions at the annual Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) this past June in Minneapolis, where many experts presented their ideas and solutions to this question.

To find out, HFTP’s Research Institute, based at the University of Houston, sent out a survey this past spring to HFTP members to explore what they expect—tech wise—from their hotels. We got a snapshot that indicates what is important. Not surprisingly, it is an infrastructure that supports their personal devices. 

In total, 129 individuals responded, with the majority working at a company/property within the U.S. (78.3 percent). Most responses came from those holding an accounting or finance position (58.9 percent), with another 11.3 percent of responses coming from those holding technology positions. 

Most of the responses came from individuals in their 40s and 50s. So, given the variation in technology used by different age groups, results would most likely change if the responses were from those under the age of 30. 

Hotel selection criteria: Respondents indicated that the three most important criteria while seeking a hotel were: free Wi-Fi (82.2 percent), free breakfast (62 percent) and in-room technology (32 percent).

In-room technology: Hoteliers are never going to be able to keep up with the level of technologies their guests have at home. The trick is to provide the basic technology in the guestroom and to enable the guests to use the technologies they bring with them. Respondents to this survey indicated that their basic requirements included Wi-Fi (95.3 percent), TV (87.6 percent), alarm clock (42.6 percent) and 30.2 percent indicated they would like an iPad or tablet PC in their room.

BYOD: An overwhelming majority of guests are carrying a mobile phone or smartphone (94.6 percent) whenever they travel. Out of this, nearly 95 percent may even be traveling with more than one mobile phone. Other devices with a high-average response included laptop computers (67.4 percent) and an iPad or tablet computer (55 percent).

Hotel-supplied tablets: Just over 30 percent of respondents indicated that they would like to see an iPad or tablet computer offered to them. As a follow-up, we asked respondents whether they would still bring their personal iPad or tablet and a majority of respondents (80.4 percent) indicated that they would. Everyone personalizes their devices and has them loaded with content that the hotel cannot offer. The key is to provide guests the ability to use their personal devices in their guestroom by providing high-quality Wi-Fi and the ability to connect to amenities which enhance their experience.

Apps: When asked how many apps were loaded on their media, the majority of responses (63.8 percent) came from those with 40 or less mobile apps installed on their phones. Respondents were also asked to indicate the number of applications they actually used on a regular basis. Over 61 percent indicated that they primarily use 10 or fewer apps. 

Travel research: And now for the final burning question. Participants were asked to name the social media sites they use to find a place to stay. The responses indicated that only a handful of social media websites were used. Primarily, TripAdvisor was noted by most individuals followed by other sites such as Expedia, AAA, Orbitz, GateGuru, Google+, Kayak, Travelocity, TripIt, Yelp and brand websites.

Topic : ipad, hitec, hotel technology

About the Author: Tanya Venegas

About the Author: Frank Wolfe

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