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Hotel Amenity Trends: In-Room Perks Get Appy, Chatty

By / Apr 12, 2017 An Amazon Echo shown in a Wynn Hotel. (YouTube screenshot)

From the TV on the stand to the newspaper dropped in front of your door, technology improvements are driving some major changes in hotel amenities.

Some things about the hotel experience likely will never change—the view, the check-in process, and the comfort of the bed where you get a good night’s rest.

Plenty of things are changing about the hotel experience, and it’s being driven in large part by the consumerization of technology.

But plenty of things are changing about the hotel experience, and it’s being driven in large part by the consumerization of technology. A few things to keep an eye on for your upcoming hotel visits:

New streaming options. Soon, simply having a television set in the room may not be enough for some folks staying in hotels. Dedicated options, like videogame systems, have long been part of the hotel ecosystem, but one thing that hasn’t taken over in hotels the way it has in homes is online streaming. A new offering from Hyatt could change this. Recently, the hotel giant teamed with SONIFI Solutions to offer Chromecast devices in hotel rooms around the country. The devices can be controlled through the World of Hyatt app. The move is significant for two reasons: It shows how consumer technology is influencing hotel vendors like SONIFI (which you might know better under its prior brand name, LodgeNet) and indicates that streaming is considered an important use case.

Amazon Echos in every room. Ahead of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Wynn hotel equipped all 4,748 of its rooms with Amazon’s popular voice-driven devices, so guests can control the temperature and other functions in the room. “Millions of people already enjoy interacting with Alexa at home via their Echo devices, and now they will be able to experience the same convenience while traveling,” said Amazon Alexa Vice President Steve Rabuchin in a press release.

Room service by app. Ordering food for your room often feels decidedly low-tech, because it tends to require you to call another human being. But now room service is getting the app treatment as well. This week, the software provider Wi-Q Technologies announced its Mi-Room software, a cloud platform that allows hotels to accept room service requests like the customer is ordering from GrubHub. In a news release, the company noted that it built the software after it became clear that the hotel industry needed such a platform.

An old standby gets refreshed. Even as new technology reshapes the hotel experience, some traditional favorites aren’t likely to go away anytime soon—specifically, newspapers. According to a recent report from Forbes Travel Guide and Pressreader, two-thirds of hotel patrons say a newspaper or magazine offering is a differentiator. Nearly half of all hotels plan to reduce their focus on print in favor of digital, but it’s likely that print won’t go away entirely. Pressreader, a company that sells digital news services, points out that many newspapers don’t get picked up by hotel guests but says consumers should be offered a choice.

What’s the coolest hotel amenity you’ve seen lately? Share it in the comments below.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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