How Can Better Tech Improve Our Hotel Experiences?

A new study from the Global Business Travel Association Foundation suggests that technology remains an important part of the equation for business travelers—and that tech element goes far beyond simply having access to WiFi.

Pretty much every hotel has wireless access now—much of it available for free. So what’s next for improving the experience?

“Harnessing Technology to Improve Business Traveler Hotel Experiences,” a new white paper from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation, ponders this question through a series of interviews with experts in the travel space.

“With the cries for Wi-Fi heard and answered, hotels can and should turn their attention and resources to addressing a number of areas where technology can play an innovative role in providing business travelers with the tools and amenities they crave,” GBTA Foundation Vice President of Research Joseph Bates said in a statement.

Among the areas in which travel managers say the technology experience at hotels could be improved:

Smoother check-ins. While much attention has been given to app-based check-ins in recent months, including an app by Hilton that allows people to select specific rooms in a given hotel, many of the travel managers interviewed weren’t impressed by the offerings. While online check-ins have become more common for many travelers, some said that they still prefer the human touch. “Overall, Travel Managers feel if they are going to change their behaviors to improve processes for hotels (i.e., checking in remotely), they expect the hotels to adjust accordingly to improve processes for guests,” the study states.

More outlets, better integration. Often, the first thing travelers want to do when they get to their rooms is charge their numerous devices. But that effort can be frustrating when the outlets and USB ports are hard to find. The report suggests offering more outlets and putting them in more convenient places. It’d also be pretty cool if it were easier for TVs to connect to devices, travel managers say.

A fresh concierge strategy. Rather than picking up a phone, would concierge service make more sense through a series of text messages, or an app? Travel managers surveyed suggested that automating such tasks—say, making it possible to turn on the air conditioning in the room before you get there—could improve the experience drastically. “I think just having things at your fingertips—being able to reach somebody. You’ve called the front desk and it rings and rings and rings because it’s 10pm and there’s only one person on,” one travel manager said in the white paper. (Here’s an example of what a concierge app could look like.)

Want to learn more? The white paper is available to GBTA members for free but can also be purchased through the GBTA Foundation, and the results will be discussed later this month, at the 2015 GBTA Convention, in Orlando.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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