We were talking to another hotel owner the other day about guest expectations and how they are changing. The conversation covered the usual, value, service, clean sheets and Freeview but also ranged further. One of the things we couldn’t make up our mind about was whether a hotel should embrace technology or stay away from it so people can escape.
As the question is still unresolved, we thought we would put it to you, our readers. Should a hotel embrace technology and provide internet, tablets to control curtains, wireless speakers, iPod docks and all the trappings of modern life? Or should we provide a safe haven away from all that?
The case for embracing technology
The case for a hotel embracing technology hinges on delivering what the guest wants. Many guests like the idea of lying in bed and using a tablet to turn on the TV, open the curtains and put the kettle on. Many would like to put their iPhone into a dock and listen to their own playlist on wireless speakers. Many guests expect it.
The ability to surf freely in your room, keep up with the news, answer emails, research local Blackpool attractions and to check the weather all offer tangible benefits to the holidaymaker. Why would you not want to offer all this?
The case for staying a sanctuary
The main case for keeping such technology at arm’s length is also because many guests want to. Our everyday lives are filled with 24 hour news, constant email and social media interactions, requests from work such as ‘we know you’re on holiday but can you just take a quick look at this urgent presentation?’ or trying to figure out how to open the curtains from a confusing app. Many guests come to Blackpool to escape all that.
Technology is expensive, which will have to be recouped out of an increased room rate. Breakages and loss would also be a factor. As would the fact that any technology purchase is out of date before you even open the box.
The cases both for and against keeping up with technology are equally strong. They are both influenced by trends and what guests expect. That’s why we find it so hard to decide which approach is best. So dear reader, do you have a preference? If you stayed at North Ocean Hotel in Blackpool, would you want to be surrounded by technology or escape from it? Let us know!