Encountering the infuriating, overwhelming and unwanted smart tech in my hotel room

0 12

At my boutique hotel high in the Swiss Alps, I returned from dinner, jet lagged and a tad tipsy, to discover that a television set inside a bathroom mirror had been turned on during turndown service. I pressed all of the buttons on the wall panel and then tried the switches on a control box next to the bed. Nothing.

Since I could not locate anything resembling a telephone in the room (remember, I was tipsy), I hoofed it to the lobby and returned with a receptionist to power down my “smart mirror.” Twenty minutes later, already in my pajamas, I encountered a new challenge: No switch I turned, no knob I twisted would kill the bathroom lights. I closed the door, affixed a face mask over my eyes and made do.

These days, it’s all about making do when I’m greeted by the glut of smart technology in hotel rooms. Voice-activated lights. Chatbot concierges. QR codes on television sets. Mobile browser or app check-ins. Texting the valet for my car. Don’t even get me started with motorized drapes — attempting to view the ocean in Miami was as difficult as tackling William Faulkner. It’s all infuriating. And overwhelming.

A recent study from the industry magazine Hospitality Technology and the University of Nevada’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality in Las Vegas surveyed 100 hotel operators and noted that adoption across the industry of self-service features such as check-in kiosks and mobile room keys is booming.

Proponents say the guest benefits behind these investments are numerous, from personalizing the hotel experience and anticipating guest needs to reducing their “friction” points and freeing up staff.

Neha Jaitpal, the global general manager for Honeywell’s Building Technologies sector, oversees “intuitive” solutions for more than 2 million hotel rooms worldwide, working for companies such as Accor and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. “Imagine arriving at your hotel room after a long day of travel, and it’s already adjusted to your preferred settings — from the temperature, lighting and even the position of the drapes,” she said. “Through automation, guest rooms can be personalized without the need for human interaction.”

“Smart hotel rooms are about empowerment,” said Robert Firpo-Cappiello, Hospitality Technology’s editor-in-chief. “Contactless interactions were a survival pivot for hotels during the pandemic. People are used to them now. There is no going back.”

Yes, some (young) travelers I’ve talked to love it.

“At the Wynn Hotel, I enjoyed having Alexa close the blinds, turn off the lights and play music,” said Eddie Burns, 25, a drummer and touring musician. “I arrived super late and it was great to navigate everything from bed.”

Power in the Palm of Your Hand?

One “guest technology provider” is pushing guests to rely more heavily on their ubiquitous cellphones.

Sonifi Solutions Inc., which works with global brands such as Hyatt and Marriott, generates unique QR codes for guests on their in-room television — to activate, you scan with your phone camera, as you would a web-based restaurant menu, which takes you to an app or website. Then with their phones, guests control their TVs and lighting, connect with the concierge (by chat), order in-room dining or make a spa appointment. The “personalization” piece of the platform extends to the television, which, based on guest behavior and information gleaned from a loyalty program, can be set to a yoga class for a fitness enthusiast or ESPN for a football fan.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.