As technology grows and changes, so do hotel guests’ behaviours and expectations. While there will always be a more traditional set of people, it’s the changers and growers that hotels need to keep up with.
So while guests begin to adopt new technologies in other areas of their lives, they want to be able to use them on their travels too. It’s up to hotels to provide them with the option to do so. However, is “option” the key word?
Not everyone wants or feels the need to keep up with the latest technology or use it all the time. Do guests want the latest innovation at every turn or would they rather be presented with a choice?
From afternoon tea to newspapers, there will always be people who prefer things done the traditional way…how then is this little “tech vs traditional” dilemma resolved?
Even those who are first to buy the latest must-have gadget sometimes enjoy the feel of a paperback book or glossy magazine in their hands in the same way they might crave their traditional afternoon tea.
Many hotels recognize that although one group of guests might expect a certain innovation as a minimum, others don’t want to feel forced to use them. So the perfect solution is to provide for both groups of people.
Take Gold Key’s Media Box, for example, which allows hotels to provide complimentary digital newspapers and magazines to their guests.
Guests can download the newspaper or magazine they want in PDF format, then carry it on their device wherever they go. Many of the hotels that use it also offer the option of a hard copy of the guest’s favourite publication.
Recognising this, Gold Key Media in fact offers both the traditional (paper copies) and digital option to hotels, without a bias on one or the other. While the convenience of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets makes digital publications attractive for certain times, at others you just want to relax in your hotel’s lounge and “detox” a bit from your online world.
Hence for Media Box user Andaz: “At Andaz, the digital newspaper and magazines are offered to our guest in addition to daily complimentary papers. We find our guests are keen to have the additional digital option at no extra cost” – the best of both worlds, choice being the watchword.
But the Andaz Liverpool Street isn’t the only hotel to have the Media Box as an “additional” option. At Apex hotels, guests can ask for a paper copy of their favourite publication too. But they’re very conscious of the environmental impact, charging for the privilege and recycling each copy.
Speaking about the free digital service Apex say: “we have continually received very positive feedback from our guests for providing this efficient hassle-free service”. So while the option is provided, guests are free to decide.
It’s always good to offer a choice to hotel guests, especially if you want to attract a wide audience. But it also depends on the hotel’s market positioning.
For example, ultra-hip W London states: “W is all about being modern, new and fun so this Digital Media Box is a great addition to what we represent.”
So, while you can find plenty of people who prefer things the traditional way, millennials and older generations tuned into tech are always looking for innovations that reflect their current way of life.
You pay your money and make your choice: it seems that hotel guests like to keep their options open.
Photo credits: Jon S, The Ritz, Andaz Liverpool Street, W London.