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DO's and DON'Ts of Hotel Technology v3.0   


 
by Terence Ronson, ISHC 
June 6, 2011

Since we are firmly into the season of Hotel Technology Conferences and Exhibitions, I believe it's the perfect opportunity to update and re-issue our ever popular Do's and Don'ts of Hotel Technology.
 
Due to various advances in technology, and general adoption of certain platforms and practices, the list now includes over 100 reference items - almost double since V1.
 
Not all may apply to your particular business, but they should prove a good reminder as to how important this area is, and just how much it can negatively impact the customer experience and of course your bottom line, if implemented incorrectly.

DO...  
  1. Use digital signage instead of printed posters
  2. Put some free bottles of water in the mini bar so that they are nice and cool
  3. Check all the peep holes on guest room doors to make sure they are secure and the right way round
  4. Mount irons on wall brackets in closets instead of placing them on the floor or shelves
  5. Clearly display broadband charges, if your hotel has any
  6. Make it easy to switch off all lights in the guestroom from the bed - especially the bathroom lights
  7. Make it easy to plug in a hairdryer, shaver, or electric toothbrush in the bathroom
  8. Make the lighting in the bathroom bright enough for doing makeup
  9. Have an illuminated make-up mirror in the bathroom
  10. Have power sockets easily available for guest-use in public areas, especially Lounges, Dining areas and Poolside - also have adaptors handy
  11. Have an emergency torch/flashlight in the guest room
  12. Offer free boarding pass printing in Business centers
  13. Provide Apple computers in the business center, and not just Window's PC's
  14. Have an Apple Notebook power adaptor available for a guest to borrow in case they accidentally forget theirs at home. Same applies to iPhone/iPod and Blackberries
  15. Use wireless mice at the Front Desk
  16. Have a smartphone compliant version of your hotel datafile available for download on your website
  17. Work with your system providers so that they produce eForms and not printed reports - especially Registration cards and Folios
  18. Make sure excess power and data cables are neatly tied, or cut to the right length. If that is not possible - cover them somehow
  19. Have a simple but easy to read digital clock in the bathroom
  20. Encourage staff to bring laptops or Tablets to meetings and use them for note taking and not use paper pads
  21. Have easily accessible power sockets in Meeting rooms as more and more people bring tech with them and need power
  22. Have plenty of power sockets by the guestroom desk, or if not possible, place a small power bar in the desk drawer complete with adaptor
  23. Have a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray lending library if you have such a player in the guestroom
  24. Have your Concierge know where is the Apple Service Center and also other popular brands like IBM, DELL, Lenovo, Asus, Samsung and Blackberry
  25. Have a person or system to monitor social networking sites for mentions about your hotel
  26. Have competent front line staff on-property who can deal with Guest TECH queries - make sure they have the requisite social and interpersonal skills as well
  27. Monitor what is written about your Hotel on Social networking sites like Trip Advisor
  28. Have easily accessible empty power sockets at the LEFT and RIGHT side of the bed - for Guest use only - a USB power socket is a good addition
  29. Realize that when you buy technology - you need a support agreement as well - and this often doubles the Tech cost over 5 years
  30. Put a notice on your HSIA sign-up screen that your government may block access to certain websites and internet services if they apply to you. Have your IT People know how to workaround this if the Guest asks  
  31. Check your TV channel reception from time to time and make sure it's nice and clear
  32. Make sure the electronic door lock on the guest room door closes quickly when the door shuts
  33. Check the speed, noise and effectiveness of the aircon fan coil in the guest room
  34. Print your IM address on your Business card like a Skype ID
  35. Put an internet browsing station in the Staff Canteen for Staff to check email during breaks
  36. Encourage your Guests to also perform a virtual Check-in to such sites as Facebook and Foursquare when they physically Check-in to your establishment
  37. Get your technology vendors to update you twice a year on their roadmap
  38. Add CCTV cameras inside your Data Center - one that is directed to the server racks and the other, to the entrance door
  39. Remember that guest's trust their mobile phones to wake them up - more than they do your wake-up call service
  40. Perform regular complete system backups and store them off-site
  41. Consider placing a 'dock extender' cable into the cable pack that you may be placing in your rooms so that a Guest can connect an iPad to the iPod/iPhone dock you are providing
  42. Have staff who do in-room check-in, offer to help guests connect their computer to the HSIA/Wi-Fi as well as make them an Espresso if you have such a machine in the room
  43. Allow guest's to tailor make their fruit basket if you plan to give them one - not everyone likes green apples and pears - same goes for turndown amenity - not everyone wants or can eat chocolates
  44. Offer ePostcards from your website
  45. Have a shelf in the toilet cubicle where guest's can place their mobile phone/PDA and maybe a book
  46. Work in your own guestroom from time to time and see how comfortable and practical it is - especially the height of the chair in relation to the desk
  47. Use a bio-metric reader or PIN pad for staff entrance/egress that is linked to the Time and Attendance/Payroll System
  48. Make sure the light inside the wardrobe does switch off when the door is closed
  49. Consider [carefully] about moving some of your IT Services to the Cloud - make sure you fully understand the small print on the SLA (Service level Agreement) about 'uptime', 'data ownership' and 'migration' from property based systems
  50. Make sure your room safe is bolted down to a floor or wall and cannot be easily removed
  51. Monitor the TV volume in the guest room so that it can go down very low and not too high. Some guests like to leave the TV on all night but at a very low background volume
  52. Have a very low nightlight in the bathroom/toilet
  53. Deploy the very best cabling backbone you can
  54. Allow Guests of Residential Conferences to use the same LOGIN ID and Password that they use in the Guestroom for access to the WI-FI in the Meeting Room - don't make them pay twice
  55. Encourage Guests to communicate with your Hotel through popular Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  56. Have air-conditioning auto cut-off in the Guest room if balcony doors are left open
  57. Consider using Motion/Presence detectors rather than key cards to control energy in-room
  58. Check from time to time in-the-floor power sockets - the metal type which are supposed to lift up when the clip if flicked - most often they stick after a while having been covered with floor polish and dust  
  59. Talk to your HSIA/Wi-Fi provider about 'roaming agreements' and having pass-thru services to such membership services as Boingo and iPass  
  60. Consider having a secure place where Guests can deposit their valuables and gadgets at the poolside or beach if they want to take a dip
  61. Have Wi-Fi at the poolside and Beach
  62. Test your magnetic key cards to see if they de-magnetize when placed next to a mobile phone
  63. Encourage Guest contact staff to attach VCF files in emails
  64. Consider using QR codes on your printed materials
  65. Put your Hotel onto Skype and encourage that as a method of communication with Guests
  66. Recycle used laser toner cartridges
  67. Think about installing a 3G mobile hotspot in the Airport Limo so the Guest can use the service to/from the airport
  68. Have your IT team join such organizations as HFTP and HTNG so that they keep up to date with Hotel Technology - you should also sponsr them as well as have them attend various Conferences and Exhibitions
 
DO NOT...  
  1. Use Walkie Talkies in public areas without issuing staff with discreet ear pieces
  2. Deploy connectivity aux or connectivity panels without having in-room cable kits
  3. Put a bedside clock that makes a ticking sound
  4. Charge for local phone calls unless you really have to
  5. Make it difficult to use a mouse on the Guest Room desk by using one with a glass surface - put a mouse mat in the drawer
  6. Automatically do dynamic currency conversion on credit card transactions - have the customer approve in advance
  7. Charge exorbitant rates for printing in the business center
  8. Issue replacement room keys without first seeing a valid photo ID
  9. Allow staff to use thumb drives in work computers
  10. Print reports - circulate PDF versions only
  11. Send faxes when you can send PDFs with emails
  12. Use worn out ribbons on printers - especially Point of Sale printers in F&B outlets
  13. Assume your backup power generator will auto-start if there is a mains power failure. Test it
  14. Print folios - email them
  15. Use paper registration cards - use electronic ones
  16. Install both wired and wireless internet in your Guest Rooms when doing a new installation. Just having Wi-Fi is acceptable by most people and will save you money  
  17. Assume all guests use an iPod, iPhone or iPad - believe it or not, there are other successful products in the marketplace
  18. Put "last updated..." on your website if you don't do it frequently
  19. Put the number of visitors to your website - no one really cares
  20. Put a chair at the desk which is difficult to pull out or is uncomfortable to sit in - even if it looks nice
  21. Just limit guests to connect two items to the Wi-Fi in the guestroom - often guests carry many more devices, especially if a couple are staying and with kids
  22. Clutter the desk with collaterals and printed materials - make them digital and multi-lingual - e.g. in Chinese
  23. Just believe that by putting loads of technology into your hotel that the guest experience will be enhanced or that the guest will appreciate it
  24. Place a loudspeaker in the bathroom unless it has a volume control and the sound quality is good
  25. Just rely on the technology to operate your business  - it will fail and at the worst possible time. Make sure you have a contingency plan in place for ALL systems and test it periodically
  26. Change any configuration on a guest's computer unless they ABSOLUTELY agree and you have a written record of the changes made
  27. Have multiple phones in the Guest room unless your really need to
  28. Allow iPods, MP3 players or similar devices in the workplace to be connected to your computers
  29. Print anything - only have electronic versions of all your collaterals
  30. Make it complicated for guests to use your technology - they may only stay one night and have no time to learn how to use all the gadgets
  31. Overcharge for IDD calls - see if you can connect your PBX to a VOIN (Voice over Internet) service to reduce the calling costs
  32. Lend guest's headsets in the gym unless they have been pre-sterilized
  33. Allow social networking connections on workplace computers unless it's for work
  34. Have water pipes inside your computer room or data center
  35. Just have a single cooling source for your Data Center - have a backup
  36. Have so many TV channels that it's difficult for the guest to quickly access what they really want to watch and make sure when it's re-switched on, it goes back to the last channel watched and only re-sets upon check-out
  37. Put a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player in the Guest room unless there is already a disc inside for the guest to quickly listen to or watch
  38. Operate a 1-button Call Center unless the staff who take the call are full trained to handle ALL queries
  39. Put a 4-in-1 copier/scanner/printer/fax machine in the guestroom with just 2 or 3 sheets of paper inside for the guest to print on - include at least 20 sheets
  40. Use a cloud printing service to the in-room printer you are providing - some guests are bound by company confidentiality policies not to send data outside of their network and so cannot use such services, even if they are hosted by a reputable company - just add a USB cable
  41. Have electronic curtains/drapes unless they can be opened/closed from the bed as well as via a wall switch
  42. Put a hairdryer in the bathroom that is underpowered - and don't hide it
  43. Put a reading lamp at the bed which is so powerful and direct that it can burn your Guest's forehead
  44. Adjust the temperature in the Guestroom if the guest sets it at a certain level. Only reset it upon check-out.
  45. Use Flash on your website unless you really have to - not all popular Smartphones or Tablets can handle Flash
  46. Only put a keycard reader on one side of the elevator car if you have floor call buttons on both sides. And from time to time, check they both work
  47. Install an LCD TV in such a away that the Guest cannot access the connectivity ports and by doing so, they can directly connect their own devices for playback
  48. Create an app for your Hotel just for the sake of it - and all it does is make reservations. Let it be informative about your property and a guide to all the various services and amenities you provide. It will after all be be your Shop window in the palm of someone's hand and directly reflect your brand values.

©Terence Ronson ISHC

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Contact: 

Terence Ronson 
terence@pertlink.net
 

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Also See: Life Can be Full of (Pleasant) Surprises; Especially When a Property Sets Their Mind and Heart into Doing it Right / Terence Ronson / May 2011

Innocent Until Proven Guilty - The Proliferation of iPads / Terence Ronson / April 2011

Your Hotel May be Old, But The Way You Deliver Service Should Not Be....Just Ask Mickey Mouse / Terence Ronson / February 2011

2010 Reflections...And a glimpse into 2011 - Guest Room Technology Focus / Terence Ronson / December 2010

The Front Desk Is Dead. Long Live the [New] Front Desk / Terence Ronson / August 2010

Fairmont Hotels Installing Self-service Kiosks in All North America Hotels; Includes Guestroom Mapping and Airline Check-In Features / June 2005

Hilton Tests New Check-In/Check-Out Self Service Kiosks at Two Flagship Properties / Sept 2003
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