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DO's and DON'Ts of Hotel Technology

by Terence Ronson ISHC, July 21, 2010

It is almost five years since we first issued the popular DO's and DON'Ts of Hotel Technology. A lot has changed since then - both in Hotels and Technology, and so it's time for an update.

Here is our 2010 version which we hope you will find useful as a check- list and to benchmark your hotel.

Feel free to drop us a note with any items that you believe should be added to the list, and we will send out a further update.

DO ...

  • Use digital signage instead of printed posters
  • Have the staff who do in-room check-in, offer to help guests connect their computer to the HSIA and make them an Espresso if you have such a machine in the room
  • Put some free bottles of water in the mini bar so that they are nice and cool
  • Check all the peep-holes on guest room doors to make sure they are secure, and installed in the correct direction
  • Mount irons on wall brackets in closets instead of placing them on the floor or shelves
  • Clearly display broadband charges, if your hotel has any
  • Make it easy to switch off all lights in the room from the bed - especially the bathroom lights
  • Have plenty of power sockets by the desk, or if not possible, provide a small power bar in the drawer
  • Have an emergency torch/flashlight in the guest room
  • Have a CD/DVD lending library if you have such a player in the room
  • Make it easy to plug in a hairdryer, shaver or toothbrush in the bathroom
  • Make the lighting in the bathroom sufficiently bright and natural enough for doing makeup
  • Have an illuminated make-up mirror in the bathroom
  • Have a simple but easy to read digital clock in the bathroom
  • Have easily accessible power sockets at the LEFT and RIGHT side of the bed for Guest-use only 
  • Check your TV channel reception in every room from time to time and make sure it's nice and clear
  • Make sure the electronic door lock on the guest room door locks quickly when the door shuts
  • Check the speed and noise of the fan coil unit in the guest room
  • Have a shelf in the toilet cubicle where guest's can place their mobile phone/PDA and maybe a book
  • Sleep and Work in your own guestroom from time to time and see how comfortable and practical it really is
  • Make sure the light inside the wardrobe does switch off when the door is closed
  • Make sure your guest room safe is bolted down to a floor or wall and cannot be easily removed
  • Install a power socket inside your guest room safe to charge items while locked away
  • Have some always-on power sockets in the guest room - desk and bed
  • Test motion detectors in the guest room to make sure they really work efficiently and don't turn off the power prematurely
  • Check the cable connectors for the HSIA - often the clips are broken 
  • 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
  • Have a very low level nightlight in the bathroom/toilet
  • Have [international] power sockets easily available for guest-use in public areas, especially Lounges and Dining areas
  • Offer free boarding pass printing in Business centers
  • Provide MAC computers in the business center, and not just Window's PC's
  • Encourage staff to bring laptops to meetings and use them for note taking and not paper pads
  • Have a smart-phone compliant version of your hotel fact sheet available for download on your website 
  • Make sure excess cables are neatly tied, or cut to the right size
  • Have easily accessible [international] power sockets in Meeting rooms
  • Have a person to monitor social networking sites for mentions about your hotel
  • Have competent front line staff on-property who can deal with Guest TECH queries - make sure they posses the requisite social skills as well
  • Monitor what is written about you on sites like Trip Advisor
  • Realize that when you buy technology - you need a support agreement as well - and this often doubles the cost over 5 years
  • Print your IM address on your Business card
  • Put an Internet browsing station in the Staff Canteen for them to check email during breaks
  • Get your technology vendors to update you twice a year on their road map
  • Remember that guests trust their mobile phones to wake them up - more than they do your wake-up service - provide enough space for the phone and charger on the bedside table
  • Perform regular system backups (data and program) and store them off-site
  • Allow guest's to tailor make their fruit basket if you plan to give them one - not everyone likes green apples and pears
  • Offer ePostcards from your website
  • Try and make a booking from your own website
  • Use a biometric reader or PIN pad for staff entrance/egress that is linked to the Time and Attendance/Payroll System
  • Deploy the very best cabling backbone you can
  • Use mobile computers to help staff work in a mobile manner and not remain stuck behind their desk
  • Be careful when using re-cycled paper in the photocopier as to what is on the reverse side of that paper
  • Have an easy to use toasting machine on the buffet - one that actually toasts and not just warms
  • Have a CCTV camera in your data Center/Computer Room to record who was in the room and what they did

DON'T ...

  • Use Walkie-Talkies in public areas without discreet ear pieces
  • Deploy connectivity or aux panels without in-room cable kits
  • Put a bedside clock that makes a ticking sound
  • Charge for local phone calls unless you really have to
  • Make it difficult to use a mouse on the desk by having one with a glass surface
  • Charge for Wi-Fi use in Banquet and Meeting rooms, if the guest already paid to use it in the guestroom
  • Automatically do dynamic currency conversion on credit card transactions unless the customer knowingly approves in advance
  • Charge exorbitant rates for printing or photocopying in the Business Center
  • Issue replacement room keys without first seeing a valid photo ID
  • Allow staff to use thumb drives in work computers
  • Use wired mice at the Front Desk - use the wireless type
  • Print reports - electronically circulate PDF versions only
  • Send faxes when you can send emails with PDF attachments
  • Print folios - ask the guest if you can email them 
  • Use worn out ribbons on F&B Guest check printers
  • Assume your backup power generator will auto- start in the event of a mains power failure. Test it
  • Use paper registration cards - use electronic ones
  • Assume all guests use an iPod or iPhone - there are other successful products in the marketplace
  • Put "last updated..." on your website if you don't do it frequently
  • Put the number of visitors to your site - no one really cares
  • Put a chair at the desk which is difficult to pull out or is uncomfortable to sit in - even if it looks nice
  • Just limit guests to connect two items to the Wi-Fi in the room - often guests carry more devices, and more importantly, if the room is occupied by more than one person
  • Clutter the desk with collateral's and printed materials - make them digital and multi-lingual
  • Place a loudspeaker in the bathroom unless it has a volume control and the sound quality is good
  • Have so many TV channels that it's difficult for the guest to quickly access what they really want to watch
  • Put a CD player in the room unless there is already a disc inside for the guest to quickly listen to
  • Operate a 1-button Call Center unless the staff who take the call are full trained to handle ALL queries
  • Put a 4-in-1/ printer /fax machine in the room with just 2 or 3 sheets of paper inside for the guest to print on - have at least 20 pieces
  • Have electronic curtains/drapes unless they can be opened/closed from the bedside as well as a wall switch
  • Put a hairdryer in the bathroom that is underpowered
  • Put a reading lamp at the bed which is so powerful and direct that it can burn your forehead
  • Have multiple phones in the guestroom unless you really need to
  • Overcharge for IDD calls - explore if you can connect your PBX to a VOIN service to reduce the calling costs
  • 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
  • Change any configuration on a guest's computer unless they ABSOLUTELY agree and you have a written record of the changes made
  • Allow iPods or MP3 players in the workplace to be connected to your computers
  • Make it complicated for guests to use your technology - they may only stay one night
  • Lend guest's headsets in the gym unless they have been pre-sterilized
  • Allow social networking connections on workplace computers unless it's for work
  • Have water pipes inside your computer room or data center
  • Just have a single cooling source for your Data Center - have a backup
  • Use Flash on your website unless you really have to - not all Smartphones can handle Flash
  • Automatically believe that by putting loads of technology into your hotel that the guest experience will be enhanced

(c) Terence Ronson ISHC


Terence Ronson

Also See: Ask Me What I think of the iPad and I Would Say - Ay Caramba! / Terence Ronson / April 2010

What Color Is the Threat Level at Your Hotel? The Likelihood of a Cyber Security Breach Is as Real As it Gets / Terence Ronson / April 2010

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