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How Tech Will Make Your Hotel Room Feel Like Home (Or Better)

By Teresa Meek


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When you receive your morning wake-up call at theWit hotel in Chicago, there’s no robotic voice intoning, “It’s time for your wakeup call.” Instead, you can be rousted by a very different message:

“Hey you dirty rat, this is Al Capone reminding you to get your rotten bones out of that sack. Now get moving—I’ve got an overdue Valentine’s Day gift for Elliot Ness I’ve still got to deliver!” [Laughter and gun shots].

Or perhaps you’d rather hear Muddy Waters. Or Ann Landers. The touchscreen next to the phones in all of the hotel’s 310 rooms lets you choose who will urge you to rise and shine. Touch that same screen to request extra pillows, get a toothbrush or order meals—without ever picking up the phone.

That’s just the beginning of this high-tech hotel experience; when you leave your room, the corridors ring with the sound of crowing roosters in the morning—and hooting owls at night.

The hotel also has motion sensors that reset the thermostat to an energy-efficient temperature when you leave and readjust it to your own setting when you return. There’s even a voice that offers a personal greeting when you enter your room, bidding you a good morning, afternoon or evening.
How Tech Will Make Your Hotel Room Feel Like Home (Or Better)
Welcome to today’s hotels, driven by the Internet-of-things technology, allowing it to personalize guests’ experiences. As far as it has come, it is still evolving to create an even more customized experience over the next few years.

“We want to make it easy for the guests,” says Christina Santarelli, theWit’s director of marketing. “These types of amenities make travel more user-friendly going into the future.”
Technology Revolution
Hotel technology has taken giant steps in the past few years to provide guests with the comfort and entertainment of their choosing, says Nelson Garrido, senior vice president of service delivery for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a global hotel management company. In the past, hotels offered pay-TV movies. Then they tried providing a variety of cables and connectors in an effort to let guests hook up their devices to the hotel TV set, but “nine times out of 10, guests could never get it to connect, or it wasn’t right for their device,” Garrido says.

Now, Samsung and other providers are currently working with hotels on technology to let guests display their content on the big screen through their mobile devices.

In the wireless Internet age, guests increasingly expect a personalized experience abroad as well as at home. That can be tough on hotels, as rapid changes in technology make it difficult and expensive for them to adapt. A few years ago, hotels equipped themselves to handle two mobile devices per guest. Now, guests may have three or more, and just when they thought they had needs covered, hotels have to build more robust networks. Guests who used to email data files now want to download movies, which puts a heavier burden on hotels’ Internet connections.
Razzle Dazzle
But the lodging business is competitive, and hotels will do what it takes to keep up with guest demands. Shining examples of today’s cutting-edge connectivity include:

Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. When guests enter a room, the curtains open and music plays while climate control switches on. Everything reverts back to the hotel’s setting when they leave the room and returns to the guest’s preferences when they come back. Preferences are also recorded and stored for the next visit. At hotel restaurants, digital menus impress guests while giving the hotel valuable real-time information about what’s selling and what’s not. Slot machines and video poker stations also collect data on use, allowing the hotel to update its selection in accordance with guest whims.

Royal Mansour in Marrakech. Tradition combines with high-tech in this hotel, which is designed like a traditional medina, with an outer wall, winding garden paths, and rooms with classic tile patterns and hand-woven fabrics. But rooms also feature a touchscreen wall that lets guests control lighting and temperature or request services.

• New York’s Yotel. Here, luggage is stored by robots, motorized beds can be rearranged to create space, and dining tables can be raised or lowered with a switch.

Hotel 1000 in Seattle. Body-heat-detecting infrared sensors let the housekeeping staff know when guests have left their rooms, and guests can test the velocity and accuracy of their swings with a “virtual golf club.”

Other technologies being tested in the hotel industry include allowing guests to preset their lighting and temperature preferences before arriving and the ability to unlock the door with their smartphone.

Teresa Meek is a Seattle-based writer who covers technology, healthcare, careers, education, and other topics for news organizations and Fortune 500 companies. Her work has been published in Forbes, Newsday, the Miami Herald, and the Seattle Times.

Source : Forbes Samsung BusinessVoice

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