Mobile apps and iPads to be top hotel trends of 2011
'Concierge'-style smartphone apps and providing iPads to guests will be the top technology trends for hotels this year according to Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts.
Writing for HotelierMiddleEast, Mövenpick's vice president of technology Roger MacFarlane sees that mobility will be the cornerstone for tech-savvy business hotels.
"In today’s world it's rare not to find an individual with the ubiquitous smart phone, iPad or mobile device in their pocket or handbag. With the plethora of mobile applications available to any individual and the immediacy of the digital medium, it's little wonder that many hotel chains are developing and launching their own mobile applications to capture some of the digital market audience" MacFarlane explains.
Since guests look for immediacy and efficiency in hotel services, MacFarlane says, the best apps will do more than just make hotel reservations and offer directions.
Instead, they'll cater for a more personalised approach with choices of food and beverage and room amenities (such as a specific type of pillow) upon arrival and during their stay.
As for Apple's iPad? It's ready to "take over the world", MacFarlane predicts.
"With its big display, sexy look and feel-good factor, and a world of applications and online services in tow, iPad sales are only going to grow. So it makes sense that our hotels compliment their existing service offerings with iPad options from rental, digital books and digital collateral in guest rooms."
Hotels and resorts with small libraries and club lounges would benefit from ‘digital books’ from novels, magazines and daily newspapers, as well as videos. Guest relations and concierge staff can provide immediacy to guest requests about "what’s on?" by constantly being connected to sites which provide information on the city and local attractions.
According to MacFarlane, "the mobile apps development and launch by many hotel groups is a great indicator that emphasis on the digital world is a must, with iPads and mobile devices the icing on the cake."
According to a poll conducted late last year by USA Today 61% of hotel guests wanted hotels to make the iPad available to borrow or rent from the front desk, or even to be included for free in up-scale rooms.
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