Hotels Upgrade Tech to Meet Guests' Demands

Article excerpt

Hotels are adopting new technologies or tapping existing ones to enhance the guest experience and better serve customers in an increasingly mobile age.

With hotel guests becoming more reliant on smartphones and other mobile devices such as iPads and laptops, demand for faster and more seamless technology before and after check-in is growing, experts say.

To that end, some hotels are installing self-service kiosks in lobbies, or arming front desk staff with handheld devices to speed the check-in process, while others allow frequent travelers to digitally check in online and even select their own rooms.

At Homewood Suites by Hilton in Dania Beach, Fla., guests who are Hilton Honors members can take advantage of its e-check-in and suite selection services.

"It's fairly popular with our regular guests," General Manager Mike Walker said of the services that allow them to check in online, or preselect the suite of their choice up to 36 hours prior to arrival.

Although usage numbers weren't available, Walker said the digital services were relatively new to the hotel, which opened in 2009, and used mostly by business travelers.

"The road warriors really like this feature," he noted. "It does save people some time."

Management at Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham in West Palm Beach, Fla., knew it needed to find a fix for the hotel's Internet service based on the "slow" and "sporadic" comments it often got on the hotel reviews website TripAdvisor. …