Alec Hills - Jul 31, 2007

Technological development affects all industries and the tourism industry is definitely not an exception. There is for example the Hotel of Tomorrow (HOT) project in which US-based group of experts makes predictions of the future of hotels. They speak about personal robotic butlers, voice-activated smart rooms or biometric monitors that adjust lighting, temperature, and humidity based on customers health needs and personal preferences. All these things might sound a bit too fantastic. The reality now however shows that the technological equipment of a hotel is important for its visitors. In the past, hotel visitors enjoyed amenities they did not have at home, but nowadays hotels often offer older equipment than a traveler uses at their own place. That is why hotels upgrade their technological equipment to match their visitors’ needs. Hotels need to offer high-definition flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations and a wider selection of programming, preferably available on demand. As Henry Harteveldt, a vice president and travel analyst of Forrester Research said: "All of this goes back to recognizing that customers want more control." Some hotels have already started with the upgrades. For example, Marriott International planned to offer large high-definition LCD televisions in all guest rooms in the United States and Canada at three of its brands: Marriott, JW Marriott and Renaissance. Hilton installs flat-screen TVs in all its North American guest rooms and W Hotels wants to equip all its rooms with iPod docking stations. Not only hotels see the upgrades as important. Singapore Airlines is introducing a free entertainment system featuring 1,004 on-demand music and video options. They also offer the passengers the possibility to use office applications and save their work on a portable flash drive. The US airlines in general do not invest much into such amenities although there are some exceptions like e.g. Delta Air Lines.


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