ITB 2024 Special Reporting
The Do's and Don'ts of Hotel Technology.
By Terence Ronson ~ Pertlink Limited
Saturday, 10th December 2005
As part of our 5th Anniversary celebrations, we'd like to give this checklist to the industry. These are our thoughts, and you will have to decide as you work your way through the checklist whether they match your business style and environment.

Do put at least three guest use power sockets at the desk inside the guestroom.

Don't goto the expense of placing a plasma TV in the room, if it cannot be seen when working at the desk.

Do put a power socket by the bedside specifically for the guest to use.

Don't deploy a VoD system just so your guests can watch porn - make it more of an information center.

Don't overprice HSIA (high speed internet access - wired and wireless).

Do teach your staff how to offer first line tech support to guests who may have connectivity issues - Don't just rely on the IT dept.

Do put an A/V connection panel in your room so the guest does not have to fumble around trying to connect their notebook, camera or MP3 player to the back of the TV.

Do create always-on power sockets so guests can leave their notebooks on (and connected to the internet) while they are out of the room.

Do try to work for a few hours at the desk in your own hotel rooms, and see if you like it. Come to think of it, you should also sleep in the bed, use the toilet and take a shower...

Do try and make a booking via your own hotel website, and see how easy it is.

Do remember that business travelers are not only men.

Do not put 'last updated' on your website, especially if you don't it frequently.

Do understand that when buying technology for your hotel you start a journey that has no destination.

Do not give away (outsource) your services (like broadband) to 3rd party companies unless you really have no option.

Do think carefully about selecting an 'interfaced solution' versus an 'integrated solution'.

Do focus on your cabling infrastructure ensuring it's robust and flexible enough to evolve with the business.

Do place a chair at the desk that is easy to slide in and out, and not just a dining table type. Make sure it can up and down also - not all people are the same height.

Don't just place 3-in-1 coffee in your Tea/coffee making facilities - place good and simple plain coffee also.

Do not clutter the desk with loads of collaterals - make it free and clear, ready for the guest to use.

Do check the TV channels reception in your rooms, and not just the channels you like to watch.

Do remember that guests are carrying more items of technology these days, with varying (international) power plugs.

Do understand that your guests perceive the phone on the desk, or the one beside the bed to be too expensive to use - and by default, will prefer to use their mobile phone.

Don't place a clock at the bedside if it cannot be read when the lights are off, and the room is dark.

Do bear in mind that the experience of staying in your hotel will most likely start at your website. If that's unattractive, so will be your hotel.

Do note that if you replace CRT type displays on your reception counter with flat panels, consider viewing angles, the working position of staff, and how to maintain eye contact with guests.

Do replace paper based banquet event signage or the type that uses white plastic or brass letters with multimedia display panels.

Do think about disabling all the USB ports on your hotel's PCs. They are open to abuse and pilferage of (valuable) data.

Do make it easy for people to work anywhere in your hotel - give them access to power sockets.

Do have an electronic currency exchange rate indicator at your Front Desk.

Do bear in mind that if your lights are programmed to turn off when the room key is removed from it's holder, that you give guests at least one minute to exit the room before turning off the power.

Do select in-room safes that have internal power sockets so items can be charged while safely stowed away

Do not have staff use Walkie-talkies, unless they have discreet ear pieces.

Do cut cables instead or leaving long trailing or curled up wires in rooms.

Do place a rechargeable flashlight by the bed that automatically illuminates during an emergency or power failure.

Do not place a PC in each of your guestrooms. It's a waste of money.

Do think about placing a full size keyboard inside the desk drawer for guest use. But at the same time, consider how to keep it clean.

Do remember that if you plan to place a glass surface desk in a guestroom, it's almost impossible to use a mouse, unless you place a mouse mat.

Do understand that technology will fail and most likely at the worst possible time - like the Friday afternoon of a long weekend. Be prepared!

Do not overcharge for services in the Business Center - like printing a singe A4 page - especially if your room rates are already high.

Do not believe that just by deploying technology in your hotel service levels will increase. This is a people business.

Do make the lighting levels in your guestrooms dimmable - from very bright to a nice warm and cozy mood.

Do place a shaving mirror close to the shaver socket.

Do try and place the in-room safe at a reasonable height and not one where you have to get down on all fours to try and enter the PIN.

Do be conscious that if you put labels on switches that are next to the bed, remember that the guest may be reading them upside down - and without spectacles.

Do have a switch which has a small glowing light that the guest can easily find when waking up in a darkened room, often disoriented by jet lag and unfamiliar surroundings.

Do understand that the guest may only stay in your hotel for one day, and cannot spend time working their way through complex remote control devices, often labeled in a language that is unfamiliar to them.

Don't place a speaker volume control in the bathroom, unless it works.

Do remember that guests trust their mobile phones as alarms more than they do your call center to wake them up.

Do have excellent bathroom lighting - consult with a woman to tell you if it's the right level.

Do have the Room Attendant pay attention to the noise level of the room fan coil, and report it to engineering (for immediate remedial action) if it's noisy.

Do stock the most popular type mobile phone battery chargers in your Business Center.

Do have DVD players available for Guest use. Don't just have PC's in your Internet corners, have a MAC as well.

Do print your Instant Messenger address on your Business card.

Do insist that your staff use a spell checker on all documents before sending them out.

Do make sure that all software used in your business is legal.

Do use the freely available technologies like RSS, Google Earth and Podcasting to help promote your business.

Do put an internet browsing station in your staff canteen or recreation area. Encourage your staff to check email during breaks and get familiar with the technology.

Do get your technology vendors to update you twice a year on what is happening with their products. Don't just look at the hospitality industry when thinking about technology - look everywhere.

Do consider making information about your property downloadable into a PDA for easy reference by your guests.

Do not change any configuration or settings on a guest's computer unless you have their written approval on a liability waiver form.

Do perform regular system backups, and keep your data backup off-site.

Do make sure that the staff who escort a guest to a room informs them that your hotel has in-room HSIA installed, and offers to help make the connection.

Do hire Pertlink as your IT Consultant.

Copyright Pertlink Limited

We welcome the idea of growing the list, and contributions can be sent to: terence@pertlink.net


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