FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hotels Go High-Tech

With business booming (bookings were up 8% in 2004) and a bevy of new technologies at their disposal, the hospitality industry is looking to give hotels a high-tech upgrade. Among the innovations likely to appear in hotels over the next few years are:

  • Self-check-in kiosks, similar to those used by airlines to obtain boarding passes. The Holiday Inn chain is already piloting a check-in kiosk.
  • TVs that deliver guests' hometown news, as well as channels from around the world.
  • Docking stations for iPods (Hilton hotels have been providing iPod-friendly alarm clocks for the past year).
  • Lights that allow guests to adjust the wall color.
  • Ubiquitous, free Internet access.
  • Iris scanners in place of key cards.
  • Room cleaning systems that use an "ozone shock treatment" to wipe out foul odors, dust mites and mold.
  • Rooms that "remember" the preferences of frequent guests (temperature, TV stations, favorite room service orders, speed-dial numbers on the phone, etc.).
  • Pervasive sensors that monitor a guest's health and alert the front desk if a problem is detected. This may seem invasive to some, but may be welcomed by others, particularly elderly travelers.
  • Increased use of eco-friendly, organic amenities.

Through it all, hotels hope to distinguish themselves from the competition and increase guest satisfaction while cutting costs.

Source: CNN/Money