Five technological trends hotels must consider to keep up with guests' demands:
1) Expandable Wi-Fi and connectivity Hotels must ensure that their Wi-Fi can deal with consumer demand both now and in the future, as the explosion in the use of personal devices like iPads and smartphones places more of a stress on hotel Wi-Fi capabilities. Talk to your ISP to ensure you have enough coverage to cope around the hotel.
2) LED televisions The first wave of flatscreen televisions used LCD technology but these are gradually being superseded by LED TVs, which offer better picture quality and consume much less energy. Several TV manufacturers will also offer an internet-enabled option, which is also important for the future.
3) Coaxial cabling is not dead Many new-build hotels or those which have refurbished recently have installed structural Cat 5 or Cat 6 cabling, but have neglected to use the traditional means of delivering TV signalling to televisions - coaxial. The cable offers better signal quality to televisions than Cat 5 and Cat 6 and can handle around 1,000 channels. Future techologies may require it, and it also improves reliability because it means if your internet connection goes down, customers don't lose the TV at the same time.
4) TV as the hub While some of the technology exists already, guests are incresingly likely to expect to be able to use the in-room TV as a hub to manipulate their environment - dimming lights, opening and drawing curtains, controlling the air conditioning - through the use of dedicated apps.
5) Lifetime cost Hoteliers should consider the lifetime cost of the system they are installing - and not just the television but the delivery system behind it, and ensure that it will keep up with fast-paced changes in technology for as long as possible.
Caterer and Hotelkeeper was speaking to Jeff Summers of Airwave Europe at Hotelympia.
By Neil Gerrard
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