Hotel Technology Trends

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The life of human beings has always been in constant transformation and continuous evolution. In the modern society, the development of technology determines the satisfaction level of needs of each individual. The more consummate are people, the better products can be created; the more efficient are industries, the more qualitative services can be provided. Therefore, the main goal at this level of growth is the improvement of technology in every aspect of people's lives.

Wi-Fi

It is obvious that everybody relies on portable devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets, among others. While traveling, regardless of the journey type, people use mobile technologies and, therefore, they expect to have Internet connection whenever possible and wherever they go. For both business and leisure travelers, free Internet, especially wireless local area networks that allow unwired connection to the World Wide Web through radio waves, is considered a must in hotels all over the world. A recent survey conducted by McCarthy (2015), reveals that more than fifty percent of business travelers require access to Wi-Fi in chosen hotels (see fig. 1). Moreover, over a third of them states that they would not pay additional visits to organizations that do not meet this expectation. Bad Internet quality negatively influences work and translates into undesired business losses for both sides.

 

Advantages and Positive Short- and Long-Term Effects

The guests are not the only ones who benefit from Internet access. In fact, the use of Wi-Fi by hotels has long-term effects such as increased customer satisfaction and higher income, which results in long-term profitability (Nelson, 2014). Thanks to Wi-Fi access, the housekeeping employees may be immediately notified after a guest leaves the room to start a cleaning process. Bellmen can perform their tasks more efficiently as well because real-time communication with customers enables them to serve the clientele better. Additionally, the check-in process can be performed electronically, leading to personnel shortages and higher revenue. Wi-Fi allows customization exactly to the liking of an individual. Consequently, if a hotel room is always set up the way the customers desire, they will leave positive reviews and return to the institution on future trips.

Disadvantages and Negative Short- and Long-Term Effects

However, providing free high-speed Internet access can be devastating for the hotelier's budget. Therefore, according to Trejos (2014), most chain organizations such as Marriott, Hilton, or AHLA are starting to offer Wi-Fi only for extra payments. This trend has emerged after 92% of the lodging institutions began granting premium free of charge Wi-Fi at their cost and started losing revenue. The lack of encryption during the utilization of the free Internet is also a negative long-term effect because it allows hackers to use information leaks and obtain personal information such as passwords and customers' credit card numbers, leading to trials against the service providers.

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RFID Key Cards

Until recently, the main ways to improve the lodging industry have been televisions, Internet access, and comfortable beds, while locks have remained unchanged. However, with the introduction and growing popularity of frequency-based identification technologies, hoteliers can fascinate customers before they actually observe the ordered room and, at the same time, reduce maintenance costs. RFID key cards are used and programmed by being placed into the field of a digital device as opposed to utilizing a magnet reader (Turner, 2014).

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Advantages and Positive Short- and Long-Term Effects

One of the most significant advantages of an RFID system over magnet readers is the lifespan of the technology. Typical magstripe cards encompass a finite number of uses before failing. The RFID keys, on the other hand, serve much longer because of digital rather than magnetic devices and the absence of physical contact (Turner, 2014). Although the longevity of the cards severely influences the production cost, the price has remained at a manageable point of approximately 1$ per key. More crucial than the locks themselves are the encoders. These devices have no moving parts, thus ensuring increased reliability of successful first-time programming (Turner, 2014). The developer of this technology states that the biggest advantage of RFID locks is the track of activities. RFID locks allow immediately knowing about any occurring issues or receiving data on who has gained access to the room, hence supporting not only lodging business but also preventing crime. The door locks can be connected to other in-room technology, allowing adjustments and monitoring even while customers are away. In a few years, rooms could be unlocked merely using an RFID technology embedded into a smartphone or tablet (Turner, 2014).

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Disadvantages and Negative Short- and Long-Term Effects

However, the new identification system possesses some negative aspects. RFID can only function if there is enough signal strength. At the same time, in some sections of hotels dead spots may occur, making it impossible to enter a room (WTA, 2014). Additionally, all metallic objects weaken the RF signal; therefore, installation in an institution with a metal interior is unprofitable. Finally, the most worrying disadvantage of key cards is the unauthorized reading of personal information. It is becoming crucial to implement this technology in passports and credit cards. If a hotel device obtains this information, the act will be seen as a violation of the law and may result in serious problems for hoteliers (WTA, 2014).

Conclusion

The development of technology allows the modern society to evolve further and creates opportunities for comfortable and safe living, which should be embedded not only in chain lodging institutions but also in private hotels. The long- and short-term effects of Wi-Fi, online booking systems, and RFID key card are mostly positive; therefore, their implementation in any institution is crucial for prosperity and customer satisfaction, thus contributing to high levels of net revenue.

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