WiFi, RFID, and the Guest Experience

Previously on GuestIQ, Jim noted the CNN article “Is the iPhone hurting AT&T’s Brandand pointed out that Wi-Fi support could hurt hotels similar to how the iPhone may be hurting AT&T’s brand.

In the 4hoteliers article, the article mentions that guests’ expectations are growing.  Guests today expect more technology in the room, such as Wi-Fi, on-demand cable television, and instant access to movies and music.  The article mentions that a hotel chain, City Inn, won Hotel Reports Innovator for the year in 2009 with an Apple multimedia entertainment system, webcam, and free Wi-Fi broadband internet throughout the hotel.  With the webcam and speedy internet access, City Inn would be able to meet the guests’ expectations to stay connected with family and friends while at the hotel.

While such technological advances are exciting, the complicated systems require expert tech support.  How frustrating is it to know that internet access is available, but not be able to connect?  Should guests really spend an hour of their stay troubleshooting technology issues?

Recently, J.D. Power & Associates reported in their study 2009 European Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study that nearly one in five hotel guests report on experiencing a problem during their stay and that connection and speed of Internet access was one of the top reported problems.

The 4hoteliers article also mentions that RFID technology, or radio-frequency identification, have been useful.  RFID tags are incorporated into a product for the purposes of identification and tracking using radio waves.  The article mentions that the technology would be helpful at conferences, since it allows guests to locate their companions within the hotel.  Although it seems useful, I really wonder what privacy and security measures have been put in place for the hotels that have used RFID for those purposes.  Perhaps some conference attendees may not have wanted to be located.

Plus, since the Erin Andrews’ case, hotel security has been an increasing concern for the industry.  The case has brought an increased focus on security and guest privacy.  Some of the suggested methods for preventing people from looking through the guestroom door peephole are not high-tech.  For example, the article mentions that guests could just put Vaseline or duct tape over the peephole.

Read the 4hoteliers article here.

Read about the J.D. Power & Associates 2009 European Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study here.

Read about the Erin Andrews’ case here.

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