Hotels suit up on tech to attract guests

As travelers demand more technology extras from hotels, innkeepers see need to constantly improve such services for their guests.

With both leisure and business travelers increasingly demanding hotels to make available added tech-based services, hotels said they are consciously making an effort to enhance the technology extras they provide their guests.

Three hotels--Pan Pacific Singapore, Meritus Mandarin Singapore and Parkroyal Hotels and Resorts--told ZDNet Asia, wireless Internet is the technology service their guests most demand, making it imperative for these hotels to ensure it is continuously improved.

Foo Say Twang, group IT manager, Parkroyal Hotels and Resorts, said since it first started providing wireless Internet access five years ago, the hotel has constantly been improving the coverage and bandwidth of its wireless connection.

Cheryl Ng, public relations manager of Pan Pacific, attributed the demand for faster Internet access by guests to the growing number of business transactions and processes happening online globally.

Lim Ee Jin, assistant vice president of marketing communications and public relations, Meritus Hotels and Resorts, said leisure visitors also find Internet services to be useful as these allow them to contact their families and friends, or source for travel information.

The Meritus Mandarin recently extended wireless coverage to more guest floors, public areas, function rooms and its business center, said Lim in an e-mail interview.

Ng said in an e-mail, business travelers staying at the Pan Pacific also have several other technological amenities available. Guest rooms are equipped with an audio-visual portal with cables for interconnectivity, allowing them to connect their notebooks to the LCD television. This gives them a platform to view their presentation slides, she explained.

Leisure guests too can utilize this feature to display pictures or listen to songs by connecting their camera or MP3 player as well, Ng said.

The hotels too are taking advantage of the Internet to allow guests to make reservations online.

For example, Lim said the Meritus Mandarin has observed a rising number of reservations being made through its Internet portal.

Tech features to come
The executives also discussed other technology features hotels could provide their guests in future.

Foo suggested Wi-Fi devices such as Wi-Fi phones be installed in guest rooms in view of the increasing demand for wireless Internet.

Also, touch-screen displays could be installed in guests' rooms allowing video conferencing, Wi-Fi connectivity and hotel interim onscreen billing, thus increasing interactivity between the hotel and the guest, he added.

Lim said: "As guests become better-heeled and technology savvy in today's digital world, they will definitely expect more unparalleled technological advancements to enhance their comfort and entertainment."

However, despite the demand for technology being so high, Lim said it is not the only issue travelers take into consideration. Factors such as location and price would still be equally important to any traveler.

Based in Singapore, Konrad Foo is an intern with ZDNet Asia.

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