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Before I get into this week’s topic, a quick reminder that I really need to hear about what YOU have seen that is new or innovative in hospitality tech. Readers often ping me AFTER I write about a topic to tell me about some product or company I should also have looked at. It’s much more useful if you tell me BEFORE I write about it! And indeed, cool new companies I hear about from readers are often my inspiration for a topic. My contact info is at the end of this section, so please reach out … I’m always happy to spend time learning about new companies or products.

The ubiquity of mobile devices for both guests and staff, together with continual improvements in location technologies, has created new possibilities for serving guests and upselling. Nowhere is this more evident than in food and beverage. For many hotels, F&B is a low-profit or loss-leader product that could be moved to profit if just a few more sales opportunities can be found.

Hotels always talk about how focused they are on guest satisfaction. But studies such as the ACSI Travel Report consistently show hotels coming in way below even banks and limited-service restaurants in guest satisfaction, and just barely above airlines and gas stations. And it’s getting worse: 2019 showed a 1.3% drop over 2018. Net promoter scores for most major hotel brands are lowest for millennials and Generation X, which does not bode well for the future. A 2016 study by Revenue Strategy Summit showed that poor service delivery accounted for 56% of negative trip reviews.

Could QR codes revolutionize the hospitality industry? While far from being mainstream in Australia, the use of QR codes is on the rise thanks to improved technology and innovations in consumer engagement.

From the company’s simple beginnings in a Beijing apartment to the global expansion and recent major technology acquisitions, over a short period of time Shiji Group has experienced fantastic growth to serve a fully worldwide customer base. Looking back over the previous decade, Kevin King, COO of Shiji Group, shares the company’s background and pathway moving forward mixed with a desire to push the boundaries of technology for the hospitality industry. Below are some key takeaways from Mr. King’s article:



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The Benefits of Wireless Charging to Hotels and Their Guests

03/06/2019
by Brendon Granger
Screen-Shot-2019-03-06-at-1-13-40-PM.pngHotel guests commonly bring multiple devices with them during their stay. However, many hotel environments don’t provide easy access to charging outlets. This situation can lead to a guest feeling more than inconvenienced. A recent survey found almost 90 percent of people "felt panic" when their phone battery dropped to 20 percent or below.

This fear of a depleted battery and nowhere to recharge has led to the growing popularity of wireless charging.
 
When a smartphone is placed on a wireless charging pad, its battery instantly starts to power up.  You can get an in-depth overview of how wireless charging works in this article by Computerworld.
 
Wireless charging isn’t exactly new. The basic technology has been around for more than a hundred years.  However, it’s only started to become readily available as modern smartphones have started to support it. There are multiple industry standards, but the most popular wireless charging technology comes from Qi (pronounced “chee”). Not only is Qi supported by numerous Android devices (including Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and Huawei), but it’s also now supported by Apple's new iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
 
The fact that Apple has adopted Qi is significant, and almost certainly means that Qi will be the leading industry standard moving forward.
 
Wireless charging has started appearing in thousands of public spaces around the world, including restaurants, high street coffee shops and sports stadiums. Starbucks and McDonald's have also introduced the technology in select stores, and companies such as Ikea have built Qi chargers into their furniture. Wireless charging has also become more commonplace in airports and travel lounges. In 2012, Virgin partnered with Nokia to install the Fatboy Recharge Pillows in its Heathrow Airport lounges.


Screen-Shot-2019-03-06-at-1-14-08-PM.png
Hotels are already jumping on board. Wireless charging has been installed in a number of Accor hotels across Europe. Marriott hotels have also installed wireless charging stations in lobbies in the U.S. and many of its hotel rooms have clocks with wireless charging. Most recently mophie has installed its wireless chargers in all rooms at Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
 
As consumers start to see wireless charging appear more often in the places where they live, work and socialize, they'll expect it to be available in hotels, too. This will drive widespread industry adoption, so with that in mind, it's worth considering some of the specific benefits this could create.
 
The obvious benefit of wireless charging is that guests will be able to use charging pads or clocks in the hotel room, saving them the hassle of bringing – or forgetting – their own charging cables.  Overseas guests will also be spared from having to bring travel adaptors with them.
 
However, wireless charging doesn’t have to be restricted to in-room charging pads. The technology can also be integrated into alarm clocks, chairs and desks. This opens up the option for the technology to exist in hotel lobbies, club lounges, food and beverage outlets and function areas.  Seamless charging throughout a hotel will mean guests' can recharge on the move, without being tethered to their room.
 
Beyond added convenience for guests, the Qi wireless standard can also directly benefit the hotel.
 
Some solutions are available that use Bluetooth beacon technology integrated into the wireless charger to allow for continuous, real-time monitoring and data analytics for each individual charger.  This helps monitor success, optimize the placement of units and provide useful diagnostic information. The beacon technology also allows the hotel to interact with the guest in real time, using the wireless charger via opt in intelligent push notifications.
 
The future of wireless charging
Just as free Wi-Fi has become an expectation, wireless charging will be regarded as an essential hotel extra in the very near future.
 
The wireless charging market is predicted to be worth $37.2 Billion by 2022, increasing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 44.7 percent between 2016-2022. As most smartphones now support the technology, it seems inevitable that it’ll become ubiquitous in our daily lives.
 
It’s true that wireless charging adoption in the hotel industry is still limited, but that fact indicates a golden opportunity for tech-savvy hotels to adopt the technology now in order differentiate from the competition and offer an added value that more guests will appreciate.
 
About The Author
Brendon Granger
Director
Technology4Hotels


With a great passion for all things hotels, but in particular technology and a desire to help others, his role as director at Technology4Hotels allows him to do both.

Brendon has worked with hundreds of hotels to help them with their in-room technology. In the last few years he has helped them to increase guest satisfaction, strengthen guest loyalty and encourage repeat bookings as well as win awards such as the best business hotel, best city hotel, best upscale hotel and best luxury hotel in Australasia.

Always going the extra mile, Brendon began his hospitality career over 25 years ago working in five-star hotels whilst completing his bachelor of business in hotel management. He has held various management positions within five-star hotels, worked as a consultant in both hotel feasibility and technology and has an extensive background in hotel technology.

 
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