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The underappreciated city of Minneapolis served as host for the 2019 edition of HITEC (produced by HFTP) which wrapped up its most recent four-day run on June 20, 2019. In the days and weeks leading up to the event, meeting solicitations and party invites filled my inbox at a growth rate any VC or entrepreneur would envy. As a first-timer to this international hospitality technology behemoth, it became apparent that HITEC actually begins a few weeks prior to when that first request or invitation lands in your over-stuffed inbox.

Time is limited. Once it’s gone, you can’t gain it back. Similarly, once a room goes unsold for a night, it will go unsold forever. There’s no way to recover that loss, because there’s no way to go back in time.
 
Many hotels fight this limitation by trying to sell as many rooms as possible. If all the rooms are completely booked, time no longer becomes a factor. But most don’t have the luxury of being at-capacity every single night. That’s why last-minute booking apps are growing in popularity in the industry, where hotels can make the most of each day. These apps specifically target guests who don’t plan far in advance, seeking accommodations from one week to one minute later.
 
There are several different ways your hotel can benefit from using last-minute booking apps in your business strategy.

IoT is Coming, Jon Snow…
Posted: 05/21/2019

Hospitality is prime for the coming advent of the various devices that make up the Internet of Things. Estimates show the industry now represents 17.5 million rooms worldwide and savvy guests are demanding more personalization and an overall improved guest experience along their connected travel journey and belief is that IoT can bring this to reality. 

The forces driving local search rankings are constantly changing. But recent studies suggest that in 2019, four key factors make up the local search algorithm. 
 
The most significant factor is Google My Business (GMB). If you’re not on it, get on it now.

The robotic revolution in the hospitality industry might seem to have taken a step back. This January, the famously quirky Henn-Na Hotel in Japan fired half of its 243 robot staff. The robotic workforce reportedly irritated guests and frequently broke down.



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The Benefits of Wireless Charging to Hotels and Their Guests

03/06/2019
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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