Hotels are traditionally good to business travelers. Honestly, business travelers make up the largest portion of most hotels’ guest books, especially in metro areas. Chains like Hyatt and Hilton have been catering to these intrepid marketeers for decades, and it’s no coincidence that such individuals are keenly aware of which hotel offers what for free.
In order to target and attract the business traveler market, many amenities have become as common as an extra towel in the room.
- 24 hour gift shop
- On-site convenience store
- Free parking
- Airport and convention center shuttle service
- Complimentary breakfast buffet
- 24-hour fitness center
- Year-round (indoor/outdoor) swimming pool
- On-site dry cleaning service and laundry facilities
In order to stand out, many hotels are getting somewhat creative with their offerings, especially in regards to technology. As is the case in most every industry, whoever offers the most cutting edge technology for the lowest price – or for free – wins. That said, there are apparently many different ways that technology can be used to specifically attract business travelers.
The most common technological amenities are free Wi-Fi and 24-hour business centers. Most business travelers are used to high-speed Internet access in their rooms, but in many hotels there is often a CHARGE for the Wi-Fi access in public areas. To undercut the competition, some hotels are offering free public Wi-Fi. To beat that, some have even decided to offer 24-hour multi-station business/data centers with desktops, enterprise software, scanners, printers and copiers, and fax machines. Some hotels even employ on-call IT professionals, much like a night auditor.
On Demand Entertainment
For those travelers who aren’t heavy drinkers, i.e. those who you won’t find passed out at the hotel bar in a suit and tie, nights away from home in a hotel room can get a bit stale. Therefore, on-demand entertainment is becoming more common, especially in terms of movies and television shows. Netflix is beginning to appear in hotels around the world as are on-demand video games like Wii and PlayStation. Some chains will include an allotted amount of streaming time with your room purchase, and others will just let you go crazy on their dime.
Star Trek Style Computer Service
You’ve heard of Siri. The hotel equivalent is very simply a virtual concierge. For the daytime off hours, or for those who wish to explore their host city’s night-life, an online concierge smart-phone application is available for free from the hotel and can help you to find the best local hot spots. Some hotels will even loan the hardware at check-in so that you do not have to bother with the app download.
Wireless charging stations, ubiquitous in airports, are now standard in many hotel rooms. If for some reason you forget your charger, and we all know that this WILL happen from time to time, your hotel room can spare you total loss of connectivity, business paralysis and/or a trip to the local Apple Store. Hotel partner companies offer a variety of different charging configurations specifically for hotels. Units are capable of recharging everything from iPhones to laptops.
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Paul Moore works extensively with the travel and accomodation industry using plenty of tech himself. His job with Minot Hyatt House offers plenty of practice and functionality for his own business and personal projects that combine all the many facets of his life.