IntroductionIn regards to a successful marketing and sales trendsin the hotel & hospitality industry, it’sbeneficial for managers to keep up with the latest and greatest consumertechnology. Doing soprovides theguests at their hotel with a positive experience that can result in maintainingtheirguests’ customer loyalty. It’s imperative for managers to understand that their guests desirethe same technology experience they have at their home or office when they travel. Anythingless – and managers risk losing the guests at their hotel for good. Therefore, it is necessary thathotel managers exceed the expectations of their guests by providing them with the best consumertechnology in order to gain advantage over their competitors.The Significance Of The I-padAccording to HotelExecutive.com, “the I-Pad is the fastest selling consumer electronic device inhistory, predicting that Apple will sell 100 million units by 2012.”(Horner, 2012) The fact isthatan I-pad is the most popular form of technology in today’s market. Yet another benefit of the I-Pad is that, “it has a very simple GUI (Guest User Interface) and new users both young and oldare able to use it almost immediately with little or no training.” (Horner, 2012) This isnoteworthybecause everyone is able to figure out how to use. As managers, knowing theevidence of the I-pads popularity among people and recognizing that it is our duty to fulfill andexceed people’s technology needs; results in the idea that making an I-pad available in each ofthe guests’ roomis a trend worth investing in.Reach And Scope Of The I-PadThe reach and scope of an I-Pad as it relates to businesses and organizations impacted are far-reaching. There are multiple businesses and organizations that have already integrated the use ofan I-Pad into their everyday business practices. According to PSFK.com, a website that inspirescreative business; there is a restaurant in Australia that has replaced their menus with I-pads. Asstated on the website, “customers use the restaurant-provided I-Pads to not only browse menuselections and order food, but access photos of every dish and even notify chefs of how theywant their steaks cooked.” (Moik, 2012)Also identified on the website is a wine vineyard inNaples, Florida that permits “wine connoisseurs to browse and order wine through theMediterranean restaurants 550 Wine Spectator-recognized wine list.” (Moik, 2012)Clearly theapps on the I-Pad for the restaurant in Australia and the wine vineyard in Florida benefit thecustomer by providing them access to what they want, as soon as they want. In addition, theseapplications also benefit the manager’s financial costs by saving them money on the cost of theirpaper menus and the wages of the waiting staff.The Benefits Of An I-pad In Guests RoomsAside from the benefit of making the guest feel at home, the I-pad can provide the guest withmany amenities that make life easier for them during the duration of their stay. The applications
available on an I-pad are limitless – and in the hotel industry there are numerous applicationsavailable. According to Tnooz.com, a travel technology website, “Tools on the device (whichalso come as part of an app for a guest’s own mobile handset) include temperature, lights andcurtain control, in-room dining orders, restaurant booking, spa reservations, housekeeping, aswell as information about the hotel and the local area.” (May 2011) In addition there are alsoapplications that allow the guest to schedule wake up calls and print boarding passes at the touchof a button. In correlation with the benefits towards the guests and management are apparent -the guests stay at the hotel becomes more relaxed & simplified and the management saves costson printing materials and employees are notified promptly instead of dealing with the timeconstraints involved with phone calls from their guests.The I-Pad And Its Impact On The World Of BusinessThe I-Pad revolution is amongst us, and it is undoubtedly impacting and shaping the waymanagers in the hotel industry are doing business. The two case studies found on the I-Pad andhow it has shaped and impacted the hotel industry is evident through how the Bel-Air Hotel andThe Mandarin Oriental in New York Citydo their business.The Bel-Air HotelThe effect of an I-Pad being available in each room has had a profound effect on the hotel &hospitality industry and there is an optimistic outlook for hotels and other businesses to use thisdevice to market their products and make life easier for the guest. The Bel-Air Hotel is a leadingexample of how they go about accomplishing that goal. They have discovered that marketingtheir food menu and offering their guests the luxury of ordering room service through the I-Padhas had meaningfully positive results. In comparison to the positive results that the Bel-Air hasexperienced, a hotel in Manhattan, New York, reported that “Seeing food photos and otherbuying options presented in a non-intrusive way often leads to more orders, and that’s why roomservice orders have increased 15 to 20 percent with the apps.”(Rodger) In regards to The Bel-Air, according to usatoday.com, “Bel-Air reported that 75% of people who order room serviceplace their order via the I-Pad included in their room.” (De Lorris, 2012)This is significantbecause it goes to show how Bel-Air’s guests are adapting to the technology trend. Positivebenefits for management have been reported as well because the I-Pad orders have aided thekitchen staff in better planning. USATODAY reports “once an order is made, explains AdamJones, the hotels tech chief, the I-Pad system run by Intelity communicates to the kitchensoftware run by Micros. The order is printed out for the room-service team and firedautomatically to the specific department, such as the beverage team for coffee orders or the teammaking egg dishes. A manager watches the orders and make sure it all happens in a timelymanner” (De Lorris, 2012)Reaction And Thoughts Towards The Bel-Air Hotel - Barcelona
We believe what The Bel-Air Hotel has accomplished is exactly what they envisioned and theirinnovation of room service through the I-Pad is what keeps them ahead of their competitors. It’sobvious that the room service ordering on the I-Pad has profoundly impacted their hotel and wefind it very interesting how the system works. Also, their ability to integrate the I-Pad with thepoint of sale is clearlybenefitting their sales and profits revenue. We believe the maincontributors of their success are that they are able to showcase their dishes with photos and evennutritional information on the I-Pad. We believe that most people prefer to stay technologyadvanced and prefer this method of room service over the existing.The Mandarin Oriental - BarcelonaMost everyone traveling to a hotel has internet access via their own laptop/cell phone or I-Padthrough Wi-Fi service that most hotels offer.However, regarding I-Padsand Wi-Fi service offeredby the hotel, there can be problems that arise with the service connection to the guests’technology devices; the fact is that the bandwidth for I-pad takes up a significant amount ofbandwidth so problems will always exist with the connectivity to the standard Wi-Fi that mosthotels use. Consequently, it is recommended that hotels upgrade to an unlimited free Wi-Fi. TheMandarin Oriental Hotel management took that thought into notion and upgraded their standardWi-Fi network to better suit their I-Pads wireless connectivity. This in turn extended the Wi-Fisignals and as stated by muniwireless.com, “The hotel has seen an 85 percent decrease in guestcomplaints after the upgrade.”(Vos, 2012)Reaction And Thoughts Towards The Mandarin Oriental HotelWe believe that The Mandarin Oriental Hotel – Barcelona did a remarkable job implementingunlimited free Wi-Fi service so the I-Pads in every guest room worked effectively. By themanagement staff offering extended Wi-Fi service to their guests, they are going the distance tooffering the latest and greatest consumer technology; which results in customer loyalty andpotentially attracts new guests as well. Nevertheless, in regards to the purchasing power of otherhotels, many may find it difficult to afford extended service. In this case, it’s suggested that theyslowly raise their rates to make up for the cost or management can charge the guests accordinglybased on their internet use. Otherwise, if management is hesitant to raise their rates or prefer notto charge their customers with additional fees in fear that it will lose their customer base; theycan make up for the costs of the unlimited free Wi-Fi with the revenue that they obtain from thesales generated through the I-pad that exists in each room.Interview with a Hotel ProfessionalWhen researching the effects the I-Pad and its applications can do in the hotel industry, we weresurprised to learn how much of an impact the trend is having. We wish we could have had theopportunity to conduct an interview with a hotel that has obtained I-Pads and placed them intheir guests rooms but there are few hotels in the world that have provided that technology fortheir guests. Since we were un-able to do so, we concluded that we would have to interview a
local hotel. Upon our decision, we focused our interview questions on gaining an understandingof how profitable and useful this new trend is compared to the existing culture within thehospitality industry.Laura Kendzior – Manager of Comfort Inn SuitesWhen we approached Laura Kendzior, Manager of the Comfort Inn Suites, we had our sourcesprinted out in regards to the I-Pad revolution in the business world. When we began sharing whatwe have learned with her, we recall she was interested in what we had to present. After sheglanced at our discoveries she agreed that the I-Pad would make life easier for the guests at herhotel. She explained that having the amenity to turn off lights/TV instead of getting of bed is aperk that anybody would love. After confirming that it would make the guests’ duration of stayat the hotel easier we then asked if it would make her employees’ job easier. She noted that theComfort Inn does not provide room service for their guests so the I-Pad wouldn’t be beneficialtowards the employees. However, she agreed that if you could check in/check out and notifyhousekeeping that would benefit the employees rather than having to deal with the timeconstraints of dealing with phones.Laura was very interested in the point of view we had about the I-Pad and its potential on howhaving that sort of technology present in the hotel would be a luxury. On the other hand, shemade clear that having an I-Pad in the Comfort Inn Suites won’t be happening anytime soongiven the circumstances. The interview was concluded when she said, the Comfort Inn does thebest they can with providing the guest with a positive experience, with the materials they canwork with.We concluded from the brief interview that the I-Pad trend will surely impact the businesslandscape of the hotel industry because it opens many new possibilities now and into the future.It’s recognized that the I-Pad is certainly capable of revolutionizing how management canoperate their hotels and provide a better experience to guests. But as of right now this trend ismuch more popular within high-end hotels who can clear large startup costs and have a clientelethat wants the best technology available to them--and are willing to pay for it. In the future webelieve that even the average hotel such as the Country Inn and Suites will use an I-pad orsomething similar to it when it becomes financially within reach.ConclusionThe hotel industry has a unique opportunity to show the worlds’ travelers that it is in synch withtheir needs, now and in the future. Hotels such as the Bel-Air and the Mandarin Oriental-Barcelona are a few hotels that have done so by providing their guests with the best consumertechnology availableat this time. Both of these hotels offering this luxury have reported financialgrowth and positive feedback from their guests and employees regarding their actions and thatwill support them in the continuous process of trying to stay ahead of their competitors. It’s nosecret; hotels staying up to date on consumer technology results keeps employees & guests fully
satisfied, which transcends into a positive atmosphere capturing the attention of the world aroundus. Most importantly, the best consumer technology excels profits and allows any business;whether hotel, restaurant, winery to succeed. In conclusion, as future managers, it’s imperativethat we recognize that we are in the hospitality business; and we have to be “hospitable” andaccommodate our guests’ needs.ReferencesHorner, T. (2012, 11 16). Top hotel technology trends in 2012. Retrieved fromhttp://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/2888/top-hotel-technology-trends-in-2012Moik, Y. (n.d.). 10 innovative uses of the i-pad. Retrieved fromhttp://www.psfk.com/2010/07/10-innovative-uses-of-the-ipad-by-the-hospitality-industry.htmlMay, K. (n.d.). Hotel puts ipad in every room, claims most hi-tech in town read more athttp://www.tnooz.com/2011/07/25/news/hotel-puts-ipad-in-every-room-claims-most-hi-tech-in-town/Rodger, Y. (n.d.). Room service with the tap of an i-pad screen. Retrieved fromhttp://phys.org/news/2011-07-room-ipad-screen.htmlDe Lorris, B. (2012, 4 27). I-pad revolutionizes iconic hotel bel-air. Retrieved fromhttp://travel.usatoday.com/hotels/post/2012/04/ipad-huge-hit-at-hotel-bel-air-75-room-Vos, E. (2012, 1 23). Hotels are upgrading wi-fi. Retrieved fromhttp://www.muniwireless.com/2012/01/23/hotels-upgrading-wifi-infrastructure-to-meet-ipad-iphone-users-needs/Kendzior, L. (2012, 11 16). Interview by Brandon Spreiter[Personal Interview]. I-Pad RevolutionInterview.