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How many times have you gone to use your smart phone, only to become annoyed when you remember it’s charging across the room? (Hello, #firstworldproblem!)

Nowadays, technology is simply expected. Our smartphones might as well be an extension of our fingers and we’ve become used to constant hits of digital tech in our lives. A recent study sponsored by the Wall Street Journal explored this topic as it relates to the hospitality/hotel industry. They looked at how guests’ digital expectations are changing the features they demand in hotels.

“[Technology is] no longer what the hotel wants to supply as a differentiator, it’s what the guest expects to see when they are in your hotel.” – David Adelson, CEO Intelity

Here are the key trends that stood out to me in the study:

Service Automation

Guests prefer to do common hotel activities through self-service options, rather than over the phone or in-person. Some people think that’s antisocial, I just call it efficient. Tasks like contacting housekeeping, ordering room service, requesting valet, and even checking in can all be done more quickly by utilizing technology.

Virtual concierge systems, digital signs, touch screens, and ticketing kiosks can be included in guest rooms, lobbies, and community spaces to streamline the experience.

Tech Hub Lobby

The hotel lobby is no longer just a way-station, and technology offerings need to reflect that. Even when working independently, people love to work around other people (think coffee shops,) so the lobby becomes a big technological gathering space. Hotel guests have many devices so hotels need to make it easy to charge them and plug in to interactive networks.

Touch screen software in lobbies also become important. Touch screens are being used for everything from way-finding and looking up local attractions to printing boarding passes and acting as a virtual concierge.

Digital Signage Rules

Digital signs are quickly replacing print, and with good reason. They can be instantly updated on a whim, ensuring relevancy for all guests. Touch screens can provide property information, directions, meeting/conference room information, restaurant menus, and more.

Even more creative uses like displaying digital art have been seen with video walls and digital sign software. Digital signs help to continue a cohesive, on-trend high tech image for the hotel.

What tech trends have you noticed in hotels recently? What features do you wish more hotels were adopting?

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