Whats your most varied/quirky hotel experience/service vs Hotel Tech ?Back to Forum
Having just read the “Hotel Tech” article in the April 2019 BT Asia Pacific publication (a great read), made me think that whilst I love hi-tech hotel room amenities – the true hospitality service (people interaction) can go out the window in lieu of technology some times.
When in Zurich I used to stay in the Schweizerhof Hotel (opposite ZRH train station) – the rooms were spotless and much to my initial surprise they had a “Chocolate Concierge” who each evening (at around 5 to 6 pm) would come via your room offering you an evening port and a block of Swiss chocolate, you could choose from a number of chocolate bars too. He used to be dressed in a dinner suit and was a lovely, chatty elder gentleman. What great service and such an true Swiss experience. I don’t know if they still do this – I hope they do, I have told so many people of this, oh plus the hotel gives you a metal room key too.
Re “Hotel Tech” – my new favorite offering is a switch that is beside the bed and simply says “All Lights Off” – love it! I saw this in the new Sofitel Darling Harbour (Sydney) – I can’t begin to tell you how hard it can sometimes be in hotels to navigate through the lights off routines / shenanigans!1 May 2019
Glad you enjoyed the article. One of the themes that came through in the interviews I did for it is that, while technology can often deliver a lot, hotels should not forget about providing a human touch.
1 user thanked author for this post.2 May 2019
Too right about hotel room lights! It would also be nice if hotels could provide a proper reading light: not a spot light in the ceiling which shines straight into your eyes, and not a light which lights the whole room to the discomfort of a non-reading partner.2 May 2019
Isn’t it time someone invented a hotel key-card that didn’t fail if it’s put next to a phone? I can’t recall how many trips I’ve made back to reception in my time to get the damn things re-coded, and usually after a long journey when a call of nature needs to be answered!
Agree about lights, I’ve been in hotels where there are two or three switches per light, and unless the combination is correct, it’s impossible to switch on or off.
Airconditioning which can’t be switched off and windows that don’t open is another pet hate.3 May 2019
On a recent trip to MIA, my wife and I had booked into a budget hotel near the airport and the Metro system. When we arrived at our hotel we were told via an intercom that we had been moved to a sister hotel 3 blocks away. We were also told that an email had been sent to us advising us of this. This conversation was had whilst aircraft were taking off directly overhead every 45 seconds or so. Now, I’m retired and so do not have the benefit of a business account to pay for my phones wifi, so I do not make a habit of logging on when I arrive at a destination outside of the eurozone. The email had indeed been sent during our 10 hour flight from LHR. Not really any good for me.
At no time during our stay did we have any interface with a member of the staff except the cleaner. If this is the future of Hotels I’m going to have to savvy up my tech expertise.10 May 2019
Unfortunately, it seems to be the way of the future at hotels. With booking on line, checking in on your phone, using your phone as your room key, automated check-out, you can literally stay at a hotel and never have an interaction with any of the team. I much prefer the personal touch of the luxury brands or independent hotels, like the story Geeman told regarding a Chocolate Concierge. That’s service, and that’s what I look for in a hotel before all the high tech.10 May 2019
At the Yu Garden Renaissance Hotel in Shanghai – I’d forgotten something basic like toothpaste or a razor and rang guest services to ask if I could have one. A few minutes later a robot appears at the door, hatch opens, said item is inside. I retrieve and robot wizzes off in the direction of the lifts.10 May 2019
at 11:4710 May 2019
@capetonianm – Couldn’t agree with you more! I love human interaction and being of a certain age I can actually talk to people, without having my face in my mobile. Another of my pet ‘hates’ these days is when disembarking from an aircraft, and encountering slow moving passengers who are face down in their mobiles checking their oh so important facebook updates. I am also not afraid to, as I swerve around them, give them shit! – God I hate this world of ‘mainly’ unimportant social media that anyone under 40? lives in.
And yes, I do qualify to be a fully paid up member of the ‘Grumpy Old Men’ Society.12 May 2019
I, too, hate the depersonalisation of service and always choose the human option if it is available in supermarkets and the like.
The main driver of automation of service is labour cost – if we are willing to pay the extra for traditional service, I am sure it will continue to be available. One of the consequences of building walls and tightening up on immigration (via Brexit, for example, especially if the Government are serious about the £30,000 pa entry requirement) is that operators will increasingly turn to technology as an alternative to waiters/ room attendants/ check-in clerks/ cleaners, jobs many local populations will not undertake.
Maybe the future will offer us the choice, at booking, of “No human service – FREE”, “With Human Interaction – add $40”.13 May 2019
@tominscotland — But you are talking about Hotels and services in UK.
Lets forget about UK and it’s ‘particular’ mess and talk about Hotels and services abroad. Where I live in the Gulf, for 40 years they have been using cheap sub-continent labour, and more recently the new Labour market is Sub-Saharan Africa, with many Ugandans and Kenyans on the scene these days.(Doha Airport security is almost entirely staffed by them with not a Qatari to be seen anywhere). Also Nepalis have become much more prevalent recently with girls taking over supermarket check-outs almost entirely.
Anyway the point I am making is that here in the Gulf they are maintaining very low labour costs and due to the market crisis in these parts, in what jobs are available, applicants are being asked what is the lowest salary one would accept. However costs (to us) keep rising and spiraling upwards and onwards. Just to give an example, the Phillipina who serves you your beer 20 years ago used to get a salary of about 700dhs and now gets perhaps a 1000 if she is a senior girl, but the cost for us has gone 4 times! So the owners (locals) get greedier and richer.
So this new mode of ‘no personal interaction’ will not happen anytime soon in these parts. In fact in hotels, they train them excessively and specifically on the personal interface with guests/customers, and shop check outs are all still ‘manned’ or should I say mainly ‘womanned’ by sub-continent/south asian staff. Corner grocery shops still have ‘boys’ who come out to serve you at your car window, and also by bicycle deliver a ‘tin of tuna and a packet of Marlboro Lights’ to your accommodation. Shawarma shops also still deliver to your car window outside.
Perhaps the only sector where lack of human interface is actually happening in these parts, is at airports and it is the computerisation of security in relation to passengers that has fueling this change. In general I accept this, although I still try to avoid auto check-in kiosks, I prefer to ‘chat-up’ the lovely girl at the desk, but then again I am, as people often say, incorrigible.13 May 2019
alainboy56, I recognise that things are different according to region. Of course, employment of low skills expatriate workers in the Gulf in the service sector (and in jobs such as construction) raises all sorts of wider ethical issues which, perhaps, makes robotisation actually desirable. Begs the question whether any job (even a bad job) is better than no job at all?14 May 2019