Business Travel – Hotel Rooms Go Hi-Tech

The veteran road warrior must have been in this scenario at one point or another, but picture this anyway. You are in town for yet another meeting; it must be the nth time you have been here this year. Whenever you are in town, you stay in this particular hotel because you like it there. Because you are already a familiar face at the hotel and have booked your stay prior to arriving there, the hotel staff greet you very warmly and refer to you by your name. The bellhop escorts you to your room, and upon opening the door, you are automatically greeted by the room’s sound system with your favorite number from that old Randy Crawford album at just the right volume. Your eyes are sensitive to light, so you are surprised to find the lights of your room dimmed to the proper degree that will not hurt your eyes. The room is the exact temperature you would have it: cold, but not too cold. The mini-bar carries your favorite brand of soda and a stash of your favorite black chocolates.

You still have a few hours before you meet your colleagues for dinner, so you decide to rest and freshen up. The water in the shower is deliciously warm and the soaps, shampoos and toiletry are exactly the brands that you prefer using even at home. While you dress, you turn the TV on in the hopes that the hotel may have the channel that airs your favorite early evening comedy. Lo and behold! They have it, so you giggle at the characters’ antics while you prepare yourself for that dinner with the colleagues.

How did the hotel know all the preferences of their guest? It is simple: the room the guest stays in is “smart,” meaning it is wired with sensors that feed the hotel’s central computer inputs as to what temperature the guest set the air conditioner and the water heater, how dim the lights, the repertoire on the sound system, the channels watched, the food taken from the mini-bar, among other things. The central computer stores this data so upon the guest’s return, he or she will have a room that will be to his or her exact liking.

To quote this article from the International Herald Tribune:

“The backbones of these smart rooms are the data networks that hotels are installing to carry phone calls, video and Internet connections.

These networks, for example, make it possible for hotels to offer Internet TV services that store programs and let guests watch shows on demand. (A guest from Chicago, for example, could watch a Cubs baseball game in London as easily as in Tokyo.)

These networks also allow hotels to connect the lights, air-conditioners and other room devices to a central computer so they can be remotely monitored or controlled.”

Neat, isn’t it? The issue of the guests’ privacy was, of course, brought up, but hotels give their assurance that they only use the data they have gathered to serve their guests in a better manner.

SOURCE: Author’s blog: http://biz-trips.info/

Anna Lynn C. Sibal has worked with traveling business executives for the past seven years, providing them with close personal and administrative assistance. Along with her innate interest in travel, this experience has given her many insights on how traveling executives think and what they need.

Anne is a journalism graduate from the University of the Philippines, the leading state university of that country, as well as one of the premier academic institutions in Southeast Asia. Aside from travel, Anne also displays a keen interst in literature, the cinema and the Internet. She has written and contributed actively to various student publications and has managed an in-house publication for a real estate association in the Philippines. She has also won an award for her screenplay from the Film Development Foundation of the Philippines in 2001.