Tag Archives: Hotel Room

Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “The Present and Future of In-Room Tech”

“Hotels should focus on making room technology easy to understand, accessible and relevant. Do not focus the efforts only on creating ‘fun’technology such as mood lighting and such.Roundtable-Feature It’s important to pay attention to the devices used by guests and add tech features, which can assist in an improved hotel experience.”

From cathode-ray tubes to flat-screen televisions to smart screens. From dial-up Web access to Wi-Fi.

In-room technology in hotels has evolved over the years, and it will only continue to do so. But what are the changes hoteliers can expect next? And in an industry often accused of being behind the curve when it comes to technology, what do hoteliers need to keep top of mind to add to the guestroom experience?

Five leaders responded to these questions in this Hotel News Now virtual roundtable. This is what they had to say.

From where it stands today, where do you see in-room technology headed in the next few years?

Mehul Patel, chairman and CEO of NewcrestImage
“Technology, notably Bluetooth, will increasingly make rooms more ‘open’—both literally and virtually. For example, mobile technology will allow guests to unlock and enter their rooms. And after they are in their room, guests will open their room to the virtual world with customized entertainment content and room management. Because today’s travelers have their own mobile devices, it enables us as hoteliers to provide them with technology that makes their stay with us smarter and simpler—‘smarter’ thanks to Bluetooth and ‘simpler’ by facilitating their use of personalized content in movies, television and music.”
Joachim Högefjord, managing director, and Gül Heper, commercial manager at HTL Hotels
“We believe it’s most important to stay relevant to the guests and their needs. In-room technology is not about filling a hotel room with all possible gadgets; it is about enhancing the guest experience and especially simplifying the stay at the hotel.“We need to continue looking at existing behaviors and identify the right needs, what devices are the guests bringing with them and review how to incorporate this in the room in order to provide a better guest experience. One given area, where we already supply device independent solutions is in terms of in-room entertainment. Why equip the hotels with expensive hotel TV systems with on-demand movies when most guests today can and will be using their own devices to stream and mirror everything from movies to HBO and Netflix for free with their existing subscriptions?“Mobile access to the room is of course also an area that will continue to develop and be more and more standardized. Today there are few hotels and chains that are fully offering this to all guests independent of distribution channel. From the start we decided that this should be one of our standard features, and already in spring of 2014 we launched our own app with mobile key.“Of course there is a lot of talk about in-room control systems for lighting, heating, shades, entertainment controls, etc. They might grow in the future, but at the same time it is generally a learning curve to handle them, and with guests staying in general 1.5 days in a room, it might add more complexity to your stay than added value.”
Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels
“In-room technology will focus on connectivity for the traveler’s personal phone, tablets and computer. Guest-provided media will stream to TVs, USB outlets will be within an arm’s length away from the bed and desk in every guestroom. Personal technology has surpassed in-room hotel technology to the point of no return. With annual upgrade cycles for consumer technology devices, hotels can no longer spend enough to catch up. Hoteliers, stop implementing technology of the day and just let travelers have power outlets, free, fast Wi-Fi and access to their own media.”
Anna Blount, market research manager of MMGY Global
“When asked which device they are most likely to watch television or cable movies on during a hotel stay, 86% of travelers chose the in-room television, while 13% chose their personal laptop, 6% their tablet and 4% their smartphone.“Similarly, 84% of travelers said they were most likely to watch pay-per-view movies on the in-room television during a hotel room stay, while 9% chose their personal laptop, 9% their tablet and 3% their smartphone. Although in-room television is still dominate, we expect usage of personal laptops and tablets to consume in-room entertainment to increase considerably over the next five years.”
Euan McGlashan, co-founder and managing partner of Valor Hospitality Partners
“Technology will soon control the entire guestroom, and that’s a good thing. A guest will be connected to every element of the in-room experience—for example, entry locks, television, music, lighting, temperature, roomservice and in-room deliveries or services—through simple switches, remote controls and hand-held devices, which are either theirs or provided by the hotel.”

For more: http://bit.ly/1YzEVea

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Technology

Hospitality Industry Management Update: “Hidden Cameras Reveal How Much (And How Little) Some Hotel Maids Really Clean”

At a Crowne Plaza hotel, the maid collected all the used drinking glasses, put them into the sink, and turned on the water. Then she gathered all the dirty towels from the bathroom floor,housekeeper held onto one, and used it to help dry the cups. The Crowne Plaza maid then used the same towel to wipe down the countertop, the toilet and the bathtub. She never used soap on anything, but she did return to spray the room with air freshener.

When you check into a hotel room, you assume the maid has cleaned everything, including changing the sheets and disinfecting the bathroom. But a hidden camera investigation revealed that may not always be the case.

The Rossen Reports team booked rooms for two nights at some of the most popular hotel chains and rigged them with cameras (all three of the hotels were in northeastern New Jersey). In each case they put soda in the glasses, threw towels on the bathroom floors and made the rooms looked used before calling to have housekeeping make them up, as well as prominently displaying the card requesting that all linens be changed.

For more: http://on.today.com/1ur6PcG

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Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Kari’s Law Pushed After Murder, Failed 911 Call”

Kari’s Law has received support from nearly 500,000 online signatures and would require that all who dial the three digits 911 would be connected to an emergency dispatcher regardless of the multi-line telephone system (MTLS).hotel-phone Right now, dialing 911 at an office building, school, or hotel MLTS may or may not get the caller they help they are seeking. As Hunt travels the country to speak about Kari’s Law, he takes notice in each hotel room where he stays.”

One of the most well-known and obvious lessons taught to children and remembered through adulthood makes Hank Hunt feel angry, yet guilty.

“We all teach our children to dial 911,” said Hunt about the three digits ingrained in everyone’s head in case of an emergency. But it took tragedy for Hunt to realize those three digits do not always work.

In December of 2013, Hunt’s daughter Kari Dunn was stabbed to death inside a Marshall, Texas hotel room. Her estranged husband is now charged with her murder. Dunn’s 9-year-old daughter was inside the hotel room and dialed 911 four times.

Each time, the call failed.

For more: http://bit.ly/1plHxXt

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Tennessee Hotel Guest Dies From “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning”; Room Directly Above Natural Gas Pool Heater

“…Health Department inspectors found deficiencies at the Best Western’s indoor swimming pool earlier this hotel Carbon Monoxide Poisoningyear…the bottom-floor pool is below the second-floor room where the deaths occurred. Room 225 is directly above a room with a natural gas heater for the pool, police said…a March 6 inspection showed the pool’s pump was not approved by an industry standards group. The report also found the pool’s chemical and equipment room needed better ventilation…”

Police on Monday said elevated carbon monoxide levels were found in a hotel room where an 11-year-old boy died over the weekend, two months after the poisonous gas killed an elderly couple in the same room. Authorities said an autopsy of Jeffrey Lee Williams of Rock Hill indicated he died from asphyxia, though blood tests were not complete. Jeffrey was found Saturday in a room at Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza, where he was staying with his mother, Jeannie Williams.

Williams, 49, remained hospitalized Monday at Watauga Medical Center. At a Monday news conference, Boone police Sgt. Shane Robbins said newly obtained blood test results show carbon monoxide killed Daryl Dean Jenkins, 73, and Shirley Mae Jenkins, 72, both of Longview, Wash. They were found April 16, also in Room 225.

The revelations raised new questions about the death investigations, including why blood test results in the Jenkins’ deaths took two months to complete.

A spokesman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the state’s medical examiner’s office, refused to release death reports in the three cases, saying they were incomplete.

The Observer requested an interview with N.C. Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch, but spokesman Ricky Diaz said she would not be available.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/10/4097181/report-carbon-monoxide-found-at.html#storylink=cpy

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Hospitality Industry Security Risks: Hotels Should Employ “Motherboard Fix” To Make Electronic Door Locks Secure From Hacking And Break-In

“It’s the older Onity locks that are subject to hacking,” Seiders said. “With the old locks, which were the best at the time, the encryption code that authorizes the lock to open has been installed on all of those individual Onity Electronic Locklocks. The hacking device, when it’s plugged into the lock, fools the lock into thinking it’s an authorized programmer. The newer locks don’t have the encryption code in each one; the code is issued at the front desk.”

Following a robbery at a Houston hotel in which thieves exploited security flaws in Onity locks first revealed at the Black Hat conference in July, Hotel Management spoke with Todd Seiders, director of risk management at Petra Risk Solutions and former director of loss prevention at Marriott, for tips on how hoteliers can keep their rooms secure.

“[Onity] immediately started offering the caps and screens to block the port that causes the vulnerability, but I don’t think that’s a very valuable option, because if you block these terminal ports and you have an emergency in the room and the lock has failed, you have to be able to plug in the portable programmer or you’ll have liability issues,” Seiders said. “The thing to take advantage of now is the motherboard switch out. If you mail it in within a reasonable amount of time they’ll replace it for free. The motherboard fix, that’s what these hotels should be doing.”

While Seiders noted that the recession has meant less money available for full-time security staff and new equipment like cameras, he emphasized the importance of staff training in hotel security. “My advice is to go walk the halls and if you see a person standing in the hallway go and look at him for 60 seconds. He’ll either go to a room, or, if not, approach him and say ‘what’s up,’ find out if you can help him. Customer service is the best security.”

Seiders also pointed out that the newer models are not as vulnerable to hacking.

In a statement from Onity, the company said, “Over the next several weeks, we will ensure all hotel properties in our database receive the mechanical solution. These mechanical caps and security screws block physical access to the lock ports that hackers use to illegally break into hotel rooms. The mechanical solution remains free of charge to customers. Technical solutions vary depending on the age, model and deployment of locks at properties.”

For more: http://www.hotelmanagement.net/operations-management/keep-your-rooms-secure-from-door-lock-hackers

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Hospitality Industry Crime Risks: Washington Hotel Room Used By “Major Identity Theft And Forgery Ring”; Police Seize Laptops, Lamination Machine And Bags Of Stolen Mail

“These labs tend to be mobile…they go from hotel to hotel…the room contained a computer, two laptops, laminating paper, card stock, check stock and a hot laminator machine along with identification, checks and identity theftbags of mail that had been stolen. Also seized were more than 100 licenses and other IDs, roughly 20 hard drives and numerous other media storage devices, such as thumb drives and memory chips.

Police and U.S. Secret Service agents believe they have taken down a major identity theft and forgery ring involving at least a dozen suspects and more than 100 victims. The number of victims could grow as experts analyze computer hard drives and video surveillance footage from businesses where the suspects tried to get money. As of Friday evening, authorities estimated more than $45,000 had been stolen, but said that amount is likely to grow.

Evidence is being examined at the Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force lab in Seattle. Many of the victims — both individuals and businesses — are from Everett, but the center for the operation was traced to a hotel room in Shoreline.

That’s where police and the Secret Service found what amounted to a ID-theft factory Thursday.

For more:  http://heraldnet.com/article/20130105/NEWS01/701059947

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Hospitality Industry Security Risks: Major Hotels Increase Review Of Guest Security Processes After Recent Reports On Door Lock Vulnerability

“…An assault on guests or theft of their belongings during a hotel stay can result in a court case…the “reasonable person” test is used to determine the outcome. If hotel owners are made aware of a procedure or item in their property that is not keeping the guest safe, they are required to do what a reasonable person would do under those circumstances. “And if they don’t, they’re negligent…”

Recent media reports scrutinizing the vulnerability of guestroom door locks have brought hotel guest safety issues to the forefront of hoteliers’ minds. As the media and traveling public continue to express their concerns, hotel companies are taking steps to ensure a safe environment for guests.

Marriott International, for example, issued a statement on its website that said the company is in the process of implementing solutions to resolve any issues with door locks that could compromise guest safety.

Reevaluating standards and policies
As hotel management companies and major hotel brands continue to review security processes and implement solutions, there are a few points for hoteliers to keep in mind when it comes to guest safety, according to Fred Del Marva, president of hotel consulting firm Del Marva Corporation.

Guest safety starts at the front desk during the check-in process, Del Marva said. The standard policy throughout the industry is for front-desk employees not to verbally issue guests their room numbers, he said.

For more:  http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx?ArticleId=9384&par1=z7Vqd2AtHfkNLvAuP25I0Q==&par2=2EAFVJU1Lms7zTjNNV7iNMJVd1wKf1Q9bx5n/Mqpu2K12/66UcXBIn1NuEvyifCh&goback=.gmp_922967.gde_922967_member_186188808

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