Getting the technological edge

Following his firm's relocation to the Middle East, Roomwithnet managing director Andrew Prince talks to Tech Talk how smart technology can help you get ahead of the competition.

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By  Administrator Published  May 6, 2008

Following his firm's relocation to the Middle East, Roomwithnet managing director Andrew Prince talks to Tech Talk how smart technology can help you get ahead of the competition.

Some would say that the smart man is he who keeps things simple, putting in as little effort as possible yet reaping the biggest reward.

Since most hotel guests spend the majority if their lives with their noses to the grindstone, when they get to their hotel room they want things to be as simple as possible - that's where smart technology comes in.

There are in fact two definitions of smart technology, according to Roomwithnet managing director Andrew Prince.

"Smart technology for the guest, or the user, is there to maximise their comfort and enhance their experience of staying in a hotel. They're not too bothered about what happens behind the switches, they just want to have nice things going on around them," he says.

"Smart technology from a technical point of view is the convergence of independent control items into one solution."

A basic example of this is a single wireless touch control that allows the guest to turn the television on and off, dim the lighting or open the door when the doorbell is rung, all from the comfort of their bed.

This type of technology appeals to the tired or busy corporate guests, either allowing them to relax or to save work time, as they never have to leave their bed or desk.

"Guests like it; they don't actually demand it yet, but it is definitely a tool that can be utilised to retain business, particularly corporate business," explains Prince.

"Hotels can also use it to target a niche market. They introduce a one-touch button to order a taxi, or if 100 of their rooms were being used by visitors at a corporate conference then they could send a message to all of those guest's TVs."

And whilst the practical aspects of smart technology can be used to entice business guests to your property, then the novelty value of it can be used to woo leisure guests.

"As far as leisure guests are concerned, we all like gadgets. We all have numerous gadgets in our own homes and have done for some time," says Prince.

He adds that hotels have taken their time to match the kind of technology that people have in their own homes but now, with smart technology is more readily available, they're realising the power that it has to attract new guests.

"Smart technology has been around in its general operational form for a number of years, but with the advent of newer technologies within the IT field it's now a much simpler, much more cost-effective and reliable system to use," says Prince.

"It certainly creates a big interest with hotel developers or with hotel owners, because of the balance of the capital investment over what they see as their return."

Some may expect the hotel industry in the Middle East to be slightly behind Europe and North America when it comes to cutting edge technology, but according to Prince the situation is much the same in this region as it is in Europe, if not slightly better.

"In the Middle East they're faster to enquire about this technology and they're more willing to invest in it" he says.

The prime drivers are the number of five-star properties saturating the market and forcing hotels to go that one step further than their competitors.

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