With over 30 years of hospitality experience, Brendon Granger has helped 100 hotels use technology to increase revenue and reduce costs while increasing guest satisfaction. Brendon developed his IT skills from scratch, starting as an installer and trainer for a local property management system provider. Brendon owns Technology 4 Hotels, which acts as a “technology concierge” helping hotels thrive by leveraging technology. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Brendon about his journey so far and how hoteliers can use hotel software system to improve business and increase revenue, here we share insights shared by this hospitality veteran.
1). What inspired you to become a specialist in hotel room technology?
Like many things in life, you could say I just fell into hospitality technology. During my hotel studies, one of the subjects I liked the most was technology. Later, in one of my first positions at the hotel, I became the de facto systems guy. If I’m honest, nobody else wanted to do it. It was an old Unix-based system and it wasn’t very user-friendly. It shaped my career and my roles were based around hospitality and technology. For example, I worked for a PMS provider in many roles, then for a hotel internet provider in sales, but ended up in marketing and product management being the interface between the end user and our development team. Hospitality and technology are my two passions. So I started Technology 4 Hotels to serve the industry I love with the level of service, product knowledge and hospitality that hoteliers deserve.
2). Why are smart hotel rooms becoming important?
I think one of the biggest reasons smart coins are becoming important is because of rising energy costs. A smart room is able to automatically turn off or put the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) into a setback routine once it detects that the room has been unoccupied for a set period of time. They are not yet common, but some hotels have rooms equipped with IoT devices capable of self-reporting an outage. For example, if the light bulb blows, a maintenance request can be automatically generated and sent to the maintenance department as a task. This saves time, reduces costs and improves the customer experience.
3). What are your tips for turning a hotel room into a smart room?
I’m going to answer this a little differently if I may with some general advice on implementing technology in hotels as a whole. Here is my suggested checklist.
• Determine your needs & those of your guests. Don’t involve personal biases and don’t settle for shiny new things. Create a list of Must Have, Nice to have and Wish List criteria.
• Look for integrated solutions as they can save you time and money. A doorbell with a makeup and do not disturb room that connects to your guest request system can save time, which saves money.
• Vendor Reference Check – Evaluate both product and vendor – Sales/Installation/Support/Ability and willingness to change product and product roadmap.
• You are not alone – the industry is large but tightly knit. Reach out and talk to those who have had experience. Ask the question, given your time, would you make the same decision and choose the same supplier/product.
• If technology changes the business process, you need a change program. We are all opposed to change. Normally this involves prompting staff.
• Not all problems are better addressed with technology. You must offer the guest a choice. For example, blinds controlled only by the TV without a manual switch in a hotel caused many operational problems and frustrated customers.
4). What technologies should hotels use for new traveler concerns post-pandemic?
Due to the pandemic, the health and safety of staff and guests has become a major priority. Hotels are looking to reduce the number of touch points for customers. This often means less contact with staff, but also less contact with collateral items in the room such as the collection that has been removed. As occupancies slowly return, hotels are facing staffing shortages and technology is and will be used to help streamline hotel operations.
Some of the technologies used by hotels include:
Mobile check-in or web check-in – Airlines have been doing this for years. It streamlines registration by supporting the transactional process before arriving at the property.
Self-service check-in and check-out kiosks – now installed in hotels of all star categories to help reduce pressure at reception and improve the guest experience.
Digital compendiums and communication tools for guests – Guests now have access to all this and more on their personal device.
Room service and table ordering via QR Code/NFC – It’s a Win/Win – These solutions are quick and efficient for the customer and allow them to split bills. Customers normally spend more and staffing requirements are reduced.
Staff collaboration tools – streamline operations, ensure things don’t slip through the cracks, especially as staff are often multitasking. These systems also provide information on operational improvements that can be made.
5). How can voice control benefit hotels?
I’ve been following voice technology since I saw Bill Gates talk about it in 1995.
I use voice to text every day and have had several Google Home devices since they came out. So I appreciate the benefits of voice. In a hotel, I think it can definitely provide a wow factor allowing guests to turn on the TV, turn off the lights, or ask for extra towels, etc. I think we will get there but usually customers are not ready for voice due to lack of familiarity. There are also concerns about security and privacy.
6). How can the Internet of Things (IoT) benefit hotels?
Let’s start by defining the IoT. In simple terms, IoT describes all devices connected to the Internet. As part of a digital network, all of these devices are able to collect and share data about their environment and how they are used. They can also be monitored and controlled.
We’re just starting to see IoT making its way into hotels, but let’s look at some examples of how IoT can improve the guest experience. A guest can leave their room and the door sensor sends a signal to the elevator to be upstairs and waiting for the guest when they arrive at the elevator. It’s a few years away, but via IoT, guesthouses could learn guest behavior and, for example, set the shower to the temperature it knows the guest likes. This could then be stored in the guest’s profile and communicated to the chamber as part of check-in.
We also talked about the light bulb which can automatically create a maintenance ticket in the event of a breakdown. In the future, most devices will be equipped with IoT and will be able to self-report faults and even potential faults. A simple example might be the TV remote that creates a maintenance request when it reaches 10% battery life.
So IoT will improve the customer experience directly by learning their preferences to provide a truly personalized stay and also by ensuring that all elements of the room work. It will also streamline operations and reduce labor costs.
7). What is the impact of in-room technology on business performance?
In-room technology can help hotels reduce costs and increase revenue. Energy management solutions have been shown to save 25% to 40% on operating expenses (HVAC). Digital compendia help hotels reduce costs because compendia no longer need to be printed. They also often allow customers to make requests for items such as extra towels which are then passed to a customer request management system. This reduces labor and improves customer experience by ensuring that no request falls through the cracks.
If the digital compendium also allows the customer to order food and beverages from their own device, this could include room service, on-demand minibar, snacks and beverages at the poolside or restaurant meals, it will also result in labor saving. as an average of 19% to 35% higher, spend per order.
My advice to any hotel looking to implement technology is to make sure to improve the guest experience. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Guests are unique, situations are different, and emotions often come into play. Offering choice is the answer. Don’t force the customer to use technology as the only option. Give them the choice. A technological solution combined with a familiar alternative offers the best of both worlds for ALL customers.
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About mycloud Hospitality
mycloud (award-winning hotel software) was developed by Prologic First, an independent private company with over a decade and a half of experience delivering end-to-end technology solutions to the hospitality industry in the UK, Asia, Africa and the United Kingdom. Middle East. Prologic First’s “WISH” brand is used in more than 40 countries by more than 2,000 customers representing the “who’s who” of the industry. Some of our most popular and adopted solutions like “WISH”, “Touché” & Web Prol’IFIC. Our technology leaders and our best solutions on the market, offering some of the most advanced features for hospitality professionals.