Hotels going hip, high tech

A great story about how hotels are reinventing themselves through technology by  Jodi Mohrmann,  published in news4jax

Some U.S. hotels are going for a new look, including funky furniture and high-end décor.

“When choosing a hotel my friends and I will steer towards a more modern and hip hotel,” said frequent traveler Paige Woodburn.

She looks for trendy places to stay when she’s on the go.  But Woodburn says while hip is important, being connected is a requirement.

“When you stay at a hotel that’s not as plugged in, you definitely feel the pain,” she added.

And that’s something hotels are noticing. Tech-savvy travelers Woodburn’s age, 18 to 36, now make up about 43-percent of guests.

“If hotels were to miss out on this age group they would basically be missing out on the future of hoteling. What they’re doing is really changing the hotel experience from check in to check out,” said hotel trends expert Daniel Levine.

Levine says the future of hoteling includes “digital wonderlands,” rooms where every bed, even bunk beds, has its own TV!  He says look for in-room laptop safes, personal tablets even interactive table tops in the hotel lobby.

Levine says at some properties, checking-in can now be done on a touch screen kiosk or with an app!   And the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. will soon substitute smartphones for room keys.

Something else, Room Mate Grace Hotel in New York, NY  is working on wi-fi that follows you outside when you leave.

“They will be logged into the wi-fi from the hotel and they’re able to go a certain amount of miles within in the city which is really cool,” said Ehrie Foster, the front desk manager at the Room Mate Grace Hotel.

When you walk through the doors “cool” is the reaction some hotels hope travelers have.  Many are focusing on common areas and social spaces for guests.  For example, the Room Mate Grace Hotel has a lobby pool and swim up bar. Others offer work stations or areas for socializing.

“They’re putting more money into the, the general spaces that people are really hanging out,” explained Levine.

But with all these cutting edge and contemporary changes will the classic hotel model still exist?

“It’s not like all hotels all of the sudden in the future are going to be like this.  There’s going to be different brands that are catering to different people,” Levine added.

He says hotels geared toward millennials may be less expensive than a traditional hotel and the rooms may be smaller, too, but that’s because hotels want people to enjoy their larger common areas.

Experts say some other well known chains are making changes geared toward millennial aged travelers, including Marriott and Raddison, which is opening a new line of hotels.

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