Industry Update
Opinion Article29 April 2013

DO's and DON'TS of Hotel Technology v5

By Terence Ronson, Hospitality Professional, Technology Consultant, Public Speaker and Inventor

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On what can be described as the eve of [email protected] 2013, it's the perfect time to update our ever-popular DO's and DON'TSof Hotel Technology.Should you have something to add to the list, please send it to us for our next update.



  1. Use digital signage instead of printed posters
  2. Put some free bottles of water in the mini bar so that they are nice and cool
  3. Check all the peep holes on guest room doors to make sure they are secure and the right way round
  4. Mount irons on wall brackets in closets instead of placing them on the floor or shelves
  5. Clearly display broadband charges, if your hotel has any and have a sign-on page if your Government so requires it
  6. Make it easy to switch off all lights in the Guestroom from the bed - especially the bathroom and Vestibule lights
  7. Make it easy to plug in a hairdryer, shaver, or electric toothbrush in the bathroom
  8. Make the lighting in the bathroom bright enough for doing makeup - ask a Woman to check it
  9. Have an illuminated make-up mirror in the bathroom
  10. Have universal power sockets with USB power sockets easily available for guest-use in public areas, especially Lobby Lounges, Dining areas, Club Lounges and Poolside - also have international adaptors handy
  11. Have an emergency torch/flashlight in the guest room
  12. Offer free boarding pass printing in Business centers
  13. Provide Apple computers in the business center, and not just Window's PC's
  14. Have an Apple Notebook power adaptor available for a guest to borrow in case they accidentally forget theirs at home. Same applies to iPhone/iPod, Blackberries and other popular devices.
  15. Use wireless mice at the Front Desk
  16. Have a smartphone compliant version of your hotel data file available for download on your website at the same time make sure your website is mobile compliant
  17. Work with your system providers so that they produce eForms and not printed reports - especially Registration cards and Folios
  18. Make sure excess power and data and power cables are neatly tied, or cut to the right length. If that is not possible, cover them somehow
  19. Have a simple but easy to read digital clock in the bathroom
  20. Encourage staff to bring laptops or Tablets to meetings and use them for note taking and not use paper pads
  21. Have easily accessible universal power sockets with USB power sockets in Meeting rooms as more and more people bring tech with them and need power
  22. Have plenty of Universal power sockets with USB power sockets by the Guestroom desk, or if not possible, place a small power bar in the desk drawer complete with adaptor
  23. Have a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray lending library if you have such a player in the Guestroom
  24. Have your Concierge know where is the Apple Service Center and also other popular brands like IBM, DELL, Lenovo, Asus, Samsung, HTC and Blackberry
  25. Have a person or system to monitor social networking sites for mentions about your hotel and respond appropriately and in a timely manner
  26. Have competent front line staff on-property who can deal with Guest TECH queries - make sure they have the requisite social and interpersonal skills as well
  27. Monitor what is written about your Hotel on Social networking sites like Trip Advisor
  28. Have easily accessible empty power sockets at the LEFT and RIGHT side of the bed - for Guest use only - with USB power sockets not needing adaptors
  29. Realize that when you buy technology - you need a support agreement as well - and this often doubles the Tech cost over 4-5 years
  30. Put a notice on your HSIA sign-up screen that your government may block access to certain websites and internet services if they apply to you. Have your IT People know how to workaround this if the Guest asks
  31. Check your TV channel reception from time to time and make sure it's nice and clear
  32. Make sure the electronic door lock on the guest room door closes quickly when the door shuts
  33. Check the speed, noise and effectiveness of the air-con fan coil in the guest room
  34. Print your IM address on your Business card like a Skype ID - maybe even use a QR code
  35. Put an internet browsing station in the Staff Canteen for Staff to check email during breaks
  36. Encourage your Guests to also perform a virtual Check-in to such sites as Facebook and Foursquare when they physically Check-in to your establishment
  37. Get your technology vendors to update you twice a year on their roadmap - maybe under NDA
  38. Add CCTV cameras inside your Data Center - one that is directed to the server racks and the other, to the entrance door
  39. Use electronic locks on your Server racks - not just metal keys
  40. Remember that guest's trust their mobile phones to wake them up - more than they do your wake-up call service
  41. Perform regular complete system and data backups and store them off-site
  42. Consider placing a 'dock extender' cable into the cable pack that you may be placing in your rooms so that a Guest can connect an iPad to the iPod/iPhone dock you are providing
  43. Have iPhone 5 adaptors on hand
  44. Have staff who do in-room check-in, offer to help guests connect their computer to the HSIA/Wi-Fi as well as make them an Espresso should you have such a machine in the room
  45. Allow guest's to tailor make their fruit basket if you plan to give them one - not everyone likes green apples and pears - same goes for turndown amenity - not everyone wants or can eat chocolates or sweet items
  46. Offer ePostcards from your website
  47. Have a shelf in the toilet cubicle where guest's can place their mobile phone/Tablet and maybe a book
  48. Work in your own guestroom from time to time and see how comfortable and practical it is - especially the height of the chair in relation to the desk
  49. Use a bio-metric reader or PIN pad for staff entrance/egress that is linked to the Time and Attendance/Payroll System
  50. Make sure the light inside the wardrobe does switch off when the door is closed
  51. Consider [carefully] about moving some of your IT Services to the Cloud - make sure you fully understand the small print on the SLA (Service Level Agreement) about 'uptime', 'data ownership' and 'migration' from property based systems - also data privacy and security issues
  52. Make sure your room safe is bolted down to a floor or wall and cannot be easily removed
  53. Monitor the TV volume in the guest room so that it can go down very low and not too high. Some guests like to leave the TV on all night but at a very low background volume
  54. Have a very low nightlight in the bathroom/toilet
  55. Deploy the very best cabling backbone you can
  56. Allow Guests of Residential Conferences to use the same LOGIN ID and Password that they use in the Guestroom for access to the WI-FI in the Meeting Room - don't make them pay or Log-in twice
  57. Encourage Guests to communicate with your Hotel through popular Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  58. Have air-conditioning auto cut-off in the Guest room if balcony doors are left open
  59. Consider using Motion/Presence [PIR] detectors rather than key cards to control energy in-room
  60. Check from time to time in-the-floor power sockets - the metal type which are supposed to lift up when the clip if flicked - most often they stick after a while having been covered with floor polish and dust
  61. Talk to your HSIA/Wi-Fi provider about 'roaming agreements' and having pass-thru services to such membership services as Boingo and iPass
  62. Consider having a secure place where Guests can deposit their valuables and gadgets at the poolside or beach if they want to take a dip in the pool or use the sauna
  63. Have Wi-Fi at the poolside and Beach
  64. Test your [magnetic] key cards to see if they de-magnetize when placed next to a mobile phone - often they do and is a great inconvenience to the guest as well as an operational chore
  65. Encourage Guest contact staff to attach VCF files in emails
  66. Consider using QR codes on your printed materials and special e-Coupon offers
  67. Put your Hotel onto Skype and encourage that as a method of communication with Guests
  68. Recycle used laser toner cartridges
  69. Think about installing a 3G mobile hotspot in the Airport Limo so the Guest can use the service to/from the airport
  70. Have your IT team join such organizations as HFTP and HTNG so that they keep up to date with Hotel Technology - you should also sponsor them as well as have them attend various Conferences and Exhibitions
  71. Consider carefully all the implications of Cloud Computing to include: Loss of connection, Data Security and Data Privacy
  72. Looking into MDM - Mobile Device Management if such devices are connected to your network and/or supplied by you
  73. Regularly check and install Service Packs and software upgrades


  1. Use Walkie Talkies in public areas without issuing staff with discreet ear pieces
  2. Deploy connectivity aux or connectivity panels without having in-room cable kits to include up-to-date connectors such as use don iPhone 5
  3. Put a bedside clock that makes a ticking sound
  4. Charge for local phone calls unless you really have to
  5. Make it difficult to use a mouse on the Guest Room desk by using one with a glass surface - put a mouse mat in the drawer
  6. Automatically do dynamic currency conversion on credit card transactions - be sure to have the customer approve this in advance
  7. Charge exorbitant rates for printing a couple of A4 sheets in the business center
  8. Issue replacement room keys without first seeing a valid photo ID
  9. Allow staff to use thumb drives in work computers
  10. Print reports - circulate PDF versions only
  11. Send faxes when you can send PDFs with emails
  12. Use worn out ribbons on printers - especially Point of Sale printers in F&B outlets
  13. Assume your backup power generator will auto-start if there is a mains power failure. Test it regularly
  14. Print folios - email them
  15. Use paper registration cards - use electronic ones
  16. Install both wired and wireless internet in your Guest Rooms when doing a new installation. Just having Wi-Fi is acceptable by most people and will save you a lot of money
  17. Assume all guests use an iPod, iPhone or iPad - believe it or not, there are other successful products in the marketplace
  18. Put "last updated..." on your website if you don't do it frequently
  19. Put the number of visitors to your website - no one really cares
  20. Put a chair at the desk which is difficult to pull out or is uncomfortable to sit in - even if it looks nice
  21. Just limit guests to connect two or three items to the Wi-Fi in the Guestroom - often guests carry many more devices, especially if a couple are staying and with kids
  22. Clutter the desk with collaterals and printed materials - make them digital and multi-lingual - e.g. in Chinese and Russian
  23. Just believe that by putting loads of technology into your hotel that the guest experience will be enhanced or that the guest will appreciate it
  24. Place a loudspeaker in the bathroom unless it has a volume control and the sound quality is good
  25. Just rely on the technology to operate your business - it will fail and at the worst possible time. Make sure you have a contingency plan in place for ALL systems and test it periodically
  26. Change any configuration on a guest's computer unless they ABSOLUTELY agree and you have a written record of the changes made
  27. Have multiple phones in the Guest room unless your really need to
  28. Allow iPods, MP3 players or similar devices in the workplace to be connected to your computers
  29. Print anything - only have electronic versions of all your collaterals
  30. Make it complicated for guests to use your technology - they may only stay one night and have no time to learn how to use all the gadgets and may not be as tech savvy as you think they are
  31. Overcharge for IDD calls - see if you can connect your PBX to a VOIN (Voice over Internet) service to reduce the calling costs
  32. Lend guest's headsets in the gym unless they have been pre-sterilized
  33. Allow social networking connections on workplace computers unless it's for work
  34. Have water pipes inside your computer room or data center
  35. Just have a single cooling source for your Data Center - have a backup
  36. Have so many TV channels that it's difficult for the guest to quickly access what they really want to watch and make sure then it's re-switched on, it goes back to the last channel watched and only re-sets upon check-out
  37. Put a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player in the Guest room unless there is already a disc inside for the guest to quickly listen to or watch
  38. Operate a 1-button Call Center unless the staff who take the call are full trained to handle ALL queries and in various languages
  39. Put a 4-in-1 copier/scanner/printer/fax machine in the Guestroom with just 2 or 3 sheets of paper inside for the guest to print on - include at least 20 sheets
  40. Use a cloud printing service to the in-room printer you are providing - some guests are bound by company confidentiality policies not to send data outside of their network and so cannot use such services, even if they are hosted by a reputable company - just add a USB cable
  41. Have electronic curtains/drapes unless they can be opened/closed from the bed as well as via a simple wall switch that the guest is aware of
  42. Put a hairdryer in the bathroom that is underpowered - and don't hide it - ask a Woman to check it before buying
  43. Put a reading lamp at the bed which is so powerful and direct that it can burn your Guest's forehead
  44. 44. Adjust the temperature in the Guestroom if the guest sets it at a certain level. Only reset it upon check-out.
  45. Use Flash on your website unless you really have to - not all popular Smartphones or Tablets can handle Flash
  46. Only put a keycard reader on one side of the elevator car if you have floor call buttons on both sides. And from time to time, check they both work
  47. Install an LCD TV in such a away that the Guest cannot access the connectivity ports and by doing so, they can directly connect their own devices for playback
  48. Create an app for your Hotel just for the sake of it - and all it does is make reservations. Let it be informative about your property and a guide to all the various services and amenities you provide. It will after all be your Shop window in the palm of someone's hand and directly reflect your brand values.
  49. Write "Data Center" or "Computer Room" on the door of such a place - you are inviting trouble. Better to write "Authorized access only"
  50. Use illegal software - do a license audit from time to time

(c) Pertlink 2013

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Terence Ronson

    More from Terence Ronson

    Pertlink Limited commenced operations on October 23rd 2000, and as IT Consultants exclusively caters to clients connected with the hospitality industry, helping them work through the maze of new technologies. Not only is Pertlink strategically placed to serve the industry from its headquarters in Hong Kong, it has been internationally recognized by numerous organizations as a global reach company helping the industry through its unique and unparalleled network of people who have vast expertise in the Hotel and IT industries. The team behind Pertlink, whose collective knowledge will be an asset to any company - will help maximize a Hotel's guest experience making it a positive one through the way technology is developed, marketed and used in the Hotel industry.

    Terence Ronson
    Managing Director
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