February 04, 2013 by Anthony Green
Hospitality and the iPad bandwagon
It’s no secret that technology is an ever-present, ever-changing part of our daily lives. A tech friend of mine once told me that in the time it takes you to buy a new computer or gadget and plug it in at home, it will already be out of date.
This concept has always stuck with me whenever I buy a new product or gave in to the latest technology trend. And sure enough, earlier this year when I finally decided it was time to buy an iPad 2, it took about a week and a half for the ‘New iPad 2’ to be released.
Ever since, I have been attached at the hip to my new gadget and cannot live without it. So when I began to look outside of my little digital bubble, I wondered, how did the world function before iPads? But more importantly, how are businesses adjusting to keep up with people like me, living in an Apple-induced nirvana?
The answer to this question has begun cropping up throughout the hospitality industry. Technology has been used to benefit businesses for ages, and now iPads and other similar gadgets play a fundamental role in how customers interact with a company or how thoroughly patrons enjoy their visit.
Since the release of the iPad, many hotels have begun providing the gadgets to guests for the duration of their stay. The Plaza Hotel in New York City has integrated iPads to allow users to make their stay as comfortable as possible, by adjusting lighting and air conditioning, reading the paper, and several other activities.
Other hotels also have iPads pre-programmed with travel guides for tourists, loaded with information on things to do in the area and equipped to help guests plan their stay. Some iPads allow users to order room service or make appointments and reservations in the hotel, all without leaving the room or picking up the phone. Furthermore, hotel staff are now using iPads to allow them more mobility throughout the hotel while they help customers. Even spas use iPads to demonstrate the available treatment options and allow guests to choose their services effortlessly.
In the restaurant world, iPads have replaced menus for guests and in some cases have changed the food order process completely by allowing guests to put in orders themselves. In Bangkok, the iPad craze is seeping into local venues as well. At Crave, the newly opened restaurant of Aloft Bangkok – the first Aloft branded hotel in Southeast Asia, the gadgets are given to diners so that they can browse the impressive wine list on offer.
But the benefits of iPads in the hospitality industry do not stop at the consumer. Many of the iPad’s apps allow hotels and restaurants to track guest habits and requests to better suit their personal needs, and maximize revenue opportunities.
So the question now is, will your business jump on the iPad train?
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