by Kim Campbell
The hospitality world is undergoing a digital transformation with the development of hotel apps, mobile check-in options, eco-friendly appliances, no-contact amenities, and more. Tech advances are also reinventing the in-room guest experience. Most large brands now cater to tech-savvy travelers and are constantly implementing new, innovative hotel technology: Digital room keys, voice-activated climate controls, room service apps, and hotel room tablets, to name a few.
In this blog post, we take a closer look at one of our favorite new in-room technology trends: Hotel room tablets. We’re going to break down what they are, what they can do, and how they can improve operating efficiency and the guest experience We also list some of the most popular options on the market and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about hotel room tablets. What are hotel room tablets? Many hotels are offering their guests in-room personal tablets for use during their stay. Operating much like the household tablets we’re familiar with, hotel room tablets give guests quick access to useful applications, hotel services, food and dining options, and contactless communication with hotel staff. Guest tablets can be used to order room service, quickly access “infotainment,” charge devices, connect to streaming services, find local restaurants, make changes to reservations, and much more.
Why do hotel room tablets exist? More than ever, travelers are requesting and expecting access to technology that makes their travel easier. According to Travelport’s 2019 Global Digital Traveler Research, which surveyed 23,000 individuals from 20 countries, travelers of all ages found that having a “good digital experience” was a critical part of their overall travel experience. Hotel room tablets can give in-house guests access to a variety of amenities, services, and information — right at their fingertips.
In addition to improving the guest experience, hotel room tablets can help hoteliers improve hotel operations. With modern in-room tablet technology, hotel managers can work to eliminate wasteful spending, cut excess labor costs, and improve the efficiency of hotel operations, potentially helping save a significant amount of revenue. Hoteliers can work with in-room tablets to minimize excess costs that can then be reinvested into the hotel to benefit the property and employees in other areas. How hotel room tablets can improve the guest experience According to the 2018 JD Power North America and Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index, offering a hotel room tablet to guests led to a 47-point boost in guest satisfaction. The report attributed much of the increased satisfaction to guests’ ability to stay connected and quickly find the information they're looking for. We’ve listed 10 of the ways that hotel room tablets are already improving the guest experience below.
Hotel room tablets can partner with apps to provide additional services to guests: Ordering food, making restaurant reservations, requesting room service, booking attraction tickets, and other helpful tasks. At 11 Howard hotel in New York, guests receive an in-room tablet loaded with apps for room service, movie streaming, and more.
Seamlessly connect to interactive in-room smart TVs and other devices with a hotel room tablet. Many in-room tablets allow guests to quickly log in, cast, or stream from compatible smart devices so they can connect to their preferred entertainment anywhere.
Give guests the ability to search online or browse the internet without having to connect to their own devices.
Many tablets allow guests to update their current hotel stay to add additional nights, request a late checkout, add breakfast for a guest, or other quick updates.
Guests can find the answers to questions about their stay with quick access to hotel policies and information such as facility information, operating hours, contact information, and other important hotel details.
Travelers can prepare for their in-town adventure by checking the weather forecast on their hotel room tablet. Guests can double-check if they need to grab an umbrella or windbreaker before hopping on the elevator, saving a trip back to the room.
In-house guests can confirm housekeeping preferences, and special requests, and communicate other information with the team. Some in-room tablets allow guests to request a specific time for turndown service, request not to be disturbed, or update specific guest information such as an allergy to feather pillows, perfumes, or other similar preferences.
In-room tablet technology can help improve the physical safety of guests through contactless communication. Hotel room tablets can connect guests to a variety of services, as well as hotel staff, without the need to connect face-to-face with hotel employees or other guests.
Tablets can help protect the digital safety of hotel guests. With an in-room tablet, there’s no need for guests to connect personal devices with sensitive information to in-room technology unless desired. Hoteliers can help keep guests safe with innovative hotel technology.
Offering guests in-room technology adds a sense of luxury to their hotel stay, as many modern travelers associate high-end with high-tech. At the Hotel Commonwealth, Boston, guests can lounge on imported Italian linens while ordering a midnight snack on their individual hotel room tablet.
How hotel room tablets can benefit hotel operations In addition to improving the guest experience, adding hotel room tablets to guest rooms can help streamline many hotel operations and improve the hotel employee experience.
Navigate staffing shortages. With digital check-in options, keyless room entry, and contactless communication tools, tablets can take on many tasks that aid hotel operations. Tablet technology can allow a single employee to quickly communicate with numerous guests from a single location, saving time and reducing the need for heavy staffing. Nothing can replace hiring dedicated hotel staff members with a heart for hospitality, of course. But hotel room tablets, however, can help a short-staffed team keep up for the time being, as well as allow hotel managers to hop in faster when and where help is needed.
Increase hotel profits. Use hotel room tablets to promote dining services, spa packages, and other services and amenities that are available for guest purchase. Bring in additional hotel revenue by loading attractive digital ad campaigns or tablet-exclusive coupons for hotel services.
Improve digital marketing. Run hotel digital marketing campaigns and promotional offerings on guest tablets to test their popularity. Gauge in-house consumer response before investing in a much larger marketing campaign.
Eliminate wasteful spending. Hotels can utilize in-room tablets to help minimize or eliminate redundant operational expenses, such as printing. Send guests hotel updates, facility information, and reservation details through in-room tablets to cut down paper and printing expenses, as well as in-room hotel sales collateral.
Diversify communication skills. Improve communication between guests and staff and overcome language barriers by using a hotel room tablet that translates information into multiple different languages.
Keep up with the competition. Stay competitive with comparable hotels in your market by providing guests with similar, if not superior, digital experiences. In response to J.D. Power’s 2018 report, Jennifer Corwin, Associate Practice Lead for the Global Travel and Hospitality Practice, commented, “Years of capital investment in offerings such as higher-end televisions and in-room tablets have left their mark.” Hotels looking to remain competitive in an ever-evolving industry should keep a close eye on area tech trends. Failing to institute in-room guest technology at the same pace as your comp set could push prospective guests to hotels with more technologically-advanced amenities.
Comparison of popular hotel room tablet options There are a variety of hotel room tablets on the market for interested hoteliers to choose from, each with different strengths, weaknesses, system requirements, and price points. We’ve included a brief description of seven of the most popular interactive in-room tablets on the market to get you started, but we recommend that you do additional research to pick the one that's right for you and your property.
Crave Interactive. One of the most well-known hotel room tablets, over 800 million customers use Crave Interactive each year. Offering a variety of services including mobile ordering, intelligent pay, and detailed menu optimization, Crave provides hoteliers with a multi-service solution to many common hotel challenges.
SuitePad. A popular option for eco-friendly hotels, SuitePad tablets offer hoteliers a variety of options to help make property operations more sustainable. Guests can opt out of housekeeping services, avoid unnecessary printing services, and help hotels increase profits by cutting operating costs.
INTELITY. A fantastic choice for hotels that cater to tech-savvy travelers, INTELITY tablets have large screens, built-in Bluetooth speakers, a long battery life, and multiple charging ports to fit all of your guest’s devices. A sleek in-room docking station keeps the device charged and accessible to guests whenever they need it.
Volo. The hotel room tablet of choice for many Apple fans, Volo provides guests with in-room access to a variety of hotel amenities with the touch of an iPad. Hoteliers can benefit from Volo’s interactive ordering platform, digital hotel contact directory, and built-in guest request tracking.
BOWO. Another excellent in-room tablet choice for hotel managers looking to boost revenue, BOWO lets hoteliers upsell offerings and services to in-house guests. Use BOWO to re-energize your hotel’s customer loyalty strategies, institute new digital marketing campaigns, and improve direct communication with guests. BOWO’s SMART HUB helps hoteliers provide a hyper-personalized guest experience.
Hoteza HotPad. Having the ability to integrate with a variety of popular sales, revenue, and property management systems, Hoteza tablets are a popular choice for many hoteliers. Compatible with both iOS and Android devices, guests can use Hoteza to control smart-room technology and connect to hotel services in 68 different languages.
POSHIE Interactive. An interactive hospitality solution, POSHIE is a tablet that acts as an e-concierge for hoteliers. Guests can use POSHIE Interactive to send messages and video chat quickly with staff in the fitness center, spa, at the front desk, or anywhere else communication stations are set up. With the ability to handle the large and intensive ordering, hotels that offer dining services can streamline ordering through POSHIE’s e-ordering capabilities.
Choosing the right hotel room tablet for your property As with many other digital systems, the specific type best suited for each hotel will vary based on the property’s specific needs. While larger properties with dining services may benefit more from a tablet with extensive customizable ordering options, a hotel with minimal staffing may benefit more from a system with a strong focus on seamless communication and data logging.
Research different tablet systems, read reviews, and ask colleagues for their in-room guest technology recommendations. Choose a tablet designed to improve the areas where your property could most benefit from digital assistance. Look for a tablet that is designed to integrate with your hotel’s PMS, RMS and POS system, if applicable. Are hotel room tablets free? Hotel room tablets are typically free for in-house guest use. While ordering room service, dining, spa services, or entertainment may come with an additional cost, most hotels include the use of an in-room guest tablet in the room’s rate.
What is guest room tablet technology? Hotels all over the world are taking advantage of in-room tablet technology. This technology allows hotel guests to quickly access and control in-room smart devices, access ordering services, communicate with hotel employees and more — all from the comfort and security of their hotel room. Hotel tablet technology gives guests access to an array of services at the tap of a touchscreen.
Are hotel room tablets safe to use? Most, if not all, hotel tablet brands take pride in their ability to protect sensitive information for both the hotel and hotel guests. In-room tablets also help prevent contact between guests and staff, promoting the health and safety of guests. Hotel room tablets can also provide a lightning-fast way for hotel employees to communicate with numerous guests at the same time in the event of an emergency.
Kim Campbell Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list. Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.