Web Exclusive: More from our conversation with Michael Linczyc, Wilson Associates’ “resident techie.”
By Matthew Hall
In the May issue of Boutique Design, Wilson Associates’ Michael Linczyc discussed the integration of technology into hospitality settings. The conversation with firm's “resident techie” continues below.
How do the tech-related expectations of hotel guests vary by a guest’s age, i.e., baby boomers vs. millennials, etc.?
It's less about age and more about attitude and preference. My 15-year-old becomes unhinged if the Wi-Fi goes out at home, whilst my 12-year-old is far more analogue and into personal encounters than the digital emotional world of Facebook and Twitter that her older sister inhabits. These are just generalizations, but I think the expectations of a baby boomer is more often directed to immediate gratification and they want individual attention; they are more willing to pick up the phone and happy to engage in face-to-face discussions. Generation X expects to be connected 24/7 and is really happy never to have speak to anyone when an email can do the job just as easily. The Millennials not only need to be connected all the time but actively engage and encourage continual communication and value the interaction of the group.
How much do those tech-related expectations by guests vary, brand to brand and sector to sector? Put another way, are there certain kinds of hotels that are expected to have state-of-the-art technology, and others, not so much? If so, why?
I think we have all been a bit baffled by why 4- and 5-star brands have charged for Wi-Fi when the 3-star offering (often in the same flag's stable) has included it in the room rate. There were often mumbled excuses at check-out about the service and support being outsourced, but it generated about the same level of affection amongst regular travelers for hotel companies as rumors a few years ago that airlines were considering charging overweight travelers more to fly on low-cost fares. Most are gradually phasing out Wi-Fi charges, or at least making it a benefit for those enrolled in the brand's loyalty programs.
There’s no doubt that tech creep has followed amenity creep. I’m old enough to remember economy hotels where the 18-in. TV was bolted down for fear that envious guests would make off with the set. The Holiday Inn Express in Singapore we are just completing has a 42-inch plasma TV, rain shower, mini bar, iPod dock, high-quality cotton sheets and public areas that would put most trendy boutique hotels in the U.S. to shame.
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