When tech gets techy

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required for access) today titled “The Heartbreak of High-Tech Hotels” noting how “Many Guests Are Stymied
By Gadget-Stuffed Rooms”. Most people who have stayed in a gizmo filled hotel are likely to empathize with the litany of complaints highlighted in the report. A traveler with children at a chic boutique hotel in Spain found that the adjacent room with her kids in them had a riddle for bathroom lights. Wanting to leave them on overnight, she found the light switches so complicated that there was even a manual for them in the room! Apparently it was impossible to discern how to keep the bathroom lights on and the room lights off at the same time and if one was turned on, all would light up! With revenues up nationwide the U.S. lodging industry is expected to invest approximately $5.5 billion in capital spending, up from a record $5 billion last year and according PricewaterhouseCoopers’ lodging analyst Bjorn Hanson, the fact that Generation Xers are now traveling at a higher per capita rate than baby boomers is one reason for hostelry indulging in technology. Apparently these whiz kids don’t want something inferior to what they have at home. All that is very well, but hotels who don’t cater to the needs of retiring baby boomers (who arguably have far more disposable income and time) are likely to face a backlash of some sorts – for starters, hotels intent on splurging on technology ought to ensure that any and all equipment installed is clearly visible and printed instructions, if any, are in a font larger than size 10.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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