BUSINESS travel is a force to be reckoned with in the tourism industry, and hotels are not turning a blind eye.
The hospitality industry is continuously studying trade trends and technological advances to keep ahead of the game, and consequently, the industry is booming quicker than ever before.
As hotels are constantly increasing their budgets to improve tech offerings, it’s important to note how corporate travelers are affected by change.
Boom of hotel tech
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) revealed recent survey findings that indicated a strong leaning towards in-room power outlets, USB outlets, and streaming services over app-powered services.
GBTA’s director of research Monica Sanchez said in a statement: “In the future, hotels could invest in innovative new technologies but should also continue to focus on improving existing amenities, especially WiFi, as that remains [the] most important [feature] for business travelers.”
This is telling of the convenience that travelers often seek out when away for business. If in-room technology is favored over luxury amenities, is the hotel industry doing enough to meet those needs?
It’s also important that hotels don’t move too far ahead at a pace too quick; this could potentially drive away travelers who aren’t already familiar with new advancements.
For example, while the use of machines is rising in the food and beverage industry, robotic receptionists at front desks could be a step too far at present time, and may intimidate rather than comfort travelers.
Voice-activated hotel rooms too could also be a more common reality in the distant future, where commands are communicated and synced through Siri. But while hotel tech advancements are well and good, travelers still yearn for the personal touch.
The iclub Hotels model
A model brand that strikes a balance between tech offerings and functionality is Hong Kong’s iclub Hotels. A line of hotels by Regal Hotels International, iclub strives to make the business travel experience an altogether more convenient one, but doesn’t skimp on the leisure travel experience at it.
For guests who book direct on the site, complimentary WiFi is available. The best part about iclub is that it helps you stay connected with unlimited data even when you’re outside your room.
This is made possible by free 4G LTE WiFi via a gadget you can easily slip into your pocket as you shuffle around Hong Kong to meetings and events. This nifty little device can support up to 10 devices at one time, allowing you – and even your associates, if you’d like – to stay on top of things all the time.
But that’s not iclub’s only offering. While it recognizes the business needs of travelers, the hotel also knows the importance of the leisure experience, especially for those on “bizcations”. While it doesn’t strictly fall in the business hotel category, iclub successfully capitalizes on both corporate and leisure guests.
Proof is in the Ricoh Theta 360 cameras that guests can rent out for free. The compact, lightweight body of the camera means it doesn’t have to be lugged around, and the 360-degree feature offers an alternative view.
For informal meetings and social gatherings, the hotel’s 24-hour iLounge is ideal. The space doesn’t have the stiffness of a standard Executive Lounge, but has all the warmth of a cosy café.
Apart from tech features, location is also just as vital to the traveler with a packed schedule. All iclub Hotels are located with convenience and accessibility in mind, and are complemented by Hong Kong’s ultra-efficient public transportation system.
If you want to be near Causeway Bay, iclub Fortress Hill Hotel is only an enviable five minutes away. Meanwhile, iclub Yuhong Hotel in mainland China is strategically located next to Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport.
At the end of the year, iclub Ma Tau Wai Hotel will open its doors to 340 guestrooms, and will only add to the brand’s wide reach across Hong Kong and mainland China.
All iclub rooms are consistent in that they’re clean, comfortable and functional for the business traveler. Windows let in ample natural light, and amenities include workspaces with multimedia connectivity panels, LCD televisions, mini fridges, electric kettles, and room safes.
Overall, iclub’s incorporation of its tech and traditional offerings are curated for the busy business traveler, and it tells in the way the brand expertly straddles between convenience and style.
The middle ground
Using the iclub Hotels model, it’s clear that the ideal business hotel is all about balance.
The modern corporate guest doesn’t just want fancy sheets or staff that’ll bend over backwards for them; it’s about finding the middle ground for guests to best optimize their time.
In the grand scheme of the hotel industry, business travelers make up a valuable voice, and if the tourism trade continues to listen, the results could bring about substantial revenues.
Interested? Find out more or book a stay now.