Friday, January 31, 2014

Travel Essentials on the Go

Everyone's experienced that moment of panic when you look in your suitcase and realize you forgot something important. Hotels around the country are starting lending programs for guests who forget items. From hair dryers to phone chargers, hotels are making it easier than ever before for guests to replace lost items while traveling.

Candlewood suites offers guests a lending locker, which will be in all 304 of its' properties by the end of the year. Guests can borrow non traditional items, such as a blender or a George Foreman grill - making it useful especially for extended stay travelers. And it's easy too, all guests have to do is fill out a check out form at the front desk and return it before leaving the hotel.

The Hyatt Union Square recently launched their accessories butler, which has earrings, bracelets, belts and other accessories. Wake up late for your business meeting only to realize you forgot a belt? No need to run to a department store, it's right in the hotel lobby!  

Kimpton Hotels' "Forget it? We got it!" program provides travel essentials to guests such as cosmetics, hair products, laptop and phone chargers, and more. It was launched in 2004 and aimed towards female guests, but it was such a success that they are expanding to male travelers as well. 

Little touches like helping with lost items make a hotel stand out against competition because when travelers are happy they're more likely to come back. And if they can charge their phone because the hotel offers free chargers, they might even tweet about what great customer service they received!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Face of Hotel Business Centers in 2014

In an increasingly digital world, the need for business centers in most hotels has diminished. However, rather than eliminate business centers completely, many hotels are updating them for the 21st century traveler. 

IHG's Crowne Plaza hotels let guests wirelessly print to the business center from anywhere in the hotel - making it easy to print a boarding pass or handouts for a meeting. The hotel also automatically logs previous guests back onto their Wi-Fi network when they arrive, saving guests the trouble of logging in and out.

InterContinental’s new brand EVEN Hotels, which open this year, features a "hot desk" instead of a traditional business center. The hot desk will have two laptops and guests can print wirelessly from their own devices or from the two laptops offered.

Wyndham hotel group launched a new prototype, which combines the business center with the lobby. Computers are available with comfortable chairs and Wi-Fi making it feel more like home.

In 2014 business centers are more about making people's lives easier than providing a necessity. Hotels that can have a business center that stays relevant and makes their guests' stays better will be ahead of the game. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Technology Trends for 2014

Just what the biggest trends of 2014 will be no one can say for sure, but they will change consumers' lives for the better.

Smart homes seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but new technology is bringing it closer to reality. Nest, a smart home thermostat, uses Wi-Fi to communicate between devices and can be used on iOS and android making it easy for consumers to make the switch. Another advancement is Lockitron, it lets you lock your doors using your smartphone. No more running around looking for lost keys!

Cloud computing is also expected to vastly grow in 2014. It allows for your data to be stored on the Internet, rather than on a physical hard drive. Phone stolen? Just login with your Apple or Google ID and all of your contacts and photos will be automatically uploaded to your new phone. Cloud is also more secure, even if your computer dies everything is backed up online - providing consumers with greater security.

Drones have been behind the scenes for years now, but recently they are starting to be considered for commercial use. They can be used to deliver packages or to take pictures without having to send a person to do it. Right now the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved only one drone for commercial use, and that's in the Arctic. Drone use will continue to be controversial in 2014, but it could be the wave of the future.

In December of 2014, we'll know which of these trends proves true, but only time will tell. And who knows what the tech trends of 2015 might be?

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Hotel Trends: Portable Hotels

New York is full of vacant office buildings and owners are struggling to find clients for them. That's where Pink Cloud Architecture comes in - they are a company that aims to turn empty skyscrapers into cool, trendy pop up hotels.


This type of hotel works by being in pop up form so it can be easily installed and dismantled, allowing office owners to easily transform their space into a hotel if the demand arises. The hotel comes prepackaged in color coded pieces, then the pieces are put in boxes designed to fit in elevators. The boxes contain everything needed for a complete hotel - from hotel rooms, to conference rooms, and even reception areas. People looking to open a pop up hotel can order only the parts they need online, creating a truly customized experience.


Pink Cloud’s design won first prize in the Radical Innovations in Hospitality contest this year and it's easy to see why. This design could easily be used for Chicago too - imagine being able to create temporary hotels during peak tourist seasons!

For more information please visit

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Social Media in the Sky

Today’s social media is everywhere. So it’s no wonder that airlines are now beginning to use social media to gain information about their customers’ preferences before they even step foot on the plane.

The airline Quantas is starting to monitor digital conversations in an effort to figure out flyers’ preferences using a technology from an Australian startup company called Local Measure. Local Measure’s technology works by using GPS coordinates. For example, a customer could Instagram a photo from an airport lounge and the airline would be instantly alerted allowing them to see what customers are eating or drinking in the airport. In return this information could be utilized by the airline making a traveler’s trip even more enjoyable.

Another advantage to using social media concerns customer satisfaction. If a customer makes a Facebook status or tweets about an issue they are having, the airline is instantly alerted about the problem as well as where the guest is located, allowing for a quick problem solved! Having customer assistance before even having to ask is something we’re definitely on board with!

Social media provides a way for companies to interact with their customers closely while gaining unbiased feedback. So the next time you take a trip be armed with your smart phone – you never know, social media could save the day!

For more information please visit