Hotel gadget contest winners aim to better meet guests' needs

Competition attracts innovative ideas on how to give guests better service and happier stay

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 5:55am

Checking into a hotel could be about to change forever after the winners of a six-month global search to find gadgets that could change travellers' lives were unveiled by Polytechnic University.

The eight winners include two gadgets that offer a radical departure to meeting and greeting. Guests can bypass the check-in desk with AElement, a new security room key, and once in their rooms, Tely, a Skype-style interactive television, gives them the power of the concierge service.

The prototypes of all eight products will now be put through their paces at Hotel Icon, PolyU's research partner.

Terence Ronson, chairman of the Tomorrow's Guestrooms contest, said it would be "a living, breathing live experiment".

Richard Hatter, general manager of Hotel Icon in Tsim Sha Tsui, said his hotel looked forward to being at the forefront of innovation, but added the six-month experiment would not be intrusive.

"There's a very important part [to the experiment] to reassure guests that they are not being observed," he said.

Other winners included a real-time minibar, tracking what is taken to the second and two alarm clocks with extra functions, such as the ability to control room temperature or charge a smartphone.

There is also a device to stick tablets and smartphones to the wall and a high-definition coloured carpet.

But Ronson, a hotel technology expert, played down the role of data gathering in some of the winning technologies.

"It allows us to collect a lot of data and analysis on the behaviour of the guest within the room," he said.

He said this information would help hoteliers to better cater to the needs and demands of their guests.