DO’s and DON’Ts of Hotel Technology - v2015

By Terence Ronson - Hospitality Professional, Technology Consultant, Public Speaker and Inventor

9 June 2015

With HITEC 2015 just around the corner, Terence Ronson of Pertlink shares a wide-ranging list of tech-related ideas to implement… and mistakes to avoid! Common-sense stuff, and yet pure genius!


  1. Use digital signage instead of printed posters
  2. Put some free bottles of drinking water in the mini bar so that they are nice and cool
  3. Check all the peep holes on guest room doors to make sure they are secure and the right way round
  4. Mount irons on wall brackets in closets instead of placing them on the floor or shelves – tidier and easier for Guest access
  5. Clearly display broadband charges, if your hotel has any - and have a disclaimer sign-on page especially if your Government requires it
  6. Make it easy to switch off all lights in the guestroom from the bed - especially the bathroom and Vestibule lights
  7. Simplify the process of plugging in a hairdryer, shaver, or electric toothbrush in the bathroom
  8. Make the lighting in the bathroom bright enough for doing makeup/grooming – ask a Woman to check it
  9. Have an illuminated make-up mirror in the bathroom
  10. Have a de-fogging mirror in the bathroom
  11. Have universal power sockets with USB power sockets beside the bed, at the desk, and easily available for guest-use in public areas, especially Lobby Lounges, Dining areas, Club Lounges and Poolside - also have international adaptors handy
  12. Have an emergency torch/flashlight in the guest room
  13. Offer free boarding pass printing in Business centers
  14. Provide equal quantity of Apple computers in the business center, as Window's PC's
  15. Have a selection of Apple Notebook power adaptors and connection adaptors available for a guest to borrow in case they accidentally forget theirs at home. Same applies to iPhone/iPod, Blackberries and other popular devices.
  16. Use wireless mice at the Front Desk
  17. Have a smartphone compliant version of your hotel data file available for download on your website at the same time make sure your website is mobile device compliant
  18. Work with your system providers so that they produce eForms and not printed reports - especially Registration cards and Folios
  19. Make sure excess power and data and power cables are neatly tied, or cut to the right length. If that is not possible - cover them somehow
  20. Have a simple but easy to read digital clock in the bathroom
  21. Encourage staff to bring laptops or Tablets to meetings and use them for note taking and not use paper pads. This helps them multi-task and be paperless.
  22. Have easily accessible universal power sockets with USB power sockets in Meeting rooms since more and more people bring tech with them and need power
  23. Have a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray lending library if you still have such a player in the guestroom
  24. Have your Concierge know where is the Apple Service Center and also other popular brands like IBM, DELL, Lenovo, Asus, Samsung, Xiaomi, HTC and Blackberry
  25. Have a person or system to constantly monitor social networking sites for mentions about your hotel and respond appropriately and in a timely manner – make responses sound like they are from humans, and not scripted
  26. Have competent front line staff on-property who can deal with Guest TECH queries - make sure they have the requisite troubleshooting, social and interpersonal skills as well
  27. Realize that when you buy technology - you need a support agreement as well - and this often doubles the Tech cost over 4-5 years. Work out a 5-year TCO
  28. Put a notice on your HSIA sign-up screen that your government may block access to certain websites and internet services if they apply to you. Have your IT People know how to workaround this if the Guest asks – such as a VPN
  29. Check your TV channel reception from time to time and make sure it's nice and clear and the sound is in sync with the picture
  30. Make sure the electronic door lock on the guest room door closes quickly when the door shuts
  31. Check the speed, noise and effectiveness of the air-con fan coil in the guest room
  32. Print your IM address on your Business card like a Skype ID, Whatsapp or WE CHAT – maybe even use a QR code
  33. Put an internet browsing station in the Staff Canteen for Staff to check email, and fill up forms or requests during breaks
  34. Encourage your Guests to also perform a virtual Check-in to such sites as Facebook and Foursquare when they physically Check-in to your establishment
  35. Encourage your Guests to post photos of their food on Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram – and consider printing your name on the chinaware so it's captured in the photo – free advertising
  36. Get your technology vendors to update you twice a year on their roadmap – maybe under NDA
  37. Add CCTV cameras inside your Data Center - one that is directed to the server racks and the other, to the entrance door
  38. Use electronic locks with audit trails on your Server racks – not just metal keys
  39. Remember that guest's trust their mobile phones to wake them up - more than they do your wake-up call service or alarm clock next to the bed
  40. Perform regular complete system and data backups and store them off-site
  41. Consider placing a 'dock extender' cable into the cable pack that you may be placing in your rooms so that a Guest can connect an iPad to the iPod/iPhone dock you are providing
  42. Have staff who do in-room check-in, offer to help guests connect their computer to the HSIA/Wi-Fi as well as make them an Espresso should you have such a machine in the room
  43. Allow guest's to tailor make their fruit basket if you plan to give them one - not everyone likes green apples and pears - same goes for turndown amenity - not everyone wants or can eat chocolates or sweet items. Do use local fruits where available.
  44. Offer ePostcards from your website
  45. Have a shelf in the toilet cubicle where guest's can place their mobile phone/Tablet and maybe a book
  46. Work in your own guestroom from time to time and see how comfortable and practical it is - especially the height of the chair in relation to the desk – or location of the TV and speed of the internet
  47. Use a bio-metric reader or PIN pad for staff entrance/egress that is linked to the Time and Attendance/Payroll System
  48. Make sure the light inside the wardrobe does switch off when the door is closed
  49. Make sure your room safe is bolted down to a floor or wall and cannot be easily removed
  50. Monitor the TV volume in the guest room so that it can go down very low and not too high. Some guests like to leave the TV on all night but at a very low background volume
  51. Have the TV sound mute when the phone rings
  52. Have a very low nightlight in the bathroom/toilet
  53. Deploy the very best cabling backbone you can – even fiber to the room
  54. Allow Guests of Residential Conferences to use the same LOGIN ID and Password that they use in the Guestroom for access to the WI-FI in the Meeting Room - don't make them pay or Log-in twice
  55. Encourage Guests to communicate with your Hotel through popular Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  56. Have air-conditioning auto cut-off in the Guest room if balcony doors are left open
  57. Make USB power points available at tables in all-day-dining facilities
  58. Install Room Control Units (RCU) in guest rooms interfaced to PMS to reduce your energy costs
  59. Consider using Motion/Presence [PIR] detectors rather than key cards to control energy in-room
  60. Check from time to time in-the-floor power sockets - the metal type which are supposed to lift up when the clip if flicked - most often they stick after a while having been covered with floor polish and dust
  61. Talk to your HSIA/Wi-Fi provider about 'roaming agreements' and having pass-thru services to such membership services as Boingo and iPass
  62. Consider having a secure place where Guests can deposit their valuables and gadgets at the poolside or beach if they want to take a dip in the pool or use the sauna – perhaps make Ziploc bags available
  63. Have Wi-Fi at the poolside and Beach
  64. Test your [magnetic] key cards to see if they de-magnetize when placed next to a mobile phone – often they do and is a great inconvenience to the guest as well as an operational chore
  65. Encourage Guest contact staff to attach VCF files in emails
  66. Consider using QR codes on your printed materials and special e-Coupon offers
  67. Put your Hotel onto Skype and encourage that as a method of communication with Guests
  68. Recycle used laser toner cartridges
  69. Think about installing a LTE/4/3G mobile hotspot in the Airport Limo so the Guest can use the service to/from the airport
  70. Have your IT team join such organizations as HFTP, HTNG and CHTP so that they keep up to date with Hotel Technology - you should also sponsor them as well as have them attend various Conferences and Exhibitions
  71. Consider carefully all the implications of Cloud Computing to include: Loss of connection, Data Security and Data Privacy
  72. Looking into MDM – Mobile Device Management if such devices are connected to your network and/or supplied by you
  73. Regularly check and install Service Packs and software upgrades


  1. Use Walkie Talkies in public areas without issuing staff with discreet ear pieces
  2. Consider PTT (Push To Talk) alternate services/apps that can run on Smartphones i.e. Zello
  3. Deploy connectivity aux or connectivity panels without having in-room cable kits to include up-to-date connectors such as used on iPhone 5/6
  4. Put a bedside clock that makes a ticking sound
  5. Charge for local phone calls unless you really have to
  6. Make it difficult to use a mouse on the Guest Room desk by using one with a glass surface - put a mouse mat in the drawer
  7. Automatically do dynamic currency conversion on credit card transactions – be sure to have the customer approve this in advance
  8. Charge exorbitant rates for printing a couple of A4 sheets in the business center or scanning 1-page
  9. Issue replacement room keys without first seeing a valid photo ID
  10. Open a Guest Room door without first seeing a valid photo ID or some other form of guest ID validation
  11. Allow staff to use thumb drives in work computers or connect mobile devices – this is often how data is lost and a virus introduced
  12. Print reports - circulate PDF versions only
  13. Send faxes when you can send PDFs with emails
  14. Use worn out ribbons on printers - especially Point of Sale printers in F&B outlets
  15. Assume your backup power generator will auto-start if there is a mains power failure. Test it regularly
  16. Print folios – only email them
  17. Use paper registration cards - use electronic ones
  18. Install both wired and wireless internet in your Guest Rooms when doing a new installation. Just having Wi-Fi is acceptable by most people and will save you a lot of money – the Sales department will guide you
  19. Assume all guests use an iPod, iPhone or iPad - believe it or not, there are many other successful products and operating systems in the marketplace
  20. Put "last updated..." on your website if you don't do it frequently
  21. Put the number of visitors to your website - no one really cares
  22. Put a chair at the desk which is difficult to pull out, heavy or is uncomfortable to sit in - even if it looks nice
  23. Just limit guests to connect two or three items to the Wi-Fi in the guestroom - often guests carry many more devices, especially if a couple are staying and with kids. Usual quantity is 10 devices per room.
  24. Clutter the desk with collaterals and printed materials - make them digital and multi-lingual - e.g. in Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Russian
  25. Just believe that by putting loads of technology into your hotel that the guest experience will be enhanced or that the guest will appreciate it
  26. Place a loudspeaker in the bathroom unless it has a volume control and the sound quality is good
  27. Just rely on the technology to operate your business - it will fail and at the worst possible time. Make sure you have a contingency plan in place for ALL systems and test it periodically
  28. Change any configuration on a guest's computer unless they ABSOLUTELY agree and you have a written record of the changes made
  29. Have multiple phones in the Guest room unless you really need to. One is usually enough.
  30. Allow iPods, MP3 players or similar devices in the workplace to be connected to your computers
  31. Print anything - only have electronic versions of all your collaterals
  32. Make it complicated for guests to use your technology - they may only stay one night and have no time to learn how to use all the gadgets and may not be as tech savvy as you think they are
  33. Overcharge for IDD calls - see if you can connect your PBX to a VOIN (Voice over Internet) service such as Skype to reduce the calling costs
  34. Lend guest's headsets in the gym unless they have been pre-sterilized and you can prove it
  35. Allow social networking connections on workplace computers unless it's for work
  36. Have water pipes inside your computer room or data center
  37. Just have a single cooling source for your Data Center - have a backup
  38. Have so many TV channels that it's difficult for the guest to quickly access what they really want to watch and make sure then it's re-switched on, it goes back to the last channel watched and only re-sets upon check-out
  39. Put a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player in the Guest room unless there is already a disc inside for the guest to quickly listen to or watch
  40. Operate a 1-button Call Center unless the staff who take the call are full trained to handle ALL queries and in various languages
  41. Put a 4-in-1 copier/scanner/printer/fax machine in the guestroom with just 2 or 3 sheets of paper inside for the guest to print on - include at least 20 sheets
  42. Use a cloud printing service to the in-room printer you are providing - some guests are bound by company confidentiality policies not to send data outside of their network and so cannot use such services, even if they are hosted by a reputable company - just add a USB cable
  43. Have electronic curtains/drapes unless they can be opened/closed from the bed as well as via a simple wall switch that the guest is aware of
  44. Put a hairdryer in the bathroom that is underpowered - and don't hide it – ask a Woman to check it before selecting
  45. Put a reading lamp at the bed which is so powerful and direct that it can burn your Guest's forehead
  46. Adjust the temperature in the Guestroom if the guest sets it at a certain level. Only reset it upon check-out.
  47. Use Flash on your website unless you really have to - not all popular Smartphones or Tablets can handle Flash
  48. Only put a keycard reader on one side of the elevator car if you have floor call buttons on both sides. And from time to time, check they both work
  49. Install an LCD TV in such a away that the Guest cannot access the connectivity ports and by doing so, they can directly connect their own devices for playback
  50. Create an app for your Hotel just for the sake of it - and all it does is make reservations. Let it be informative about your property and a guide to all the various services and amenities you provide. It will after all be your Shop window in the palm of someone's hand and directly reflect your brand values.
  51. Write "Data Center" or "Computer Room" on the door of such a place – you are inviting trouble. Better to write "Authorized access only"
  52. Use illegal software – do a license audit from time to time
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Pertlink Limited

2/f, 22 Stanley Mound Road
Stanley, Hong Kong (SAR)
Phone: +852 946 80848
Fax: +852 3010 0124

Terence Ronson

Terence Ronson is the Managing Director of Pertlink Limited. Now residing in Manila after almost two decades in Hong Kong, Terence launched his diversified hospitality career as a chef, later holding various general management positions with well-known hotels in the UK and Asia. In the mid-80s he developed his penchant for technology, and in 2000 started Pertlink Ltd., (Hong Kong) a hospitality technology consultancy, becoming as well the Technology Editor for HOTELS Asia Pacific and authoring since then numerous industry-related articles. In 2001, CNN's eBizasia program featured him for his innovative work at Rosedale on the Park Hong Kong, the first cyber boutique Hotel. It was at that point he originated the first hotel app – HOTELINMYHAND. Terence also helped Langham Place Hong Kong win many accolades for its technology deployment as well as various other well-known hotels across Southeast Asia. In China, Terence was heavily involved in establishing and delivering the IT strategy for Jumeirah Himalayas (Shanghai), Puli (Shanghai), Sofitel Wanda (Beijing), and Guoman (Shanghai). He also participated in the development of the technology vision for Disney Shanghai and Tangula Luxury Train. Terence often chairs and speaks at global industry events and sits on various advisory boards, in addition to holding a Visiting Lecturer position at Hong Kong Polytechnic. He is a CHTP (Certified Hospitality Technology Professional) and runs an active hotel technology blog.

Terence Ronson

Managing Director