According to Barker et al., 2003 the completion of in-room technology has not only improved the in-room services but also provided new ways of entertainment. The guestroom experience has changed significantly over the years. In order to provide service with more comfort and convenience to customers, hotel companies are slowly changing the area of in-room entertainment, introducing new technology into their rooms (Sieburgh, 2009).
In the past years, entertainment options were limited. But now with the fast growth of technology, consumers have various entertainment options at their fingertips. They anticipate that hotels will offer at least the same level of facilities as they have in their homes, what they currently using (Trauthwein, 2012), or greater. Guests are using technology like high-definition TV, high-speed Internet, digital entertainment devices and VoIP in their daily lives (Parets 2004).
According to Brewer et al., 2008 study of hotel managers found that in-room entertainment systems ranked second behind wireless Internet as the technology that hotel guests care about most. This growing level of guest expectation leads hotels to offer supplementary rooms with various technological devices of entertainment. According to Microsoft, in-room entertainment is one of the highest growing revenue generating opportunities in hospitality.
Several studies indicate that a number of in-room technologies are being introduced to offer better guest experience (Erdem et al., 2009; Cobanoglu et al., 2011). For example, in 2010 Marriott International tested its Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) plan in the guestrooms of a pilot hotel – Courtyard Seattle Downtown in order to increase the level of guest experience. According to Neil Schubert, Vice President of Information and Technology for Marriott, the IPTV plan will allow hotels to offer an interactive service to guests in order to give them a chance of having a similar experience to the one they have in their homes because half of the guests do not travel with their laptop electronic devices with them while traveling and 67.5% want to use them with the hotel entertainment system (Hotel marketing, 2008).
Now especially the luxury hotels are competing to give services with the latest technology for their customers. Some technological entertainment facilities are a low priority for guests, such as Internet on TV and in-room fitness facilities. Whereas some others technology such as TV, Guest Device Connectivity is necessary for customers and contribute to their high level of satisfaction. However, some facilities need special attention because they were rated as important by guests but with a low satisfaction rating. These included universal battery charge, in-room desktop PCs and music (Bilgihan, et al., 2011).
According to Peliz Nasoz (2011) did a study through an online survey with a sample of above 500 respondents examining 18 in-room technologies as the most important technologies perceived by hotel guest: in-room television, on demand services, in-room high-speed wireless Internet service, in-room temperature control of AC and heater, in-room electronic safe, connectivity panels, HDTV content, and guestroom control units. He also found that they were completely satisfied with the performance of these technologies and therefore guests like to use them during their hotel stay to enhance their experience. Alternatively, these three new technologies were not very important: Internet on the TV, 3D television, and guestroom lock use through a mobile phone. A study found that HSIA, express check-in and out remote control for the TV were ranked as having high-performance technology by guests, who categorized it as “Keep up the good work”. Conversely, some technology such as video conferencing capabilities, wireless access to the hotel website, business center and small screen TV’s were classified as “low priority” for guests, ranked as low performance and low satisfaction (Beldona ; Cobanolgu, 2007).
Hotel managers are investing in technology, not all of it has been valued by the guests, as was seen in the gap between the importance and satisfaction level for technological facilities. Therefore, it is important to survey the customers’ opinion to understand: what is the impact of technological facilities on the customer experience in luxurious hotels and to learn which technologies are really important for guests. This is one of the reasons for this study.
Business and Leisure Hotel Guests
According to Jones, 2002 a business person who travels for business purposes, defined as “all non-discretionary trips which occur specifically for the purpose of engaging in work, or incidentally in the course of conducting work-related activities”. However, an increasing number of people travel for spending the vacation (Center for Marketing Effectiveness, 2005). They are called holiday travelers or individuals who travel for pleasure (Jones, 2002).
In 2013 research performed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 40.5% of hotel guests traveled for business and 59.1% traveled for enjoyment purposes. Business and holiday travelers have different needs, want and different type of demands (Radder & Wang, 2006).
In the past, the differences between business and holiday travelers across technological preferences were more considerable. According to Hotels.com’s 2013 Global Hotel facilities assessment, both business and holiday travelers identified free Wi-Fi as the most important facility when they choose a hotel. In hotel, WiFi is considered to be must, much more essential than free breakfast, free parking or a swimming pool.
As the increasing interest of holiday guests in technology, only a few studies showed that there was no disparity between these two types of travelers regarding technological preferences. One study found that today’s holiday travelers give as much importance to in-room technologies as business travelers (Nasoz, 2011). However, the numbers of studies continue to discover some differences in guests’ technological preferences across the purpose of travel. A study with 615 respondents indicates that the need for WiFi service in a hotel is more important for business travelers than holiday travelers. The study shows that 45% of holiday travelers didn’t use the WiFi service during their stay while some used it on their laptops (34.2%), Smartphone’s (10.7%), and other devices (13.7%). Compared to the holiday travelers, most business travelers used the WiFi service (81%) with their laptops (63.5%), Smartphone’s (11%), and other devices (11.9%) (Lee & Tussyadiah, 2010).
Many of today’s holiday travelers bring their devices with them when they are traveling and gradually more demand in-room high-speed Internet (Center for Marketing Effectiveness, 2005). However, more business travelers’ main concern frees in-room Wi-Fi than holiday travelers. Business travelers are much more likely than holiday travelers to use the hotel application to book a room. A study showed that 61% of business travelers who booked their hotels on mobiles, as compared with 36.1% of holiday travelers (Google Traveler Study, 2014). In Table 1 show up the major differences between business and holiday guests.