Eye on the Industry: iPad Merges Leading Technology with Hotel Operations

The following is a post from Stephanie Moser, TIG Global Marketing.

Last week brought with it a highly anticipated announcement from Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, regarding the latest tech offering from the computer giant. The iPad tablet, set to hit stores in March, is already being revered as potentially industry altering technology for the hotel segment.

Tell me more…
The iPad, Apple’s newest product, is a 9 ½ by 7 ½-inch, 1 ½-pound tablet with the same multi-touch screen as the iPhone, and is compatible with almost 140,000 apps from the Apple App Store. It also includes improved Calendar, Notes, and Email applications. Users can watch different forms of videos on the tablet, ranging from HD movies and YouTube videos to podcasts and TV shows. The Maps application uses high-resolution satellite imagery and Google Services for street views, or users can check out a new topography view. One of the newest applications on the iPad is the iBook, which allows users to buy books through the app, display those books on their virtual “bookshelf,” and read them at any time. This new offering will also be able to locate and connect with Wi-Fi networks, and by April, the iPad will be available with the 3G network, meaning users won’t always need to join a wireless connection to access the iPad’s features.

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What’s the catch?
So far, a few flaws have come to light about the iPad. Users can’t multitask with the tablet, so, for example, apps won’t work while you’re also looking at your browser (think listening to music while trying to search the web). A front-facing camera has been oft-mentioned as a possible feature on the next iPhone – but it’s missing from the iPad. In fact, the iPad doesn’t include a camera of any sort. In addition, the iPad is not compatible with Flash. This means that if users navigate to a website that features Flash, they are going to be missing large pieces of that website. This will be the case unless Flash is replaced by another method for interactivity on websites.

How can hotels use the iPad?
A recent article published by Terence Ronson of Pertlink highlights a few possible uses of the iPad in hotels. The iPad’s superior display screen could lend itself to a myriad of uses. Ronson suggests housekeeping could use hotel room images to alert maintenance of any issues in a room with only a tap of the screen. Security could use the tablet to watch for any potential suspicious activity in a hotel. Guests could use the iPad to browse high quality images of different food selections – and actually choose them on the same device. The iPad could be particularly beneficial to Sales and Marketing as well, as representatives can use the tablet for presentations, leads, and bookings – all on a device about the size of a magazine. The article suggests that hotels should be prepared for even more use of property High Speed Internet Access on the part of guests – the likelihood of guests using only two connections per room is very slim.

Whether or not the iPad will be the next big gadget remains to be seen. As technology improves tablets, touchscreens, and smartphones, hotels should take advantage to make the guest experience better, and more convenient. With or without the iPad, hotels do need to be prepared for ever increasing High Speed Internet Access in their properties as more guests bring devices with Internet access.

Looking to ramp up your interactive marketing strategy? TIG Global offers a full suite of online marketing tools to get your brand noticed. Click here to learn more, or give us a call at 301-841-4700.

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