In my last article I wrote about some of the top ten technology trends that Dave Berkus feels are shaping the future. Specifically I addressed the growing scope of the Internet, the "Paradise of Choice," and how the Internet has democratized search. There are some other great trends he points to.
Berkus writes that "Increasing computer power drives changes in human behavior." What's that he said? How can more processing speed change behavior? Well, maybe it doesn't have much affect on a desert nomad, but it allows people today to communicate and share in ways that they never dreamed possible. We've gone from sending a letter to a friend describing a passage across the Atlantic that took three weeks to arrive and another three weeks to get a reply back, to being able to share photos and videos, describe the trip moment by moment to a vast audience, and to use that information coming from one person to help us decide if we want to follow in their tracks. It's called trip planning in the Internet age. And computing power makes it possible, and easy!
Along the same lines, mobile computing is changing our lives. Who amongst us doesn't carry a cell phone? Not many. In 10 years the cell phone went from being a luxury often tethered to a car to a necessity to a fashion accessory. In the process, many inns have done away with their land line phones in guest rooms, because no one uses or needs them! Many guests arrive at your inn using GPS or other directions on their phone. How many inn websites today are mobile friendly? Did you even consider it? If not, it's time to talk to your webmaster.
Consumer expectations are on the rise. Not only would many like to be able to look up your website on their phone, they want HDTV, WiFi, and an MP3 player dock in their rooms. It's what they have at home, and they expect no less when they travel. Most inns have WiFi today, and in fact B&Bs led the lodging industry on this. But we may be falling behind when it comes to audiovisual media. Flat screens are in, but many inns still fight with the notion of even having a TV in the room. If the consumer enjoys a "Paradise of Choice," then the smart innkeepers offer those choices.
In the last installment of this series, I'll talk about Web 2.0, the growth in Internet search, and the implications of green travel. Until then, happy innkeeping!