When travelling to different parts of the world these days high tech seems to be making its way into your hotel room. From digital card keys or phone apps for door locks to motion sensors for room temperature control or automated minibar sensors in snack trays with built-in electronic scales are now common practice. But with that type of convenience comes less control and frequent frustration as customers are instantly billed for just touching a food item or left feeing helpless when their room is either too hot or cold. Local tech blogger Kevin Andrews is with us this morning to talk all things tech in today’s modern hotels.
I hear these types of complaints quite frequently from people when I’m travelling that their rooms don’t get hot enough or cold enough or that ventilation shuts off in the middle of the night. Someone actually said to me this weekend in a hotel that their thermostat said 20C but it felt like a frigid 5. And so I said to him that it really wasn’t their imagination because based on all my research some high tech hotel thermostats often aren’t under the user’s control.
Based on several recent reputable investigations on hotel tech it was disclosed that some high tech hotel thermostats are often linked with a more energy-efficient, motion-detecting system in your room and it was determined that no matter how much tinkering is done with the thermostat ultimately the hotel has the last say in how long an air conditioning or heating unit remains on or how hot or cold it is in your room. The new word on the street to this lack of thermostat control is called by many hotel’s as “passive temperature control”. And so based on the movement in the room and time of day restricting a guest’s access to the room’s temperature decreases costs associated with hotel maintenance while avoiding a potential disaster if an air conditioning condenser freezes. The end result though is the temperature of a room is often just for show and that can be frustrating especially if you paid a pretty penny to stay the night.
There are many who do their best to try and override room control sensors but I think they will have no choice as hotel rooms are getting even more high-tech. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Vegas I’d recommend staying at THE WYNN hotel. Not only a gorgeous view but in every room, is fitted with Amazon’s digital assistant device called the Echo – a voice-controlled digital assistant much like Apple’s Siri however more intuitive. With that voice controlled assistant in your room listening to every word, guests will be able to use the Echo to control the room’s lights and drapes, the temperature of the room, and even the television.
As thermostats grow smarter and hotels further refine their operation, the rigging of room temperatures will likely persist. I’d recommend checking out reviews found on either Expedia or TripAdvisor if this is a concern for you. In my opinion, hotels aren’t in the business of upsetting their guests – it’s just not good business. If thermostat-control issues becomes an epidemic without treatment, it will be the hotels themselves that chose to cannibalize their own industry, which would be an egregious error given the availability of such hotel-like alternatives such as Airbnb – a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique spaces around the world.