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iPad Tablet in Hotels? Are We Ready?

Several days ago, we discussed the impacts of iPhone Apps to hotel operations (http://linchikwok.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-will-iphone-travel-apps-change-our.html). On January 28, Apple introduced its newest innovation --- iPad Tablet. What does Tablet means to our business?

According to the suggestions of Terence Ronson at Hotel-Online.com, Tablet will be used to enhance hotel operations, such as the following:

1. “E-Reg” cards with signature capture will replace traditional registration cards;
2. E-menu with pictures will be used, and guests can read wine reviews with external links;
3. Housekeeper can capture maintenance issues and submit the maintenance request via Tablet;
4. Sales and Marketing staff can travel with Tablet for presentations and make reservations directly with Tablet.

These functions all sound great, but my question is how will Tablet really make a difference in operations? In fact, existing technology already allows us to capture guest e-signatures (e.g. when we sign our credit cards) or order foods on e-menus (you may watch the attached video for e-menus; I watched it more than one year ago). Of course, iPad looks very trendy and modern, but it is not cheap. Considering the benefits associated with the operation costs, I am not very optimistic of iPad’s future in hotel operations. The bottom line is why would a hotel use Tablet if it can be replaced by something else that is a lot cheaper?

Renee Oricchio expressed her concerns about Tablet at Inc.com. She questions whether the Tablet may become real popular among consumers. Why? The price could be a boundary. On top of that, users need to sign a two year contract with 3G service providers, and this two year commitment is not cheap either. I personally don’t expect any immediate effect from Tablet in the next couple years. Let’s wait and watch how Tablet may influence hoteliers and/or customers.

References:
Hotel-Online: http://hotel-online.com/News/PR2010_1st/Jan10_IPad.html
Inc.com: http://technology.inc.com/blog/2010/01/why_apple_tablet_may_bomb.html
Photo was copied from http://www.apple.com/
Video was downloaded from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp-D7aHzr6Q

Comments

  1. I was very interested in this new fad of iPads as well so this article definitely grabbed my attention! I agree with you in many parts since there are already so much high-tech electronics out in the industry anyways, why spend millions of dollars to replace? Perhaps in a couple of years, the price of this gadgets will go down, and be affordable to many businesses to use. Then again, I'm sure another crazy electronic will come into place as well!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Jessica. I agree. Even as a consumer, I will not replace my laptop with a Tablet yet.

    I checked the price at Apple.com a minute ago. The price seems reasonable:
    WiFi Access: $499 (16G), $599 (32G), & $699 (64G).
    WiFi & 3G: $629 (16G), $729 (32G), & $829 (64G).

    The listed price seems competable with laptops. We need to wait and see Tablet's performance. For example, battery life is important for laptops, but Apple had battery issues in some of their products before.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kids would love it. And i like the idea of seeing the food. So much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Review posted at NYTimes.com (April 25, 2010): Testing the iPad’s Trip-Worthiness - http://nyti.ms/ar2Fe0

    ReplyDelete
  5. Even cheap hotels will often increase their rates as they begin to book up.

    Rio Pousadas

    ReplyDelete

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