Portable power outlets may just be the next big technology in the hospitality industry. Smartphone usage has already reshaped the industry, and while companies are better at keeping customers and employees connected with WiFi, fewer organizations take low battery anxiety seriously by offering the convenience of portable power outlets.
According to Hospitality Trendz, while traditional hotel amenities like free breakfasts, free WiFi, and Instagram-worthy pools are regularly considered, “whether or not the hotel has enough device charging options” is “often overlooked, both by the guest and the hotel.”
Hospitality providers, like hotels, restaurants, bars and spas—basically anywhere customers may spend free time with friends and family—should consider the availability and ease of use of power outlets when it comes to charging their customers’ mobile devices. Furthermore, as hospitality workers rely more heavily on mobile technology in their day-to-day work, fully charged devices for employees are important to consider as well.
Let’s break down why portable power outlets and other charging solutions could be a valuable asset for customers, employees, and the hospitality industry in general.
Power to the People
Smartphones are engrained into the daily lives of Americans; according to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans own a smartphone, which is over double the amount that owned a smartphone in 2011. As that number continues to grow and the capabilities of phones continue to expand, Americans will only become more reliant on them. But as smartphones get better, batteries struggle to keep up.
Today’s smartphones get anywhere from six hours of screen time to almost fourteen. While that may suffice for a light work day, travelers and restaurant patrons who rely on their mobile devices often have less access to secure charging as they make their way from place to place. And, as research and personal experience shows, smartphones are an integral part of the hospitality experience.
Social media plays a big role in influencing where people decide to go--in fact, 65% of social media posts are about where to eat. Instagram users make art of food and drinks at restaurants and hotels (and a lack of an Instagram presence is enough of a reason to avoid a restaurant for some people). 72% of travelers post vacation pictures while still on vacation; 85% of leisure travelers use their smartphones while on vacation; and 44% of travelers use their smartphones to research travel during their stay, according to Webpage FX.
To help customers stay connected, free public WiFi is becoming a commonplace courtesy at hotels and restaurants. According to a recent survey by Toast, WiFi is one of the top three technology features restaurant guests look for when dining. But while smartphone engagement is at an all-time high in the hospitality industry, accessible charging continues to lag behind.
How many of us, at one point or another, have sheepishly asked a bartender or server if there was someplace we could charge our phone for a few minutes?
Restaurants, hotels, bars, and spas can help improve the customer experience by making charging solutions like portable power outlets and charging stations a standard amenity in locations where people relax and spend time: in booths and hotel lobbies, at dinner tables and on excursions, at the spa or in the pool area.
Mobile Power for a Mobile Industry
The hospitality industry is driven by on-the-go customers who rely on their smartphones to get by. As a result, there are endless travel blogs out there addressing low battery anxiety among travelers. Take, for example, some of the tips from Smarter Travel, which include enabling airplane mode, enabling battery-saver mode, turning off location services, and stopping refreshing apps like Facebook and email.
Is totally limiting phone functionality the best way to address low battery anxiety, though? Hospitality providers have a chance to help customers stay connected—and happy—when they adopt friendly charging technology.
Investing in Charging Could Bring Quick Returns
The importance of a fully charged phone is well-known in the retail industry, where consumers regularly use their smartphones to help them make purchasing decisions. Forbes reported that stores that offer secure charging locations saw customers stick around twice as long, improved total purchases per transaction by 29%, and 50% more sales transactions than before.
The hospitality industry would do well to take a page out of the retail industry’s book, as both are undergoing a mobile revolution. According to CMO, mobile devices are fundamentally altering the way customers and hospitality providers interact. More and more, travelers shop for flights and accomodations on their mobile phones (37%). Plus, mobile bookings, check-ins, and check-outs help improve the customer experience, with over 33% of guests using mobile devices to book a hotel room. With all those uses for smartphones, keeping them charged is increasingly important for travelers and visitors.
Perhaps most telling of all for the future of guest relations is that a shocking 83% of millennials “would let travel brands track their digital patterns if this would provide them with a more personalized experience.” That level of guest-company integration hinges upon a charged smartphone. With this data in hand, hotels and restaurants can provide more targeted advertising for improved conversion rates. As customers turn to digital methods (social media, email, apps) to interact with companies, all of that data can be used to create better experiences for them.
Portable power outlets and other customer-friendly charging solutions are a must-have for hospitality providers looking to compete in the industry. Customers aren’t the only ones who rely on mobile technology, though.
5 Ways Smart Phone Charging Improves Hospitality Operations
Among hospitality organizations, mobile technology is quickly being adapted as the interface of choice between employees and business applications like customer relationship management software and point-of-sales software. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why secure and accessible charging is critical to today’s hospitality industry.
Agility and Accuracy
Hotels are increasingly relying on mobile devices and apps for managing the work day. Employees are being equipped with mobile devices to ensure they have access to the most up-to-date information during customer interactions.
Restaurants and bars are adopting mobile devices to provide servers a handheld point-of-sale system. By adopting this technology, servers can provide better, more accurate service.
As the hospitality industry adopts more mobile technology, portable power outlets that employees can carry with them when on the go with guests will be necessary to keep the mobile workforce going.
Additional Engagement Opportunities
Quick-service restaurants can utilize tabletop tablets or mobile apps to provide a second opportunity for customers to place an order. Keeping the restaurant’s devices charged up helps increase customer engagement and bump up sales that may have never happened otherwise.
Other hospitality providers like hotels and spas can follow suit and help generate more spend through secondary engagements by encouraging customers to dwell longer while charging their smartphones.
Clean Devices, Healthy Habits
As the hospitality industry relies more on mobile devices, one of the challenges will be stopping the spread of germs as they’re passed between employees and customers. Given how much mobile devices get handled, it isn’t surprising that smartphones are 10x dirtier than a toilet seat.
In hotels and restaurants where food and drinks are regularly handled, this presents an increased risk for guest health. Luckily, new charging technology incorporates UV-light to disinfect mobile devices while they’re plugged in.
Chemical-free and environmentally friendly, UV light technology is extremely effective at killing microorganisms (including viruses and bacteria). Hotels and restaurants can clean their devices without harsh smells or byproducts that can affect the customer’s experience, all while charging.
One of the most anxiety-inducing scenarios for many people is being forced to choose between spending time with friends and family or protecting their phone while it’s plugged into a distantly-placed outlet.
Don’t make your customers resort to inconvenient plugs just to get a little juice. - image source
With strategically placed cell phone charging lockers, hospitality providers can alleviate all of these problems by giving employees and customers a pin-secured bay in which to charge and store their phones.
A Competitive Differentiator
With threats from industry “disruptors” like Airbnb and food delivery services, the hospitality industry needs to find every way to improve the customer experience. While it may seem like a small detail, charging solutions are a service hoteliers and restaurateurs can provide that may prove to be a competitive differentiator.
There are many more possibilities for portable power outlets and charging stations to reshape the customer and employee experience, depending on the physical spaces and types of services offered by hospitality providers. For example, hotels that offer day tours and excursions may invest in portable charging to keep customers Instagramming the whole trip. Finding the right mix of portable power outlets, charging lockers, and outlet-equipped furniture will depend on your customers’ behavior and your employees’ needs.
Portable Power Outlets: Charge Wherever, Whenever
Don’t let low batteries hurt your customer experience. ChargeTech offers a full line of charging solutions for the hospitality industry, from individual portable power outlets to UV Charging Cabinets. Contact us today for a free mockup to see how our charging solutions will look with your branding.