Technology? Bed and Breakfast? Not usually expressions to be found in the same sentence! But one afternoon as I was sitting quietly relaxing with a cup of tea before our guests started to arrive, I found myself thinking about the ways in which technology impacts upon our B&B and the guest experience we offer.
There are some things that may seem fairly obvious, the telephone for instance. But let's just think about that one for a minute.
|Mary pretending to be a guest calling from London!|
When we opened the Carlisle House in April 2004, one of the reasons we took on the project was because we had been to many inns and hotels which did not rise to the level that we, as travelers, expected. So I spent the very first weekend installing telephones, network outlets and television connections in all of the rooms, and of course a voicemail and telephone system hidden away in the basement along with network routers and the DSL modem which was the hi-tech Internet connectivity device of those days.
From day one we offered free local and Long-distance phone calls anywhere in the continental USA and Canada. Our system also allowed conference calling, room to room calling, and instant calling to Mary and myself. Believe it or not, impressive though that all is, it was the least important part of what we were trying to achieve!
We wanted to be available to our guests whenever they called, and no matter where we were so it was important that the phone system should offer an option to the guest to press a key and be transferred to our cell-phones pretty much instantly, whether calling from their room or calling into the Carlisle House from outside. 10 years ago when we were planning this, cell-phones were not quite so ubiquitous, so the system also enabled callers to contact guests directly in their rooms.
In the first few years we were able to keep track of our reservations by regularly printing out lists - particularly if we were going to be away from the inn more than a couple of hours, but by never missing a call we started on the continuing process of using technology to give our guests a better experience - or as we now say, "A Better Way to Stay"!
(Alan Duxbury spent most of his life working with, and being fascinated by technology, so watch out for a few more blog posts on this never-ending topic!)