AUDIO IN THE HOTEL – AN EXPERT’S VIEW

Fraser Hickox entered the hospitality industry in 1985, when he established the Peninsula Hotel Group Research and Technology Centre, dedicated to developing technologies appropriate for the Peninsula Hotel Group worldwide, under the direction of the Chairman Sir Michael Kadoorie. The first hotel was the 730-room Kowloon property, which was considered at the time to be the most technologically advanced hotel. He then went on to innovate and install technology in all the Peninsula Hotels globally.

Fraser is now the General Manager of the Conceptual Group and has worked on technology projects with many other hotel groups and is currently working with Gallery M Hotel Wanchai, Korea Telecom Hotel complex, Millennium Silicon Valley Hotel and Serviced Apartments, Millennium Taipei, a control system for MAF’s owner’s private ship, the Tokyo Fish Market redevelopment and Tara Hotel London. Fraser has also been involved with product development in the technology arena, including a deck chair steward signaling device for resorts, a luggage bench with a built-in scale, a pod chair for next-gen hotels and the development of LED light sources for hospitality. Fraser has been recognised with the following awards: University Medal, Personalite de l’Annee – Internationale Hotellerie and has been inducted into the Hospitality Hall of Fame HFTP 2008.

We asked hi his thoughts on in-room audio, and how hoteliers should approach the question. 

In the past, the guest room television was often the source of background for many travellers working or resting in their room without concentrating on the content. However, thanks to the growing number of guest carried devices, in addition to the on line music and radio services now available on the web this practice is changing with a preference for audio services.

The limiting factor relates to the audio reproduction quality and while this can be resolved using all nature of headphones and ear buds there is a preference to listening as one would in their home environment placing greater demand on the speakers.

The more recent televisions are now providing a Bluetooth capability enabling guests to syncronise their carried devices to replay their own stored music and audio files. There is now an enormous genre range of audio services for different guest profile further driving this need, such as those offered by Yamaha, who have spent many years working in the field of hospitality, and thus have a professional approach to the matter.

While the Bluetooth link is effective and simple to initiate the test occurs as a result of the down firing speakers built into the receiver which frankly are limited and more so if the television is firing speakers of the televisions often offer poor quality reproduction to play audio particularly if enclosed in a cove built within a cove which further reduces reproduction quality. The answer is the use of either a sound bar or stand alone audio system as is offered by Yamaha and others

Guest satisfaction is a result of amenities offered, this is a significant contribution.