To have a telephone in your hotel room was once such a novelty that hotels marketed themselves with this as their main attraction. Like this leaflet. A phone in every room. The latest thing. Cool. Modern. Luxury.
Nowadays, the cool, modern trend is for your hotel to boast that it doesn’t have a phone in every room. It doesn’t have a phone in any room. In the past few years, guests have increasingly ignored their hotel telephone. Partly this is because the guests carry their own smartphones with them, all the time. Partly, also, it’s because they don’t want to pay a huge bill just for picking up the receiver. So, some hotels are now doing away with the in-room phone entirely, as the Premier Inn chain explains.
Instead, some hotels want their guests to text them their housekeeping requests, for extra towels or room service, say, or message them directly through the hotel’s app. The Marriott mobile app offers this, as do other hotel brands.
Soon, you might be able to check in and check out of your hotel, and order fancy pastries long the way, without ever having spoken to another human being. Your cellphone can even act as your key.
One hotel in Singapore, however, has gone the other way. It offers a telephone in every room — but the phone is a local cellphone. Now that‘s a canny piece of marketing.
Ah well. I won’t mourn the loss of the wired hotel phone. But I’ll shout if they come for the kettle…