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Connected bracelets, the new key to resorts

A symbol of all-inclusive packages, the traditional bracelet worn at resorts is also subject to the rise of new technologies. It is gradually becoming a central digital tool at properties, offering clients and hoteliers alike more and more functions, and it could even find more widespread use within the tourist accommodations industry overall.

Many resorts have pushed the digitization of their product right to the bracelets distributed to their guests. Originally used to identify the formula chosen - all-inclusive or half-board - today they serve other purposes made possible by the proliferation of all that is digital. The bracelet is no longer presented only at the bar in exchange for a pina-colada, but also in front of the room to open it and at the different areas in the property in order to enter them, or at the cash register to pay for different purchases of different articles and services.

In addition to improving the customer experience, connected bracelets are a real tool or hoteliers. By simplifying transactions for guests during their stay, they stimulate consumption and help generate additional revenues. But beyond the purely financial aspect, these smart devices gather data about customer habits in an efficient manner, such as the time they eat and products and services they consume the most. They thus contribute to the personalization of their experience and how they will be addressed. Connected bracelets also offer a storehouse of useful information in terms of management. They make it possible to smooth out circulation throughout the property, to determine where staff are is needed,  the most requested services and and the usage of certain spaces. Finally, some properties even give them an ecological and economic role by allowing them to automatically switch off lights upon leaving the room.

Several chains have already adopted the functions of the connected bracelet, such as Hard Rock Hotels at its Ushuaïa and Ibiza properties. Called VIB, for pour Very Important Bracelet, it allows clients to open their door using contact-free technology, to pay for their consumptions in the hotel by recording information to be included on the final bill or to be shared with other guests or staff at the property. More recently the  German operator TUI positioned itself on the segment, by testing the tool in one of its Turkish properties. Distributed to customers upon arrival, it eliminates the need to carry their room key or wallet around with them. Offering the same payment payment facilities and door opening options as the one at Hard Rock Hotels, it nonetheless stands out for the possibility of connecting it via Bluetooth to guests' Smartphones to allow them to keep track of their spending using the brand's My Holiday application. Finally, the bracelet is also adapted to use at amusement parks, such as Walt Disney Resorts in Orlando where it acts as an entry pass for different attractions. MagicBand, as it has been called at the park, allows Walt Disney to follow its guests through the park thanks to radio waves emitted by each ring.

Start-ups such as PayinTech and Sezam further specialized in creating and commercializing connected bracelets for tourism infrastructures. They thus make offers to vacation clubs, campgrounds, theme parks, theaters, stadiums and also techno music festivals, using RFID and NFC. The system may function for future billing or be used for prepaid services (money must be added before purchases), and it is paired with an interface of statistics that make it possible to follow the evolution of turnover and transactions by point of sale, and also to learn more about the client.

The multiple functions multiples of the connected bracelets could quickly seduce other actors in tourism and the hotel industry, and thus generalize the tool's use in the industry. The traditional plastic rings had better watch out!

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  • Smartphones, Hilton's new room keys through HHonors app
  • The connected watch: how can it be used in the hotel industry?
  • Tomorrow's suitcases are full of tricks

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