From check-in to check-out, hoteliers are developing new ways to make their guests’ stays easier, more efficient, more flexible, more sustainable and more entertaining. And make it easier for employees to ensure it all happens.
Kiosks are a widespread response from check-in and check-out to meeting needs in the room and elsewhere in the hotel. Rooms become modulable with adjustable comfort, entertainment, sound and lighting, and technology facilitates that for both guests and hotel staff. Sustainability has gained importance and hotel groups and organizations are giving it more attention.
The Lobby: a space for socializing and working as well as check-in
Sheraton has introduced the Community Table in response to new ways of working that are transforming the way individuals use their homes, their offices, their cities and their hotels. The table surface features built-in wireless charging with USB ports and plug-in chargers for laptops on the side, as well as drawers and dining room chairs.
Brittney Weiss Hepler, senior design manager for Global Design Strategies, remarks:
People are working remotely more and more — many companies aren’t even building enough space to house all their employees because not all of their employees are going to be in the office. We wanted to be sure that our lobby spaces were really welcoming for people to come and work — not just for the guest who’s on the road, but also inviting locals to become a part of the community.
Meanwhile, Crowne Plaza has created the Plaza Workspace with flexible solutions for one or several people to work together. They offer connectivity, as well as personalized services to order food and meet other needs using a digital tablet.
Lobbies, as community spaces, are also often used for check-in, with check-in kiosks. But check-in has also entered another dimension with mobile phones as digital room keys. And kiosks are assuming new roles.
Monscierge is a global software company specializing in innovative hospitality solutions. Its product line, Connect, enhances communication and the relationship between hotel guest and staff through mobile, tablet, large-format touch-screen devices, and a central web-based platform that manages property content.
Red Lion Hotels Corporation has adopted an in-room Apple TV experience and updated Hello Rewards app with new check-in/check-out and digital room key features. These new experiences are powered by the Monscierge Connect platform integrated with the hotel's property management system.
Greg Mount, CEO RLHC, explains:
These are our next steps in the ongoing evolution of developing emerging technology to reduce friction for our guests. Streamlining guest interactions and improving daily operational efficiencies that translate into fewer overall guest inconveniences remain our focus at RLHC.
RLHC's Hello Rewards App for iOS now gives guests the ability to conveniently check in and check out right from their iPhone, as well as manage their loyalty membership account and redeem rewards. RLHC is also introducing digital keys for the first time in the Hello Rewards app, allowing guests to completely bypass the registration desk and use their iPhone to unlock their door. The digital key feature will be available throughout Hotel RL properties.
But kiosks may also be used for self-serve beverages such as wine and beer. Hilton Metropole Birmingham has adopted mobile beer counters for events and has turned to Drink Command of Dublin Ireland to provide them. The pump may be activated by room key style card or wristband and the amount is deducted from or charged to the affiliated account.
Technology first and foremost for security and comfort
Facial recognition technology also has the potential to revolutionize the hospitality industry. From enhancing security by restricting access to certain rooms and areas, to improving guest service by allowing employees to immediately identify guests and access a portfolio of guest preferences, the potential uses for facial ID are numerous.
Accor has experimented with facial recognition at its Sao Paulo Pullman property, allowing accelerated kiosk check-in by facial ID, and even installation of “Your Face Is Your Key” technology in rooms. Alibaba’s Fliggy Online travel agency and Shiji hotel information systems have already partnered with over 50 hotels in China to implement a similar program.
Shiji Group COO Kevin King explains:
Our aim with this project has been to find ways for hotels to increase guest satisfaction by reducing wait times as much as possible. Working with Fliggy and our partner hotels have made this a success and we're monitoring privacy and efficiency closely to develop ways to increase this across more hotels.
Property management software maker Agilysys is offering facial ID as a module on it cloud-based rGuestStay platform. With the module installed, front desk teams can immediately identify guests, their room preferences, and other individualized information.
In addition to kiosks and digital tablets for check-in or dispensing and ordering beverages, technology is also facilitating other comfort adjustments in rooms. After Alexa, Siri have made their way into our homes, now Zac, the voice assistant by the start-up Vivoka, is being adopted by Aparthotels for its connected apartments. Zac will allow guests to adjust lighting and adapt the music through a dedicated playlist or to order a taxi or food.
Sustainability at hand
ConsumelessMed is an organization that targets travelers seeking sustainable destinations and services in Mediterranean Coastal areas in five countries. The goal is to significantly reduce energy and water consumption and create less waste in these territories to maintain them over time, while always offering an authentic and original experience. The organization assigns the ConsumelessMed badge to those hotels, B&Bs, camping sites, hostels, restaurant, cafes, beach resorts, food stores and handicraft shops that make an effort to reduce waste and water and energy consumption.
Another effort being made is in recycling soaps. Unisoap has undertaken this effort with a tri-fold effort that is environmental, humanitarian and social. In an effort to reduce waste, from hotels its action takes a social turn by providing soap to emerging countries by sensitizing populations about basic hygiene practices to reduce illness. Moreover, it creates employment for handicap workers by developing centers for production.
Discover the latest innovations in hospitality at the 20th edition of the Worldwide Hospitality Awards on Thursday, November 21!
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