IN THE FIELD WITH DAVID ESSERYK -Part 8 / Hot Topics

Technology – In Guest Interaction

David Esseryk, the Accor Group’s Vice-President of Consumer Technology is in charge of guest-facing technology for all brands. This edition of his regular report looks at the latest trends in how hotels can interact – via technology – with their guests.

SERVICE AUTOMATION

Guests prefer to order room service, make a housekeeping request or contact the valet indirectly rather than by phone.

Now more and more hotels worldwide are using automated software in order to interact with the guest. Guests can contact the hotel with a variety of requests, and the system sends the request directly to the staff person who can fulfill it. (HOTSOS, REX, GUESTWARE, etc.)

Hotels are moving forward with other automated systems. The just- opened Hyatt Union Square in New York targets guests who have business in the city’s “Silicon Alley,” which means it needs to offer technology that serves those travelers. Guests get a sense of the technology focus as soon as they enter the hotel with the three check-in options: an iPad check-in with staff called “gallery hosts,” a check-in kiosk and a traditional front desk.

Hotels are making it easier for guests who travel without devices by providing iPads, iPods and Nooks

MOBILITY

Hotels are making it easier for guests who travel without devices by providing iPads, iPods and Nooks with custom content, as well as treats like magazine and newspaper subscriptions and more robust entertainment on guest room televisions.

The Muse New York, a Kimpton Hotel, offers guests Nook e-readers to use during their stay. The devices are pre-programmed with books, magazines and other content and guests can take them off property. A “business bar” stocked with iPads and iPad Minis replaces the traditional business center and wireless printing is available throughout the hotel.

DIGITAL SIGNAGE REPLACES PRINTED SIGNS.

Today, guests are looking to screens, whether a digital sign, interactive kiosk, guest room TV or a mobile device, to get the information that is important to them. An integrated visual communications solution that can provide on-demand information is becoming a must-have for any type of hotel. From pure content-focused solutions, like digital art, to more interactive applications, like property mapping, hotels are blending function with style to increase the overall guest experience.

TECHNOLOGY AS LUXURY

Technology can increasingly become a luxury comfort. An increasingly popular perk is high definition televisions embedded in bathroom mirrors. Companies such as Electric Mirror provide high-definition televisions in mirrors in sizes ranging from 15 inches to 55 inches at hotels.

At Hard Rock Hotels, the “Sound of Your Stay” program enlists celebrities and DJs to create 15-track themed play-lists that guests can download using a code they receive at check-in. Complementing the digital amenity, Hard Rock also lets guests check out Fender guitar, Fender amp and Nixon headphones to use during their stay