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Hotel News / Hilton Hotels / Hilton HHonors / Loyalty Program News / Hotel Apps / Mobile Check-Ins / Keyless Entry / → All Tags
Here's just another reason why it pays to become a member of a hotel's loyalty program--access to cool technology that will make checking in a smooth transition after a long day of travel. Or so we hope.
Hilton Hotels has announced a new update to its HHonors app that will allow guess to select their own rooms, right down to the floor and room number. By the end of the year, this app function, along with digital check-in, will be in place at all 4,000 Hilton Hotels worldwide. Here's how it works:
Welcome to the brave new world of 2014. Where self-checkout stations at your local pharmacy are the norm, not the exception. Where you can text the restaurant with your dinner reservation. Where essentially every customer service innovation is designed to limit the annoyance that is actual human interaction. Because people, man —always yapping, amirite?
That said, even those of us who appreciate a little flesh-and-blood interfacing can’t deny that technology has its perks. The latest brand making use of it: The James Hotels, which just launched the James Pocket Assistant, a mobile app that basically puts a digital concierge in the palm of your hand.
Need a suggestion for dinner or shopping? The Assistant has a “curated insider’s guide” that maps out noteworthy restaurants, bars, and other attractions. Want to impress the wedding ring-less looker in Room 603 with your knowledge of the elevator art? The app offers a “self-guided art tour” throughout the art collections at James properties in Chicago, Miami and Soho. (Of course, it also covers the obvious basics like room reservations and spa appointments.)
The Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel is London is on the cusp of releasing a new smartphone app that strictly handles your room service orders.
With the Ordering App, you can select not just what you want to nosh on but also specific delivery times. Best of all, you can use this app when you're not in your hotel room but you want room service ordered upon your return. No, it's not ground-breaking app technology (we've seen the room service function on the Four Seasons LA app and the Upper House in Hong Kong's app) but it does make your hotel stay a lot easier.
The Ordering App will be released within the month to the iTunes store and we suspect the Android store too. Rates at the Andaz start at around $330 a night on weekends in May.
[Photo: Andaz Liverpool Street]
Hotel Technology / Google Glass / Starwood Preferred Guest / SPG / Starwood Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Apps / → All Tags
Google Glass hit the market for the general public yesterday for one day only (and for $1,500 a fully tricked out pair) and already, a hotel brand is catering to the
Glassholes new owners.
Starwood Preferred Guest announced this morning that they will soon be releasing its SPG app for Google Glass. Here's what you'll be able to do with Glass and SPG:
· Search and Book: Voice search Starwood's 1,150+ hotels worldwide and then book your room
· Explore: Get turn-by-turn directions to any hotel and explore photos of amenities, rooms or local areas
· Check Your Account: Access your Starpoints balance
· State Aware: The state aware technology already found on SPG's mobile app will be implemented here so guests can display upcoming stay details, recognize arrival, and customize experience.
In essence, it's not that much different from what you do on your phone, except you'll be showing off your Glass-ware.
The app has not yet been released to the Google Glass store but it is coming soon. SPG's Glass website also says that the app will be updated based on member feedback and of course, any new Glass features that come out.
[Photo: SPG for Glass]
In a society where smoking is becoming less socially acceptable by the day, many hotels in the States no longer offer smoking rooms, and the ones that do tend to keep it on the down low, so as not to scare off nonsmokers (if anyone has seen a hotel openly advertise itself as smoker friendly of late, we would sure like to know about it).
To travelers looking to find a room where they can light up, the industry has essentially shrugged its shoulders and wished them good luck. But a new website/app, Smoketels.com, is out to give smokers a break.
The purpose is pretty simple: Allow users to search within a city for hotels that still set aside rooms for smokers. Speaking to the New York Times, the site’s operator said it has rooms available at over 100,000 properties all over the world.
Speaking of hotel smartphone apps today, Sofitel Hotels' new app is giving its guests an easier way to reserve rooms, check loyalty programs balances and even get some inspiration for their next vacation.
Not to be mistaken for the Accor Hotels app, this one is strictly for those travelers that enjoy the lap of French luxury at Sofitels and want to top-up their Le Club account with stays at the prestigious properties.
After playing with the app for a little bit, we were blown away by the plethora of great photos each address offers up. Besides great snaps, the navigation is easy and simple to not only book a room, but check the destination's weather for the next week and even call or email the hotel with one touch of the screen.
Ever stayed at a hotel and said to yourself, "I can run this place!" Well, thanks to Radisson Hotels who has created a new iPhone/iPad gam, we can test our ability to clean rooms on time, answer questions for the concierge and welcome new guests on a regular basis, all the while keeping current guests happy. It doesn't sound so easy now, does it?
Rad Hotel is the name and managing a hotel is the game where wannabe-hotel-managers can choose between eight different hotel types and locations, ranging from "downtown" properties to beach and ski resorts. While all of the hotels share the same look, the sightseeing tours change from hotel to hotel.
The object of Rad Hotel is to check-in guests, assigning them the most appropriate room; for example, business men score the single rooms and families can only grab a double. Makes sense. Then each of your "guests" stay in the room for an unknown amount of time while calling the front desk for housekeeping, room-service, maintenance and concierge requests.
Starwood Hotels / Hotel Apps / Hotel News / Starwood Preferred Guest / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
The new app, which was built from scratch to run on the iOS 7, was created in response to a massive increase in mobile traffic for Starwood, and launched simultaneously in Chinese.
The company has optimized more than 50,000 images of their properties for iPad retina display, with the result that scrolling through the app is just like flipping through your favorite glossy travel magazine, except that you can make a reservation without leaving the app -- and with just one click, if you've preloaded your information.
Turns out there's an app for getting hotel beds to look all pretty like this.
We know all about the range of consumer hotel apps that help us during our stay, but did you know that hotels also use mobile apps on the other end to run the show? Even the housekeepers?
This particular housekeeping app, Hibox Housekeeper, is designed to reduce costs and improve efficiency when it comes to cleaning. It started at hotels in the Nordic region and has recently become available worldwide.
The app allows staff members to report a room status, send problem reports with photos, track minibar usage, manage multiple cleaning sessions, and link directly to the property management system in the hotel. All this, in theory, adds up to a more organized approach that should lead to quicker turnaround times.
At the end of last year during our awards' week, the 2012 "must-have hotel amenity" was an app. For something that's only been around a few years, apps have already come a long way. We've gone from apps that barely help you book to ones that enhance your stay, allowing you to order room service, check in, and read recommendations for the area. Naturally, it would be great if all hotels had a useful app for its guests, right?
Well, that's a little easier said than done, which is why to this day we really only see apps from the big chain hotels. An app seems inexpensive to the consumer (since it's usually free or only a few dollars), but did you know these apps can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 to develop? Consider an app like Marriott's, which includes almost 4,000 properties along with photos and city guides.
Additionally, the apps take a long time to develop. According to Intelity, a hospitality software solution company, a smartphone or tablet app can take up to 12 weeks to create. Now, imagine you are a bed and breakfast or small, independently-owned hotel. Is this worth your time and money?
We called the hotel app the Must-Have Hotel Amenity for 2012 for its ability to bring all sorts of functionality straight to guests’ smart phones. Now, Marriott Hotels is branching out by taking the app idea and applying it to the world of recruitment, using it to paint a picture through real-life employee stories of what career path you might find at Marriott, and what it’s like to work there. And you might want to know, given that the group aims to double its number of rooms in Europe alone from 40,000 to 80,000 by 2015.
HotelChatter 2012 Awards / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Tech / Hotel Apps / iPhone Apps / Tech Hotels / Hotel Booking Apps / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
It's that time of year again: the 2012 HotelChatter Awards! Today and Monday, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
Hotel WiFi has been an important part of our coverage here for a while now (remember that little thing called the HotelChatter WiFi Report?). But what happens once you've logged in and connected to the world wide web? Are you Instagramming shots of your room? Are you looking up restaurant reviews on Yelp? Maybe you're eschewing the DVD players of yore and pulling up episodes of Boardwalk Empire on HBOGO?
Either way, when trying to come up with this year's must-have hotel amenity, it seemed like a no-brainer: in 2012, hotel apps were where it's at..