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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..
Hotel Amenities / Hotels with iPads / Hotel iPads / Hotel Apps / SLS Hotels / Miami Hotel Mambo / Hotel Tech / Room Service / Hotel Champagne / → All Tags
Yesterday, we showed you a newfangled device that helps guests suss out all the dining/beverage/activites options available in the hotel they're staying at. But what if you're so darn
lazy comfortable that you'd just rather not leave your room at all?
Well, the obvious answer is: room service.
But SLS South Beach takes that notion one step further, with a new feature on the hotel's app called "Bring Me Bubbles." With the tap of an iPad screen, you can rush-order a $50 bottle of Avinyo Cava or, if you're feeling generous, then perhaps a $148 bottle of Lanson Ivory Label Demi-Sec Champagne—and it'll show up at your door in less than 20 minutes.
There's no exact science to veging out in your hotel room, though there are certainly creative ways to enhance the experience. Ordering up extra pillows. Creating a mini steam room in your bathroom. Putting on the hotel's custom spa music CD.
And here's another: using the LodgeNet app to change channels, adjust the volume and turn the TV on or off—all from a quick tap of your iPhone, iPad or Android. As we reported before, the LodgeNet app is just one of many new tech tricks that are simplifying trivial hotel tasks like booking your room, checking in, and even opening the door upon arrival. And we love them.
We spent some time recently playing with the app in our hotel room. Read on to hear what we thought!
Hotel Apps / Social Media Hotels / Hotel Lobbies / Hotel Deals / Florence Hotels / Italy Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Tech / → All Tags
Eventually, it's going to get pretty boring writing (and reading!) about every single hotel that launches a partnership with LobbyFriend, the newest hotel social media and city guide app to set the hotel world on fire. But for now (we hope), the excitement is still there...
If for no other reason than that LobbyFriend is so darn secretive about which hotels they've partnered with!
The Lungarno Collection, a boutique family-owned consortium boasting four hotels in Florence, Italy, will be the first European hotel brand (and only the second worldwide, that we know of) to offer the technology. Giving guests that much more of an opportunity to practice their shaky Italian.
What is LobbyFriend, you ask? It's the newest travel app to hit the market that's designed to make you feel bad for not socializing enough when you stay at a hotel. OK, it's more than that. And for many people, meeting other guests is exactly what they prefer to be doing in a hotel. For others, not so much. But LobbyFriend isn't just a Facebook for hotel guests.
The new app, which is available on iPhone, Android and mobile web (BlackBerry is coming in June), is making its big launch this month at Tryp Times Square South, and has reportedly linked up with over 50 other hotels.
So, what does LobbyFriend actually do? And how can you use it? Read on to see our conversation with LobbyFriend co-founder, Jason Ayoub!
If lack of inspiration has been the one thing stopping you from a long weekend in Miami this fall, then here's something that might get your creative juices flowing. Out magazine, in collaboration with ultra-gay hotel Lords South Beach, has devised a new travel app called Out-N-About, designed to aid (mainly gay) travelers navigate all the cultural offerings of the city.
Out and Lords are calling the program a "digital concierge," and it can be downloaded for free onto your iPad, iPhone or iPod. It's tough when we hear about these hotel-generated e-travel guides. On the one hand, we love exploring places on our own (walking down dark side streets has landed us at some pretty great parties); on the other, we find it hard to ignore any new service a hotel has to offer—especially when the hotel has enlisted the help of a few cultural experts. Four of them, to be exact.
Apple has just unveiled their new
iPhone5 iPhone 4S which doesn't look that much different from the iPhone 4 but on the inside, things have been changed up drastically. Most exciting is the addition of Suri Cruise, er, Siri, the voice recognition app who will serve as your "humble personal assistant" telling you when you have a meeting, what the weather is like today, sending your text messages and picking out a restaurant for you to dine at.
Even though we've not had much success with voice recognition, Suri, er, Siri does promise to be life-changing. Provided she's actually understanding what you're saying.
Naturally, if Apple is demonstrating Siri's ability to pick out a restaurant in a certain neighborhood in their keynote address, we can't help but wonder if Siri can help us find a hotel room.
Hotel Apps / Firmdale Hotels / iPhone Apps / Hotel Technology / New York Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
If tech-savvy types are correct in their assessment that "[t]he future of mobile is the future of everything"—and what a bold statement to make—then Firmdale Hotels' business future is looking up. Jumping on the very full and happy mobile technology bandwagon, the hotel chain has just released its own iPhone Application, downloadable by clicking here.
The hotel named after the 1950s Italian hit song Tu Vuò Fà l'Americano (which literally means, 'You want to be an American') has finally opened its doors. And in addition to its homegrown Chelsea glamor, its bento boxes, and its impeccably golden location, now The Americano has one more thing to sing about: its own iPad/iPhone app.
We already knew the hotel was fond of
name-dropping its community—quite a number of the better-known Chelsea residents have already appeared on the Americano's candid "neighborhood" blog. Now, taking the neighborhood-y, insider-y angle one step further, they've tapped a few more neighbors to provide personal recommendations on exploring the city. People like architect Enrique Norton (the man responsible for the hotel's austere mesh facade). It's an insider's game, you know?
Ready to take your next West Coast road trip to the next level? Check out this $0.99 iPhone/iPad app by GuideGecko, which organizes over 200 hotels—by state—along the 1,250 mile journey from San Diego to Seattle. And for all you jet-setting winos, there is even a special category built for California Wine Country.
While travel guidebooks can certainly be helpful in providing local info, listings, and some photos, no 500-page Lonely Planet can ever become as fully integrated (or as lightweight) as an app like this. Want to call and check availability? You're already on your phone. Want to book online? Tap away. Got lost along the way? All of the maps can be accessed offline.