Tag: Hotel TechnologyView All Tags
About a month ago, our bro Jaunted wondered aloud whether virtual reality could make waves in the travel industry, allowing people to be mentally transported to destinations around the globe without physically leaving their home cities. We've thought about this very same concept in the form of hotels and online virtual tours as a way to experience properties before booking.
This morning, Marriott unveiled the mother of all virtual tours, a piece of technology it calls "The Teleporter," a virtual reality machine that allows people to "tour" some of its hotels in the States. The Teleporter made its public debut at the Marriott in New York. It will remain there for five days, then take off for the rest of its eight-city tour to its properties in Boston, DC, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.
Judging from the early reports, Marriott didn't cut any corners when developing the technology. A journalist from Wired had great things to say about the experience, noting that "pumps embedded in the floor, misting nozzles in the walls, heater blowers in the ceiling, fans in the ceiling and floor, a scent dispenser, and a 1000-watt amplifier all deepen the feelings of immersion. When you land on the beach, the pumps in the floor create the feeling of a cushioned landing, and you feel 80-degree warmth, a sea breeze, and ocean mist."
At the start of the year, we were raving about how Starwood Hotels was piloting a program for Starwood Preferred Guests members to use their smartphones to open hotel room doors. Recently, we heard that Marriott International, which already allows its guests to check-in and check-out via smartphone, was working on smartphone room entry as well.
But all that effort just got a little more complicated now that Apple has unveiled the Apple Watch, which will do the exact same thing.
During Apple's keynote today, it was revealed that the watch is partnering with Starwood's app to open room doors. Surely, the technology won't be limited to just Starwood, so we fully expect this to branch out to other hotel brands.
As with the smartphone room entry, two things need to happen in order for the doors to actually open. First, the doors themselves need to equipped with
RFID technology the technology that Apple Watch will be using which is NFC/Bluetooth (which was actually in place in a hotel in Sweden in 2010.) Most new hotels are built with RFID technology so that you simply hold your key card up to the door and it unlocks. (Here's what it looks like.)
But a lot of older hotels, even ones from a few years ago, will need to updated. And that costs money.
Second, the hotels need to create their app which is also a big investment. And because not everyone will fork out $350 for the Apple Watch when it hits stores later this spring, hotels will still need to keep up with their smartphone apps. Oh and don't forget the masses of people who still love the old room keys. (For another reason why the technology won't be universal, read the second comment below.)
We're not saying watch and smartphone entry are impossible. We truly believe it's going to happen and will happen quickly but it won't be universal.
Will you open your hotel room door with the AppleWatch? Sound off in comments below!
[Photos: Gizmodo and HotelChatter]
Let he among us who hasn't found an old key in their wallet and smiled cast the first stone.
Now that we're living in a world with electronic wristbands, mobile check-in, and smartphones that act as room keys, an honest question comes to mind: Are we getting closer to the death of the room key as we know it?
Sounds dramatic, but it's not that unrealistic to assume that we'll see our first "keyless" hotel within the next couple years. Environmentally and practically, it might not be the worst of ideas. But let us be the first to say that we would be terribly saddened to check into a hotel and not receive a key.
Sure, some are more elusive than others and tend to disappear easily. And yes, others are blatant advertisements for Domino's. But more often than not, hotel keys are unique mementos of the experiences we have at hotels, many artfully designed and immediately recognizable. A casual hotel goer may not notice one here and there, yet over time, as you see more and more of them, you begin to appreciate the ones that stand out from the crowd.
Hotel Apps / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Mobile Check-In / Travel Poster / Hotel News / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
We've been keeping tabs on all the Marriott International hotel brands that have been rolling out the option of checking-in via their respective apps and now, Ritz-Carlton Hotels can be added to the list.
The luxury brand's newest app includes the options of doing both check-in and check-out, as well as folio reviews, exclusive local content, special offers, food and beverage orders (at select hotels), and most interesting, real-time service requests.
Ritz-Carlton is already pioneering this function at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, in Florida where guests can make food and beverage requests while at the pool. The order is sent from the guest phone to the bar and is fulfilled right away. That means you don't have to lay in your lounge chair, meekly calling, "Miss? Miss? Sir? Sir?" while servers fly by you, unaware that you'd like another margarita.
The app will also introduce a shareable "Travel Poster" feature on October 1. In short, it will be Ritz-Carlton's own version of Instagram where guests can pretty up their photos with retro-style special filters, titles and stamps. The photo will then be shared across social media or else, saved to the phone's camera roll. Start gathering your witty Ritz-Carlton hashtags now.
[Screenshot: Ritz-Carlton Hotels]
Hotel Technology / Park Hyatt Hotels / Hotel Openings / Central Park Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
We took you all around the Park Hyatt New York a few weeks ago but in honor of the luxury hotel's official opening day, we're spotlighting 5 tech touches in the guest rooms that we thought you'd like. Rooms for tonight are holding steady at $725 for a Park Deluxe King.
CLEARLY MARKED BEDSIDE BUTTONS. Turning on and off the lights with the press of a button can actually be accomplished here. (Shout-out to the extra outlets!)
NEWEST NESPRESSO MODEL. Even the pods are different!
INTELITY iPAD MINIS. Each guest will have one of these on the nightstand to use during their stay. (The iPads were not installed yet during our visit so, just imagine.)
GADGET HOOK-UP. A power/gadget hook-up strip is installed at each desk.
TOTO TOILETS. Yes, this matters.
Check out all the photos of a Studio Suite below!
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Hype / Paris Hotels / Peninsula Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel iPads / Hotel Technology / Free WiFi / → All Tags
It’s been open a full two weeks now, and although we haven’t quite found the $1000 to stay at Peninsula Paris (give us another week or 500), others have – and a newspaper has checked it out too. Here’s what they say about the $999,000,000 project.
The 26 TripAdvisor reviews are mixed, leaning towards the negative – though a good tranche are from people who’ve just eaten, rather than stayed at the hotel.
The practice of using robots in hotels is rare but not new.
We came across a space-themed capsule hotel in China entirely staffed by robots. Way back in 2006, a Sheraton Hotel in Japan unleashed some robots to greet guests. The Hotel @ MIT has a robot on display and of course, we cannot forget about the Yotel luggage robot in Times Square. Yet while these were all innovative additions, with the exception of the Yobot, these hotel robots really didn't fulfill a service need for guests. Until now.
The NY Times reports that the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, across from Apple's headquarters, will start using a Botlr Robot by Silicon Valley start-up Savioke on August 20. (Follow the adventure on social media with the hashtag #MeetBotlr.)
The Botlr's mission is simple. It "will shuttle items from the hotel lobby desk to guest rooms." So let's say you've just got settled into room and have changed into your pajamas when you realize that you've forgotten a toothbrush. Instead of going back downstairs or calling housekeeping and waiting forever to have a toothbrush delivered, the Botlr will bring it up to you. Here's how Botlr does what it does:
Google Glass Hotels / Google Glass / Hotel Technology / Spain Hotels / Wine Hotels / Duero Hotels / Country House Hotels / → All Tags
Google Glass in hotels is spreading. It started in San Francisco. Hotel marketers took it to Istanbul. Then it popped up in London. And now it’s been tracked to Spain, where a hotel and winery in an ancient abbey dating back to the 12th century has let it in.
Just one Glass for the concierge is not enough for the Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine in wine region Duero (hence the winery). Oh no – it’s bought eight pairs, and is touting them about to guests. As well as normal Glass activity, they’ve also loaded them with a video about the hotel and an art tour (shown above). There’s also a stargazing app so you can tell exactly what you’re staring at above the lovely vines (the grape kind, not the video kind).
Google Glass Hotels / Google Glass / Montcalm Hotels / London Hotels / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
But the Montcalm London Marble Arch is the first hotel we’ve heard of to have its staff using Google Glass as part of the concierge service.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Lamps / Hotel Technology / Newport Hotels / Rhode Island Hotels / Lark Hotels / Hotels With iPads / → All Tags
We have a bit of a thing for lamps here at HotelChatter. Classic lamps. Kooky lamps. Lamps with electric sockets in them. Lamps that take up the only socket in the vicinity of the desk. Tall lamps, bedside lamps, chandeliers swinging from the rooftop – we love them all.
So we were totally in our (electrical) element during a recent stay at the Attwater in Newport, RI. Newport, of course, has plenty of exceptional lamps in all its Gilded Age mansions, but the Attwater could give The Breakers a run for its money with this lot.
Hotel Packages / New York Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / W Hotels / Hotel TVs / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
You know when you’re on the couch watching
the Kardashians your favorite TV show, and you want to get up to get drinks/food/an empty bladder, but you don’t want any of that quite enough to get up and move?
You do? Good. The W New York Union Square has just the package for you.
As the name suggests, the new Sunday Binge Watch package is especially designed for couch potatoes. You get your two welcome cocktails (or a basket of beer) in-room. You get a basket filled with movie theater-appropriate candy and snacks. And you get an Apple TV with access to up to three full seasons of the following TV shows: Orange is the New Black, Mad Men, Homeland, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Sex and the City.
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.)