Tag: Hotel Technology

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We Need to Talk About The Fact That Hotels Want Us to Text Them

January 22, 2014 at 12:30 PM | by | Comments (2)

Has anyone else noticed that all the latest customer service movements have revolved around decreased interaction with the staff? From self-service check in to the growing trend of text message services, one would assume that hotel goers would rather not interact directly with anyone from the hotel.

Marriott and Hilton, for example, have for sometime allowed guests to request their car from the valet via text. And now a few hotels are experimenting with mobile concierge programs that enable guests to text for housekeeping (extra pillows, towels, etc.) or even dinner reservations.

The main reason for the rise in text technology within hotels is that it further addicts people to their smartphones saves a lot of time when compared to making a phone call, fosters relationship building between hotel staff and the guest.... hmm... well, maybe we had it right the first time.

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What Hotels Have The Best In-Room High-End Audio Systems?

January 13, 2014 at 2:11 PM | by | Comments (0)

Time for another HotelChatter Question! Do you have a question about hotels, too? We bet you do. Send it to us and you just might see it here on HotelChatter!

Today's HC question comes from Doug S. who's looking for some seriously cool in-room technology. He writes:

Just wondering if there is a luxury hotel with high end audio for the audiophile with wanderlust? If so, could you send me what must be a short list?

Indeed, it is a short list. While most new hotels have the capability for guests to plug their smartphone, computer or tablet into the TV for a better audio experience, not all hotels have high-end audio systems. But here are a few hotels that make sound a priority.

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Disney's Magic Bands Also Serve as Hotel Keys (Could Other Hotels Do This Too?)

January 6, 2014 at 11:04 AM | by | Comment (1)

Over the summer, it came out that Disney World would be testing some new technology called Magic Bands. The electronic bracelets would essentially serve as park tickets, so you won't have to scramble in your purse, wallet or pocket for your tickets.

But the bands do a lot more than letting you into the park. If you're staying at one of the Disney Resorts you can use these bands as your hotel room key. Here's how one of the reviewers on the forum MouseChat described the process:

It is your room key. So you tap and open the door. You have to touch the mickey icon on your door precisely. So Mickey to Mickey to get the door to unlock. Same thing to get to a concierge floor with the elevator, just touch the Mickey on the elevator and the Concierge level floor button will light up. The only thing is, it can be tricky getting the band to line up exactly and we found ourselves contorting our wrists to get the door to open or the elevator to light up.

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Now You Can Pay for Your Stay with Google Wallet at Carlson Rezidor Hotels

December 26, 2013 at 11:11 AM | by | Comments (0)

Just the other week, we told you about Omni Hotels getting hip to Google Wallet. Now, another hotel group has joined the virtual billfold.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, whose brands include Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites, is also allowing guests to store their Club Carlson loyalty program info in Google Wallet as well as letting guests pay for their stay using Google Wallet. Pretty cool and crazy convenient.

Apparently, Carlson has been testing this service since December 18th but they just went live with it on Monday. The Club Carlson loyalty program is not yet on Google Wallet (that will happen in early 2014) but it will allow guests to access their account information, receive notifications and messages based on geo targeting and earn and redeem Club Carlson Gold Points. Currently, Google Wallet is only available to U.S. residents but Google Wallet holders can use the service to book a hotel stay globally.

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Marriott's Mobile Check-In Has Gone Worldwide

December 6, 2013 at 11:18 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you scored a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal recently at a Marriott Hotel, another kind of "deal" awaits you--Marriott's mobile check-in .

Over the summer we told you about this high-tech service and how it works (through the Marriott Mobile App) but back then, only about 30 properties were using it. By the end of the summer, about 325 hotels in the U.S and Canada were using it. Now, it's gone worldwide from the U.K. to Mexico, the UAE and India.

But Marriott isn't stopping there. By 2014, all 500 hotels should have the mobile check-in function.

So in case you've got a Marriott hotel stay coming up soon, this is how it works:

1. Join Marriott Rewards
2. Check-in to your hotel at 4pm the day before your arrival, then the app will send you an automatic notification when the room is ready.
3. Arrive at the hotel and bypass the front desk by hitting up the "expedited mobile check-in desk" to pick up your room key.
4. Head up to your room and immediately start doing these things.

Have you tried Marriott's Mobile Check-in App yet? Tell us what you think in comments below!

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Spaced-Themed Hotel Staffed By Robots: What More Could a Geek Want?

Where: Shenzhen, China
November 25, 2013 at 8:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every time a cool new app comes out promising guests to check-in or check-out via their phone or table or use their handheld as a room key, we always wonder how much longer it will be before human hotel staff become obsolete. Well, at The Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel in Shenzhen, China, that time is here.

The Nanfang Insider reports that the hotel is nearly entirely staffed by ROBOTS. Robots greet you at reception and at the front desk and even serve you drinks and food in the lobby lounge. However, there are some humans on hand in case the service, um, short circuits.

As for the rooms, they cost just $11 a night because as the hotel name suggests, they are capsule rooms. These tiny little pods are tricked out with blue mood lighting, WiFi, flat-screen, ports galore and according to this pic, the privacy to view some adult movies on your iPad.

[Photo: Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel]

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The Gaia Riverlodge in Belize is Now Run Entirely on Hydropower

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Belize
November 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

GAĻA Riverlodge, located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve of Belize, has long been a top eco-conscious resort (it was formerly the Five Sisters Lodge) but thanks to a new hydropower energy system and a few other environmentally-friendly upgrades, the resort and its jungle cabanas have pretty much topped all other green resorts out there.

Using the nearby Five Sisters waterfalls as their energy source, the GAĻA Riverlodge is now run entirely by hyrdopower energy, eliminating the need for electricity. But don't worry, the hotel does have a back-up system, an eco-friendly one too that's battery-powered. The GAĻA Riverlodge is also cultivating an on-site vegetable garden which will bring fresh, or "hyper-local" as they call it, produce to the lodge's restaurants. Awesome.

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Palo Alto's Upcoming Epiphany Hotel Will Have Its Own Technology Concierge

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 180 Hamilton Avenue [map], Palo Alto, CA , United States, 94301
November 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

When we compiled our Master Openings list this year, we had a spot reserved in Palo Alto, Calif. for The Epiphany Hotel from Joie de Vivre Hotels. The hotel was supposed to open over the summer but now it's set to open next year, on April 1st. But already, the hotel is positioning itself as the must-stay hotel in Silicon Valley. In their own words:

Get wired. In the heart of downtown Palo Alto, surrounded by the hottest VC firms, the fastest-growing companies, plus the creative dynamism of Stanford University—this is where you need to be staying.

Clearly, the hotel's WiFi is going to be free and fast and full of plenty of bandwidth. The hotel is also promising the services of its own technology concierge. Sweet! No doubt this concierge better know his or her tech specs before starting the job. Yet given the hotel's location near Stanford, we don't think this will be too hard.

But what else can we expect from The Epiphany in regards to more traditional hotel amenities? For starters, there's 24-hour room service, regular concierge services, pet-friendly rooms, Frette linens, Malin & Goetz toiletries, Illy espresso machines, honor bar and dry bar, a work desk with ergonomic chair, 47" Samsung TV (55" ones in the suites) and a G-link iPod docking stations which will wirelessly stream movies and video games to guest rooms TVs. Housekeeping will also do a turndown service and will use green cleaning products too.

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Use Your Finger to Open The Door at The Hotel Alma in Barcelona

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Mallorca 271, Barcelona, Spain, 08008
October 24, 2013 at 3:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've long fantasized about keyless hotel rooms where we could use our smartphone instead of a key card to enter the room. But the Hotel Alma in Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter is going way beyond that with a fingerprint recognition system.

It works like this--you arrive to check-in and in addition to collecting your credit card for incidentals and telling you about the room amenities (free WiFi, breakfast and access to the spa are included), the hotel takes a scan of your fingerprint. Then you can use your finger to open the door to your room at any time. No key cards needed and no worries about the card getting demagnetized in your purse or wallet. So. Cool. And it's also available at the hotel's sister hotel in Pamplona.

Of course, you can opt for a regular key if you think is too fancy for your tastes but we think it's a no-brainer. Rooms at the trendy, high-tech boutique hotel start at about 200 Euros a night. The hotel's website also has a voyeuristic video showing a hunky grey-haired "guest" (an actor, we think) doing various things in his room--waking up, putting on his shirt (!!!) and sitting down at the desk to do work. Hopefully, the fingerprint access will keep out peeping Toms.

[Photo: Hotel Alma/Facebook]

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What is Atura Hotels and Why You Should You Care?

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 32 Criketers Arms Road, Blacktown, NSW, Australia, 2148
October 17, 2013 at 12:42 PM | by | Comment (1)

The landscape of Aussie hotels will be changed for the better this month when the newest brand of hotels opens its doors. If you're planning a trip down under and don't want to smash your piggy bank doing so, then remember this name: Atura Hotels.

The newest option comes to us from a group called Amalgamated Holding Limited, but you might know them better by the work they've been doing with QT Hotels and Rydges Hotels. But instead of resting on their laurels with the cool edginess of QT and the family-resort of Rydges, they've gone a created a new concept that will be appealing to business travelers and those that don't want to miss out on cool hotel design to save a few bucks. (Which is like, everyone everywhere.)

Atura's first property is already checking in guests in Sydney's inner-suburb of Blacktown. Aside from cool design, guests will get free in-room movies, coffee machines and a business center completely outfitted with iMacs. But if you'd rather stay connected on the go, there is free WiFi throughout the hotel and in every guestroom. If you've ever been to Australia, you know this is a big deal since hotels charge a pretty penny for some connectivity.

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Morgans Hotel Group's New Website Boasts More With Less (Clicks)

October 8, 2013 at 12:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

Some uplifting news for Morgans Hotel Group today. The boutique hotel collection has recently launched a spiffy website that promises a "seamless booking process that takes the guest through the reservation process in less than four clicks".

In addition to the super-fast reservation system that will get you into the sleek Delano, Mondrian and other hot spots, guests can view hotels by brand or location and compare rates and availability at properties within the same city all on one screen.

The site, which comes behind the company's "Back of House" online lifestyle magazine, will also help guests navigate their way around their chosen destination. This comes by way of a Google Map feature which has interactive guides to attractions, museums, restaurants, nightlife destinations and shops and provide step-by-step directions to and from the hotel. The list will detail key local landmarks and hidden gems hand-selected by the hotels' expert concierges.

In addition, guests can instantly post travel plans on their social media platforms using the Morgans Hotel Group's Instagram feed or their own generated photos.

The site works across all platforms including desktops, tablets and mobile devices.

[Screengrab: HotelChatter]

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Hotels Curated in NYC: An Event for Hotel Nerds Like Us

Where: 55 Gansevoort [map], New York, NY, United States
September 24, 2013 at 6:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's a new hotel conference coming to NYC next month and it's right up our boutique-loving-lifestyle-hotel alley--Hotels Curated.

Presented by the N Group and IndieWalls, the event is billed as a half-day discussion about opportunities and challenges in the lodging sector, focusing on branding, design and our fave, technology.

The format for the conference will consist of two panels--one about the "It Factor" in hotels and the other about innovations in design, architecture and technology as well as a special "Innovators Showcase" featuring quick pitches from select companies in hospitality tech and service-delivery. Afterwards there will be a cocktail network session. Cheers!

Guest speakers include Michael Achenbaum of Gansevoort Hotels; Michael Adams, editor in chief of Hospitality Design Magazine; Jeffrey Beers of Jeffrey Beers International design firm; David Duncan, President of the Denihan Hospitality Group; and Julie Frank, Director of Design, Global Brand Design.

Here are the details:

WHEN: OCTOBER 4th, 2pm to 5pm

WHERE: 55 Gansevoort, New York City

Interested in attending? You can register here. And yes, of course, HotelChatter will be there too! Hope to see you there!