The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated the development of technology practices in the hospitality industry, especially the global Hotel Groups. Travelers, once traveling again, should be at peace of mind when they enter the hotel.
Therefore, three branded hotel groups in the world, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) and Hilton have introduced new contactless technologies to enhance customer experience specifically in the post-pandemic situation when there is a high demand for contactless and personalized and convenient experiences, with warm and thoughtful hospitality.
Mobile App and Digital Key
Marriott International has integrated new features to its Marriott Bonvoy mobile app for self-check-in and check-out, mobile key, mobile dining, and mobile requests – which enable members to make special requests for service and amenities through real-time messaging.
Contactless arrival kiosks
In April 2021, the international hotel group has introduced a pilot program for contactless arrival kiosks at several selected hotels, starting with Moxy NYC Times Square, Courtyard New York Manhattan/Midtown East, TownePlace Suites Monroe (Louisiana), and will soon be available at Moxy Miami South Beach
Upon arrival, guests who prefer low-contact interactions can skip the traditional check-in altogether and complete an easy three-step process at the kiosk to check-in for a single reservation, with room keys created on the spot. The kiosks employ antimicrobial technology baked into the touchscreen glass, powered by UV light to kill bacteria and viruses. Similar procedures can occur on the departure of guests
The Fairfield Inn & Suites Frederick and Fairfield Inn & Suites Arundel Mills BWI Airport in Maryland, have introduced wall-to-wall kiosks that offer a centralized marketplace where guests can select snacks, beverages, lite bites and sundries. The brand’s complimentary daily breakfast offering has been incorporated into the design during breakfast hours with a selection of hot breakfast sandwiches, sweet indulgences, yogurt, cereal, and fruit every morning. Specialty coffee and expanded a-la-carte items will also be available for purchase at the kiosks with contact-free Bluetooth payment. The individually packaged items are replenished throughout the day. Guests can choose to eat in the lobby, in the comfort of their own room, or on the go.
InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)
Mobile App for contactless check-in and check-out
From April 2021, guests who stay in more than 3,000 hotels and resorts of IHG across the US and Canada can check in through their mobile devices, tablets and computers. By using IHG App, guests can book their stays easily and when it’s time to check-in, they will receive a notification to start the process. Showing up at the lobby area, guests simply go to the designated place to show an ID card and pick up the room key. When it’s time to check out, guests will receive a reminder via email or the IHG App, review their bill, leave the keys in the room and go.
IHG is piloting this technology in other regions of the world with plans to roll these capabilities out across 4,500 hotels and resorts by the end of the year.
Josh Weiss, Vice President, Guest Products and Platforms, IHG Hotels & Resorts said: “Digital check-in is a crucial part of the Stay with Confidence program. Building this capability on our IHG Concerto platform allowed us to work quickly to deliver a product our guests want. It also creates an integrated experience for our hotel colleagues and helps support our owners through recovery. This is beneficial to our hotel teams because it minimizes transaction time and complexity, giving them more time to engage guests on-property in other meaningful ways.”
Mobile App and Digital Key
It was not until the outbreak of the pandemic that Hilton introduced the Digital Key technology. Actually, this hotel group is the industry leader in this field by launching Digital Key that is integrated into the phone of guests since 2015. It is now available to guests in 80% of Hilton’s more than 6,400 hotels in 45 countries around the world and has been used to electronically open more than 111 million doors.
Guests can check in, choose their room, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out using their mobile devices through the free Hilton Honors mobile app. For guests who prefer a traditional check-in, social distancing measures will be in place directing guests on how to move through the in-person check-in and check-out process in a safe way.
High-tech guest room
Three years ago, which is 2018, Hilton announced the launch of its proprietary, first-of-its-kind, high-tech guest room that enables guests to personalize and control every aspect of their stay from their mobile device. This technology also helps to reduce contact with some of those high-touch areas such as light switches, thermostats and TV remotes, providing guests with extra peace of mind, particularly given the current circumstances.