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Raising the Bar: Hotels that Use High-Tech to Exceed Guest Expectations

April 20, 2016


The Leisure and Hospitality industry is rife with competition. There exists a need to innovate in order to gain that wee bit of a competitive edge.

Certain hotels in the travel and hospitality space are going the extra mile to provide guests a consistent, memorable, and enjoyable experience. Talk about location-based promotions; business lounges equipped with high-touch services, Internet connectivity, mobile-based service options, and immersion of tech in the day-to-day workflows itself.

Here’s how some of the largest hotel brands are reviving the almost stale guest experiences at their properties

  • JW Marriott Uses High Tech to get a leg up on its competition

If you love to stay wired and have had terrible experience with hotels that are black holes when it comes to connectivity, head to JW Marriott Miami. They have 100Mbps bandwidth high speed internet.

It is the first hotel that comes off the combination of JW and Marquis brand of Marriott hotels. The kind of guests this hotel targets expect the world’s best in terms of service, room amenities, food, business services and comfort. Which is why, the hotel had a need to go beyond the ridiculous $20- $50 per day for basic WiFi that some of the most prestigious hotels charge, just because they can.

Striving to pioneer a new kind of hotel experience, the Marriott group envisioned using video, mobile apps, video conferencing, and even the world’s largest video wall. Add to that a mobile video concierge, app-based room services and virtual meetings and you get an experience that goes beyond check-in and check-out.

  • Starwood & Westin Turn to Smart Watches

Starwood Hotels & Resorts already uses iPads for room-service and provides many other utilitarian amenities to guests but in this race to innovate, they did the unusual.

Recently, it tapped into the power of wearables too. Guests at Starwood hotels can forego room keys and use the Apple Watch instead. Using a Bluetooth enabled smartphone app (or Apple Watch App), customers can unlock their rooms with just a swipe. The Starwood group upgraded 30,000 room locks across 150 hotels.

The global market for Wearables was worth $4.6 billion in 2015. Today, wearables aren’t just those overpriced little gadgets you saw but did could not afford to buy. They are becoming the  foundational next frontiers for hotels. Also, no matter where the customer is, on Starwood property, the hotel group can have direct access to them. The Apple watch – and wearables – are a perfect upgrade experience.

In another example of wearables being used in Hotels, Westin Group lends out sleep-sensing wristbands to aid in guests’ well-being. A wristband with an app that tracks your sleep movements and helps you sleep better – now, that’s what we call technology delivering on its promise.

Innovation isn’t local; not anymore.

The wearables, digital platforms, devices, the Internet, and all this technology is a global story. The Palladium Hotel Group – a popular Spanish Hotel Chain – recently unveiled wristbands. In addition to their existing digital immersive experience for guests, these wristbands now allow guests to shop for hotel branded merchandise, pay for meals, shop using assigned PIN codes, and access special promotions.

Technology also boosts efficiency, brings down operational costs, provides for a seamless and better experience, and provides for better guest safety. The best instances of using technology to boost the experience for customers comes when there’s relevance, utility, and engagement and Palladium seems to be nailing it.

The five star premium hotel brand of Emaar Hospitality Group is leveraging in-room automation services to wow its guests. Whether the guests are looking to book a city tour, order a glass of sparkling wine, reserve a table by the pool or want the bed linen changed, all they have to do is tap on the iPad provided by the hotel. If that is not the lap of luxury, wonder what is.

The instances of using technology are just getting started in an industry where the big dogs usually get away with meaningless charges and disappointing experiences (given the big names). For the hospitality and travel industry, as a whole, technology is promising to turn the tables around and take resulting guest experiences to another level

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