Five years ago, there were the docking stations for your iPod, then the docking stations accommodated the Iphone and today the docking stations which already include a digital clock, alarm and radio, provide full interactivity to Tv sets or hi-fi sound systems. Gradually, Apple’s docking stations tacitly and tactfully entered the rooms and suites of luxury hotels and resorts, worldwide. With a secretive approach, in many cases, especially major luxury hotel chains, Apple would provide these stations for free.
As it prepares to launch its Tv set (which some call ”Screen”), Apple has been introducing its in-room interactive platforms in luxury hotels and resorts. The same way its docking stations penetrated luxury hotel rooms and suites, Apple’s iPads are now increasingly available in rooms and lobbies. iPads are increasingly used by hotels to check-in guests but also in the lobbies and public spaces for guests to check out hotel information, local area information, maps and directions, Internet access, and transportation.
Companies such as Intelity and Cardola have been launching software and technology to maximize interactivity and ease to the maximum access to hotel services. Cardola has developed a VirtualHotel app which aims to enhance traditional concierge services. The app works with hotels’ front of house and point of sale systems to give guests a fast 24-hour access to restaurant reservations; spa treatment bookings; hotel services such as extra pillows and wake up calls; and links to external airport check-in, weather forecast and social networking websites. Cardola has been introducing its app at many luxury hotels which provide iPads in their rooms and suites.
Intelity‘s ICE (Interactive Customer Experience™) is a complete platform technology which integrates all the management systems of a hotel. With ICE, guests can view and make requests for thirty-five hotel services directly from their smart phones, tablets or laptops. Through a touch pad, guests can control lighting, temperature, curtains, DND; they can order room service, can print their boarding passes, control television channels, book hotel services such as SPA or buy concert tickets. Again, Intelity’s systems are provided through iPads, which are provided by luxury hotels in rooms and suites. Dorchester Collection‘s Bel Air and 45 Park Lane Hotel have introduced the ICE system, guests being able to take advantage of a 360 degree array of integrated services which enhance comfort and provide a uniquely experience.
Luxury hotels are also developing their own apps available on the iPads they provide complimentary: Hotel de l’Europe in Amsterdam offers iPads in all its rooms and suites and through the hotel’s app, guests can order in-room dining, check concierge services, book a SPA treatment and browse through the hotel’s different room and suite types etc.
The Opposite House in Beijing (Swire Group) has recently installed iPads in all its rooms, complete with a supporting preloaded app to help guests navigate the hotel’s facilities as well as getting insider tips on the city’s entertainment, shopping and dining options – all with a simple ‘flick of a finger’ and from the convenience of their studio or suite.
Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver introduced last Summer the ICE technology through Ipads in all its rooms and suites, guests being able to use the iPad as a virtual concierge for in-room dining orders, housekeeping requests, arranging airport transportation, looking up information on tourist attractions, and more.
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