It’s the Hotel’s Turn to Implement Self-Service

Choose your services and unlock your door with an encrypted audio tone…

Hotels are joining airlines, car rental and other travel companies in introducing self-service systems, in which customers choose which services they want before totting up the price tag, rather than offering a single price for the room. Much of the hotel industry has opted to ignore the opportunity to streamline their processes by implementing web-enabled devices that give the users a choice of services. However, hotel technology has improved to the extent where the often time-consuming process of check-in and the sometimes unnecessary add-on of a full breakfast can be opted out.

“The thought process is evolving,” said Metivier, CEO of OpenWays, the developer of a cellphone-based, door-lock system currently being tested by Holiday Inn. “Excellence in customer service revolves around letting you, as a guest, choose the way you want to interact with the hotel.” In a program being piloted by two Holiday Inn properties in the US, the hotel forgoes keycards. Instead, the MobileKey program allows guests to unlock their doors with their cell phones via a text message that includes a link to an encrypted audio tone.

Meanwhile, the airline industry is experimenting with deeper customer-oriented programs, such as American Airlines and Air Canada testing a program at Logan Airport where passengers can print their own baggage tags. Obtaining a boarding pass via your phone is already commonplace in many airports.

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