Marriott and Accor Bring Contactless Technology to the Forefront
Since the onset of COVID-19, contactless hotel technology has become an important part of the hotel experience. In an effort to restore consumer confidence and to adhere to health and safety guidelines, hotels began investing heavily in contactless solutions. Hotels have invested in contactless hotel cleaning technology, in contactless check-in and have also invested in contactless hotel room controls. Some hotels are offering a fully contactless guest experience, where the majority of the hotel’s features are accessible by mobile devices. This technology was always available to hotels, but the pandemic has accelerated its demand.
Contactless Hotel Technology is in Demand
Travelers are in favor of hotels offering contactless solutions, a recent report published by Travel Technology Association, found that 65% of travelers desired accommodations that utilized the latest technologies to create a safer environment. Another report from Medallia Zingle, a company that specializes in two-way messaging, found that 87% of U.S. customers were in favor of companies that continued to offer options that limited in-person service. According to an analysis conducted on behalf of Marriott, social media posts that included “self-service” had increased by 170% year-over-year from 2019 to 2020. Recently, there has been a rise in self-service kiosks, and they can be found in grocery stores, in retailers like Walmart and fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, that already have kiosks in place to take customer orders.
Marriott’s Contactless Arrival Kiosks
Marriott International reinforced its Commitment to Clean Initiative by adding more contactless solutions to select hotels. Marriott already has a host of contactless solutions that have been made available to members. With the Marriott Bonvoy app, guests have access to mobile check in and check out, that allows for check in with mobile devices and the addition of mobile key, which replaces the use of traditional key cards. Marriott also offers mobile dining and mobile requests, which allows guests to make special requests for services and amenities through real time messaging. Marriott recently launched its Contactless Arrival Kiosks at select hotels, the Moxy NYC Times Square and the Courtyard NY Manhattan/Midtown East and the TownePlace Suites Monroe in Louisiana. With plans to unveil it at its Moxy Miami location next. The new kiosks allow guests to skip those lengthy check in lines and allows for check in without the need to interact with staff. The kiosks offer check in for a single reservation in a three-step process and room keys are created on the spot and dispensed to guests. The kiosks are designed to limit interaction that could potentially spread COVID-19 and are equipped with anti-microbial lighting technology, an effective disinfectant that is embedded into the touchscreen glass. They are powered by UV light to kill viruses and bacteria that could potentially spread to guests.
Marriott’s Contactless Grab-and-Go- Kiosks
Marriott International also offers guests it’s concept of a centralized marketplace with its grab-and-go kiosks. The kiosks are designed to offer guests complimentary breakfast during breakfast hours, with a selection of hot breakfast options and coffee selections. Guests will also be able to purchase snacks and specialty items, with contactless purchasing that utilizes Bluetooth technology. The grab-and-go kiosks will be featured at Marriott’s Fairfield locations in Maryland.
According to Marriott, contactless solutions will enhance the guest experience while still offering guests personalized services. “The pandemic has accelerated the demand for contactless services, and we continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of our guests. The new offerings are an added benefit to the personalized hospitality we are known for, and we look forward to enhancing our customer experience by blending contactless services with dedicated in-person interactions.”
Accor’s Fully Digital Contactless Hotel
Accor just introduced its first fully digital hotel, The Ibis Styles London Glaucester Road. Accor wants to offer guests a fully digital experience by utilizing contactless hotel technology to improve the guest experience. The hotel offers guests access to online check-in and mobile check-in, in-hotel payment, the Accor key (digital key solution), digital food and beverage services and access to guest relations through WhatsApp.
Accor is now offering guests options to improve the check-in and check-out experience. Guests have the option of checking in online from their mobile phones, tablets or laptops. Accor’s existing Fast Check-Out functionality also allows guests to check out using their mobile devices and a PDF invoice will be emailed with guests’ charges. Guests will be provided with the Accor key, a digital key solution that will enable guests to use their mobile devices to open room doors, to access meeting rooms, for access to elevators and access to floors. The hotel enables guests to have a truly digital experience by also offering online payments through their Pay By Link feature, where guests will be required to sign in to make payments.
Accor’s Click Pay Collect feature allows guests to make food and beverage orders by accessing the hotel’s digital menu on their mobile devices. With guests having the option of paying upfront or to pay during check-out. Accor has also integrated WhatsApp, an instant messaging app, that allows guests to be in contact with the hotel team before and during their hotel stay.