Hotel Technology: Digital Solutions

The Use of Digital Solutions is on the Rise

Digital solutions for hotels

The Hotelier Technology Sentiment Report conducted by Stayntouch and NYU found that the use of contactless technologies, such as self-service check-in, mobile key, in room technology and digital payments increased significantly during the pandemic.  The use of contactless check-in/check-out increased by 66% during the pandemic, as a result of more hotels offering mobile check-in and check-in with self-service kiosks.  92% of hoteliers reported that guests had an expectation of contactless options during their stay.  82% reported that they have implemented or plan to implement at least one technology and almost 75% believed that contactless technology will become a long-term trend within the Industry.  The use of contactless technology is expected to continue to rise and there are numerous contactless solutions on the market that hotels and resorts can customize to fit their specific needs.

Disney’s MagicBand

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Disney now offers a more seamless experience by allowing guests to skip lines and access Disney Resorts hotel rooms, make purchases and enter theme parks with the MagicBand.  Disney’s MagicBand is a wristband that is fully waterproof and can be purchased 10 days prior to arrival or on-site by visitors for $20.  MagicBand eliminates the need to wait in lines at ticket booths, the wristband functions as a digital key, enables digital payments and provides access to various parks and activities with just a tap of the wristband.

MagicBand uses long-range RFID chips that have the ability to transmit data up to 40 feet away.  The user simply taps the wristband on a sensor, allowing the Disney system to connect the MagicBand to the specific guest profile.  Disney’s MagicBand serves as a digital room key, admission tickets and credit card, restaurants can also match guests to their reservations without guests providing any information.  MagicBand addresses guests’ complaints of long lines and pricey tickets and allows Disney to offer a more seamless and personalized experience.

MagicBand Can Be Used to:

  • Unlock the door of your Disney Resort hotel room.
  • Enter theme and water parks (with valid admission).
  • Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
  • Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room
  • Unlocking special surprises, enjoy a personalized experience
  • Automatically associate your Disney PhotoPass attraction photos to the Photo Gallery on your Disney account at MyDisneyExperience.

Digital Keys with Apple Watch and iPhone

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Hotels across the globe can offer their guests a seamless and enhanced hotel experience by giving guests access to hotel services in one convenient place.  Hotels can now allow guests to add their hotel room key to the Apple Wallet app and use Apple Watches and iPhones to view reservation details and to unlock guest rooms.  To access digital room keys through Apple Wallet, guests must have a reservation at a hotel that supports the feature.  Once the room keys have been added to iPhones, it will be automatically paired to Apple Watches as well.  Guests can then access reservations, receive check-in instructions, and access guest rooms by holding Apple devices against the lock.  Once the hotel stay is over, the digital room keys will be remotely deactivated and archived and in the event that Apple Watches or iPhones are lost or stolen, all cards and digital keys will be automatically turned off.

Hyatt Hotels became the first hotel brand to offer room keys in Apple Wallet at 6 of its U.S. locations, with the plan to implement it across their global portfolio.  Guests can use Apple Watches and iPhones to access guest rooms, to access elevators, gyms and pool areas.  Guests won’t be required to open an app and apple devices can be used in the place of traditional key cards.  Hotels can offer guests a contactless hotel experience with the convenience of Apple Wallet.  Guests can add their room key to Apple Wallet after completing their reservations on the World of Hyatt app.  Guests will then receive a check-in notification and once check-in has been completed, digital keys will be activated.  Apple Wallet also allows guests to upgrade rooms and make special requests; hotels can then make changes remotely to accommodate guests.  Guests can check-out through the hotel’s app and their digital room keys will be remotely deactivated by the hotel.

Why Hotel Should Invest in Digital Solutions

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Contactless technology such as mobile check-in and mobile key can have an impact on the overall guest experience.  Guests have the expectation of a seamless check-in experience without waiting on lines, a five-minute wait during check-in has the potential to decrease guest satisfaction by 50%.  Hotels that offer digital check-in and digital key can see a reduction in overcrowding at the front desk and communal areas and staff will have more time to dedicate to other duties.  Hotels can simplify the check-in process and reduce the amount of time guests spend waiting in line, filling out paperwork and verifying their identity.

Allowing guests to use their mobile devices to check-in and to access guest rooms, gives guests more control over their hotel stay and hotels can enhance the guest experience by making the check-in and check-out process more efficient.  By investing in a digital solution, hotels will give guests the option to check-in from anywhere and will reduce the likelihood of guests losing key cards and getting locked out of guest rooms.  Guests can avoid going to the front desk and potentially waiting on lines to replace lost or malfunctioning key cards.

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