Originally published on JLL.com by Jessica Martin
Last week Starwood Hotels launched mobile keyless entry at 10 properties in its Aloft chain, allowing guests in those Florida hotels to get into their rooms using a cell phone.
That’s just the beginning. The hospitality industry is aggressively testing new technology concepts as hotel owners and operators battle to build brand loyalty. According to one study 87 percent of travelers use a smart phone and 44 percent use a tablet while on the road. As those numbers increase and more millennials become business travelers, hoteliers must adapt to keep customers coming back.
“Marketing strategies continue to focus on guest preferences, mobile booking engines, gaining loyalty and increasing a guest’s ancillary spend,” explains Andrea Grigg, an Executive Vice President with JLL who provides strategic advice and management for a number of hotels.
In particular, Grigg is keeping her eye on the ways room service evolves. “Some brands are getting quite creative by offering a more casual room service experience to their guests — and a more profitable concept to their operating models,” she says.
As an example, last year in Seattle Hotel Max partnered with a popular restaurant, Miller’s Guild. Instead of the traditional linen swathed cart, guests get their room-service in custom-stamped brown paper bags with butcher’s twine, compostable containers and personalized labels and tags, complete with the name of the cook who prepared the meal.
As a frequent hotel guest, Grigg sees a lot of the new offerings first-hand. “My favorite trend is in the luxury hotel apps space,” she says. “These various mobile apps that allow guests to text hotel employees are taking personalized service to the next level.”
Read more about the latest technology mobile room keys: “New tech lets hotel guests check in, open doors using mobile phone”