Last year the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles made news for equipping its rooms with iPads. By now hotels in other big cities including, Miami, New York, Boston and Hong Kong have also done this. But this is not just so that hotel guests can entertain themselves by swiping trains in the Traffic Rush game. Rather than being a luxury item, iPads in hotel rooms are working behind the scenes to save staff hours normally associated with meeting the needs of hotel guests. It turns out that 60 percent of the Four Seasons clientele check into their hotels using an iPad.
Utilizing Interactive Customer Experience (ICE) technology, the iPads can connect guests to hotel services such as ordering from room service, making spa reservations, and of course managing the check-in and check-out process. Apparently, at the Four Season’s in California, you can check out any time you want with an iPad, and you can probably also leave – but don’t quote us on that. Customers can use the ICE technology to order taxis, check out local attractions, and open doors (literally and figuratively). The benefit is to the hotel’s bottom line where ICE software “makers” promise to reduce human customer service hours by 80 percent.
As it turns out, ICE is just a mere cog in the constantly turning wheel of hotel technology. The Yotel brand of hotels New York City location is practically a little piece of techno Heaven. At the touch of a button the bed becomes a couch, the wall becomes a screen and the hotel dining room has a hydraulically controlled floor. But wait, there’s more. The luggage handler is a robot. Some hotels have “tech gurus” to help customers with device issues. Some have a collection of charging devices for customers who forgot theirs. And in Seattle, Hotel 1000 has sensors that scan for body heat to detect whether the customer is in or out of the room.