Self-Service Copy/Fax Stations To Hotels
new revenue stream and requires no additional staffing
PORTLAND, ORE. — JUNE 15, 2006 — GBCblue, a provider of managed, secure, guest-use in-room, lobby and business-center personal computers has partnered with IKON, the world’s largest independent copier and printer technology dealer, and Canon U.S.A., the nation’s market share brand leader in digital imaging solutions*, to offer a revolutionary new guest-use, self-service business amenity to their hotel customers to enhance customer satisfaction and generate additional revenue for the hotels: the GBCblue COPYblue series of digital copy/fax solutions.
Working with IKON and Canon, GBCblue co-developed the COPYblue, which uses a Canon imageRUNNER device to give users the around-the-clock ability to copy and fax documents conveniently and efficiently from a hotel’s business center or designated lobby space. The COPYblue is an industry first and a revolutionary step in a hotel’s ability to offer quick, convenient and reliable business services to its guests. The COPYblue also allows GBCblue to constantly monitor the status of the unit, providing the hotelier with a virtually maintenance-free and profit-generating system. Because the system uses Canon’s proprietary Multifunctional Embedded Application Platform (MEAP®) technology, which enables organizations to tailor their system functions to specific industry or business needs with customized applications, each unit will accept updates to the operating system to add new features simply by Internet download. Applications already under development and expected to be implemented in the third quarter of this year include network printing to support PrinterON applications and scan-to-e-mail feature allowing users to scan and send hard copy documents.
To use the COPYblue, the guest simply swipes a credit card (or GBCblue prepaid card) through an external card reader attached to the imageRUNNER device to activate the service. The card reader is integrated into the system, eliminating the need for expensive third party servers and stand-alone credit card swipe systems. Then, the guest follows the user-friendly prompts on the custom, hotel branded imageRUNNER color LCD display to copy or fax documents.
“This is a service we’ve created in response to requests from our client hotels,” said Ken York, Vice President of Operations for GBCblue. “They told us their guests want to be able to copy and/or fax contracts, letters, proposals, purchase orders or other documents, at any time of the day or night. The hotels want to generate additional revenue and offer guests increased services without reducing staff in other areas in order to support or maintain the operation. That was the challenge for us: to come up with a way to fulfill our hotel clients’ needs so that they could fulfill their guests needs—and to do it in a non-labor-intensive, cost-effective way that could also deliver bottom-line benefits.”
“The COPYblue is a perfect example of how a market driven company like GBCBlue can combine their customer knowledge with the power of Canon’s MEAP platform and imageRUNNER technology that delivers very specific functionality for a unique workflow and user experience,” said Sam Yoshida, director and general manager, Imaging Systems Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc.
“Our forte with our hotel computing services is that we can remotely monitor computers from the field and help users to correct problems instantly. We frequently know a problem is occurring even before the user does, and almost always we can correct it remotely,” York said. “Similarly, we have the ability to remotely monitor and manage our new copier/fax business-center unit, and this generates benefits for the hotel and guest who has convenient access to a reliable, easy-to-use product.”
Those benefits drop directly to the hotel’s bottom line.
First, there is only one maintenance function the hotel has to perform: keeping the paper tray full, which can be done quickly and does not require a designated staff person. GBCblue’s remote-monitoring staff can tell, for instance, when a unit’s toner is getting low, and will immediately dispatch a local technician to the hotel to top-off the toner tank. Remote monitoring can even tell if the unit’s paper-tray door is ajar, and will alert the hotel to secure the door so that the unit will function properly.
Second, the copier/fax’s built-in credit-card-swipe unit automatically registers every use and bills the guest credit card (or GBCblue pre-paid card) and automatically prints out a receipt. All revenues generated are recorded at GBCblue’s central servers, and once a month GBCblue will issue the hotel a check representing a revenue-share percentage of the preceding month’s total copier/fax unit’s transactions.
“Having this copier/fax unit available in a hotel’s business center or lobby area is a virtually all-profit proposition for the hotel,” York said. “The cost of the unit is the same as the hotel would pay to purchase or lease a copier and a fax machine—but you have to staff them and maintain them if you buy or lease, and they don’t generate revenue 24/7 like ours does.”
“With our ability to remotely manage and update these units, we have the tools to easily add new features to the units deployed in hotels as we develop them,” said Victor Alikin, CEO of GBCblue.
About Canon U.S.A. Inc.
Victor Alikin, CEO