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Nordic Choice Hotels Implements Ariane Systems’ Fully Automated
Check-in/out Solution at Comfort Xpress Hotel


Forward thinking new hotel brand takes self-service and convenience to the next level with
integrated technology solutions from Ariane, OpenWays and Saflok



Montreal, Canada — January 12, 2011Ariane Systems, the world leader in self-service check-in/out technology for the hospitality industry, today announced that Nordic Choice Hotels has implemented its Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk check-in solution with the launch of the hip new Comfort Xpress brand concept. The first Comfort Xpress branded hotel, which opened January 10th in Oslo, Norway with 180 compact rooms, features the hospitality industry’s first 100% automated check-in solution.

Through Ariane’s Allegro web-based platform, Comfort Xpress guests are invited to check-in prior to arrival, using the Allegro web/mobile check-in platform. By simply clicking on the link received by email or SMS on their preferred web-enabled device, such as personal computer, laptop, PDA, cell phone or iPad, guests can set up an automatic check-in time, manage room preferences, update their profile, and pre-pay online with a choice of payment options. On the day of arrival, guests receive another email/SMS with their room number and options on how to access the room, either via OpenWays Mobile Key—using their personal cell phone to go straight to their room and activate the door lock— or by obtaining an RFID keycard through Ariane’s self-service check-in/out kiosks.

Through a recently completed integration with KABA’s Saflok door locking system, the Ariane kiosks installed at Comfort Xpress are equipped with a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) key encoder that dispenses encrypted RFID keycards. These cards provide secure entry to guests’ assigned rooms simply by passing the card in front of a reader on the door lock.

A second phase of technology at Comfort Xpress will also integrate the OpenWays Mobile Key cell phone-based front desk bypass system, which will allow guests to directly access their assigned rooms using their personal cell phone as a key.  OpenWays’ patented solution turns any cell phone into a secured room key using the principle of Crypto Acoustic Credentials and SMS to securely deliver a key code to the correct user anywhere in the world via a unique, encrypted sound pattern. At Comfort Xpress, the OpenWays system will be integrated with the Saflok RFID electronic door locks and the Ariane Allegro web-based check-in solution, maximizing the benefits of all three advanced technologies.

"When we began to develop our new Comfort Xpress brand, we decided to start from scratch and totally abandon the traditional rules by which most hotels today operate, instead pioneering new technologies that are designed to increase cost-efficiency and guest convenience, while also promoting environmental responsibility,” said Thomas Westergaard, senior VP of Comfort Hotels for Nordic Choice Hotels. “The airline industry automated the check-in process 10 years ago, and we feel it is time that the hotel industry follows suit. By maximizing the use of new technologies and offering increased self-service options, we are able to cater to the needs of our guests while saving operational costs that can be passed along to them in the form of lower rates. Our 100% self-service check-in process allows guests to check-in where, when and how they want, and represents a first in the hospitality industry. We are proud to be setting a new standard.”

In order to create the fully automated self-service check-in/out solution for the Comfort Xpress brand, Nordic Choice Hotels initiated the development of a best-of-breed solution, integrating the most advanced technologies available from the hospitality industry’s leading suppliers. One criteria was that the technologies had to work seamlessly within Cenium, Nordic Choice Hotels’ centralized property management system that is used chain-wide to manage all aspects of each hotel’s operation.

“Nordic Choice Hotels has always had a corporate culture of innovation, and with Comfort Xpress, we had to push the envelope even further to create an entirely new breed of hotel,” said Westergaard. “The vendors chosen for this technology integration had to be absolutely top-notch. Ariane Systems, OpenWays and KABA have each contributed significantly to the development of this concept, and we look forward to working closely with them as we roll it out to our guests.”

In addition to the automated check-in/out solution, Nordic Choice Hotels is also differentiating the Comfort Xpress brand through the use of other unique guest-service concepts, such as a digital concierge in the lobby, pinball and football tables in common areas, graffiti wall art, live music concerts and even their own rock music channel. Social media is used as a primary communication channel for the brand, allowing guests to play an important role in decisions, ranging from wall color to which musical artists to play in the lobby.

“Located in downtown Oslo near many music venues, we offer a great urban setting, and we designed the brand to appeal to a dynamic urban professional who wants a nice, efficient stay at a hotel that allows them to utilize their mastery of technology – and one that appeals to all their senses at a fair price,” said Simen Vinge, general manager. “We are moving toward the future of hospitality, and the way to do that is by looking into the mind of the guest of the future. Our new automated check-in/out is an important aspect of that evolution.”

For more information, please contact Christelle Pigeat at Ariane Systems at +1 (514) 295 5944, or email cpigeat@ariane.com.
 
About Nordic Choice Hotels | Nordic Choice Hotels is Scandinavia's largest hotel company, with 170 hotels and more than 9,200 employees. The company's brand names in the Nordic market are Comfort, Quality Hotels, Quality Resort, Clarion Collection and Clarion Hotels, as well as 8 individual brands within Nordic Hotels & Resorts. For more information, please visit www.choicehotels.no
 
About Ariane Systems | Ariane Systems is the world’s leading provider of self check-in / check-out technology solutions for the hospitality industry. Founded in 1998 by Michel Lavandier and Laurent Cardot, Ariane now has over 1,600 installations running at hotel properties in 20 countries. Numerous hotel chains utilize Ariane’s electronic kiosk solutions to streamline the check-in/out process. These include Accor, B&B Hotels, Choice Hotels, Fasthotel, InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood Capital’s Louvre Hotels, among others. With corporate headquarters based in Paris, France, Ariane Systems maintains regional offices in the UK, Germany, Spain, Benelux, Scandinavia, the Middle East and North America. For more information, please visit www.ariane.com.
 
About KABA, Saflok | KABA is a globally active, publicly traded security corporation.  With its “Total Access” strategy, KABA specializes in integrated solutions for security, organization, and convenience at building and information access points.  KABA is also the world market’s number-one provider of key blanks, key cutting and coding machines, transponder keys, and high-security locks.  It is a leading provider of electronic access systems, locks, master key systems, hotel locking systems, security doors, and automatic doors. www.kaba.com. Saflok has been a member of KABA since 2006.   Saflok is a market innovator with nearly 30 years of experience designing, manufacturing, and distributing electronic locks and systems.  Its solutions are installed globally in the hospitality, lodging, multihousing, and commercial markets.  Saflok is committed to delivering best-in-class solutions that help properties achieve improved operations and reduced costs. www.saflok.com.
 
About OpenWays | OpenWays is a global solution provider of mobile-based access-management and security solutions. With offices in Chicago, Las Vegas, Seoul and Paris, OpenWays provides technology solutions allowing for the secure issuance and delivery of access rights and key processes via any cell phone operating on any network. The OpenWays solution is truly unique as it built on the concept of credential dematerialization. The OpenWays mobile room key solution works on ALL the 5 billion cell phones in service in the world today. For more information, please contact Pascal Metivier at ++ 33 6 85 622 306 or email pmetivier@openways.com or Barb Worcester at +1 440 930 5770 or email barbw@prproconsulting.com. www.openways.com.

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For more information, contact:
 
Christelle Pigeat
Ariane Systems North America
cpigeat@ariane-systems.com
Tel: +1 (514) 295 5944
 
Media Inquiries, contact:
Andrea Roland
Plan A Public Relations & Marketing, Inc.
andrea@planapr.com
Tel: +1 (407) 905 0608

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