News for the Hospitality Executive
Chicago —May 4, 2011 — Years ago, self-service was considered lesser service. Today however, the do-it-yourself model is quickly becoming the preferred method of choice by consumers for handling business and personal transactions in many industries, especially travel. OpenWays, the hospitality industry's first true front-desk bypass mobile key solution, is a prime example of how the self-service model in hospitality is capable of providing more, rather than less, service to guests. By giving travelers a choice (to either wait in line to check-in at the front desk or bypass the front desk altogether and use their mobile phone as a room key), the non-invasive, non-restrictive, optional OpenWays platform is turning heads and changing minds about how service should be delivered.
In a March 2011 bylined article titled "Solving the Self-Service Dilemma," Thomas Westergaard, senior vice president of Nordic Choice Hotels, wrote: "Self-service technologies ... create the added benefit of enhancing operational efficiency within the hotel. In recent years, new hotel concepts have emerged, demonstrating that some hotels can operate without the front desk reception by re-inventing the way guests should be welcomed. The fact is that the typical face-to-face guest/front desk staff interaction needs to be rethought. By having staff members within the lobby and without the physical barrier of a front desk, hotels are adopting new ways to greet, and add value to their guest experience."
Business Travelers and Gen Y Guests, Do NOT Enjoy Stopping at the Front Desk
Westergaard continued: "Travelers, particularly the up-and-coming Millennial generation, increasingly value self-sufficiency, unique experiences and speed above all else. All businesses are identifying ways to let consumers ‘do it themselves’ if they so choose, and no area of hotel operations is such an obvious candidate for self-service as the check-in and check-out process."
Rather than creating more nuisances that require guests to stop at the front desk, findings from a recent Harvard Business Review survey on Self-Service states that oftentimes front desk interaction -- especially among Generation Y guests and business travelers -- is unwanted, and hotels that provide an alternative front-desk bypass solution are heightening service and improving their competitive advantage.
OpenWays is one such solution that is streamlining the self check-in process by harnessing the power -- and popularity -- of mobile technology. Compatible with any of the 5.8 billion mobile devices in the world, OpenWays recently announced it was working with Nordic Choice Hotels, where guests use their mobile phone as a room key. Should they prefer to employ a more familiar guestroom access option, guests can obtain an RFID keycard from the hotel's kiosk.
Westergaard wrote: "Many travelers still prefer the traditional style of service that hotels provide, including an interactive human dialog upon check-in. But what some hoteliers don’t yet understand is that it doesn’t have to be an either/or issue; the point is that guests want options. Hotels can still make traditional front desk check-in available, while also offering mobile ... check-in options for the increasing number of guests who prefer the convenience of that process. This is the approach Nordic Choice Hotels is taking with its new Comfort Xpress lifestyle hotel."
Offering Guests Choices is the ULTIMATE Service
Pascal Metivier, Founder and CEO of OpenWays, said more and more hotel companies are looking to give their customers the much desired "freedom of choice" in determining how they wish to interact with the hotel from the moment the reservation is made. The addition of a simple self-service option is paramount to ongoing guest loyalty and satisfaction.
"No matter what business you're in, if you ask your customers what kind of service they expect from you, the majority of responses will center on convenience," Metivier said. "They expect easy, 24-hour access to information, amenities and more, in a welcoming environment. Just because a guest arrives at a hotel with cell-phone in hand and the desire to bypass the front desk does not mean that he or she would not like to be greeted with a smile. On the contrary: a self-service option for check-in and room key dispensing on a cell phone opens up a plethora of opportunities for personalized service enhancement. For example, having less traffic and shorter lines at the front desk means that management can re-allocate human resources by creating 'Guest Greeter' positions or offering more concierge staff for the guests."
Adapting service delivery to accommodate guests’ needs vs. dictating service one way -- and one way only -- is the only way to be truly hospitable, he said.
"When you give guests a choice to check-in 'their way,' it provides a more relaxed environment for everyone involved -- including the front desk attendants who typically feel the brunt of guest frustration," Metivier said. "Because attended check-in is tedious and time consuming, it can cause frustration for both staff and guests. No guest should be made to feel that providing them service is a burden.In today's mobile environment, travelers who don't want to wait in line to tie-up front desk staff un-necessarily should not be required to do so. Allowing guests to use their personal mobile phones as their room key and bypassing the front-desk at check-in empowers front desk attendants to more fully enjoy their tasks and dedicate more quality time to guests coming to the front desks. By removing stress from a job position, it decreases employee turnover while reducing recruiting and training costs; A Win, Win."
Making Guests Wait in Line at Front Desk is NOT Service
Gustaaf Schrils, Vice President of Global Technology, Americas, for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), had this to say in a recent bylined article titled "Are Smartphones Winning the Hotel Check-In Debate?" "Guests today come from a business and lifestyle that demands things be simple, efficient and ubiquitous with no training needed. The winners in our industry will be those who instead of improving things as they go, proactively and effectively test new technologies to determine if they offer an innovative, useful solution for our guests before they are rolled out to hotels globally. That is the best way to ensure we’re providing a solution that’s effective for our guests, and a solution that’s a good investment for our hoteliers."
OpenWays is currently being tested by IHG at two hotels, and more hotels will add the solution in the second half of 2011.
"No one enjoys standing in line," Schrills wrote in the March 2011 article. "IHG is always looking for ways to improve the guest check-in experience, whether it’s a kiosk or an app, and we’re determined to find out what it is. For example, we recently piloted a real world application of OpenWays at two hotels. The purpose of the pilot was to test the OpenWays technology and see if it effectively provides our guests with check-in options. Guests choose whether they want to go right to their hotel room upon arrival by using their cell phone to open the door or check-in at the front desk and get a standard room key. . . This pilot and others are part of the ongoing work we do to look at future technologies, and understand what our guests want now and will want in the future. This helps our owners get the most out of their investment in an IHG brand."
Metivier said he is thrilled that progressive hoteliers such as Nordic Choice Hotels, IHG and other major global chains are seeing first-hand the direct benefit of OpenWays as a way to deliver more, rather than less, service to guests. He encourages all hoteliers to visit the OpenWays team at HITEC, June 21-23 at the Austin (Texas) Convention Center in Booth No. 1834. To pre-schedule an in-person demonstration of OpenWays at HITEC, call Andrew Sanders at (732) 707-1869 or email [email protected]
OpenWays is a global solution provider of mobile-based access-management and security solutions. With offices in Chicago, Las Vegas, Seoul and in Europe, OpenWays provides technology solutions allowing for the secure issuance and delivery of access rights and keys process 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 5.8 billion cell phones in service in the world today. For more information, please contact Barb Worcester at +1 440 930-5770 or email [email protected]. More information can be found by visiting www.OpenWays.com.
Self-Service Options is Key to Hospitality Loyalty; OpenWays is the
'Mobile' Key to Making it Happen / January 2011
5 will be Compatible with OpenWays CAC™; All next generation
smartphones, including the iPhone 5, Google Android Phones, Windows 7
Mobile Phones, Nokia C7 and N8 Smartphones or Next Generation
Blackberry's will be able to operate the OpenWays Crypto Acoustic
Credential™ / November 2010
Check In Today All the Way to Your Room Using 'Your' Cell Phone, ANY
Model and ANY Carrier / November 2010
Technology Veteran Andrew Sanders Joins OpenWays as VP Business
Development / November 2010
Platform Displayed at IHMRS Aiding in National Industry GREEN Efforts;
There are no key-cards greener than the OpenWays Crypto Acoustic Data
Credential that allows hotel guests to check in to their rooms via
mobile phone / October 2010
IN YOUR WAY" OpenWays Launches New Campaign to Aid Hotels' Mobile
Marketing Initiatives / October 2010
Mobile Application is Live at a Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express
Hotel; The world's first mobile front desk bypass solution is up and
running at two IHG properties / September 2010
Agueda Joins OpenWays as VP of R&D; Twenty-five year hospitality
and security systems veteran instrumental in designing the most
installed and successful electronic-locking systems in North America
joins OpenWays to lead R&D efforts; Maurizio Zama promoted to Chief
Operating Officer / September 2010
|OpenWays Cell Phone Based Front Desk Bypass Solution is Adding to the Business Traveler Experience; HITEC attendees using OpenWays app to enter Guestroom 20X said the mobile room key solution, which gives travelers freedom to completely bypass the front desk by using their cell phone for guestroom access, is ideal for all guests who want to avoid lines at the front desk; Company answers new questions posed at the premier technology event / July 2010|
|Front-Desk Bypass Cell Phone Solution: OpenWays Announces First Pilots at a Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express Hotel; OpenWays and IHG will pilot a new cell-phone-based front desk bypass solution that offers guests the option to use their personal cell phone as a mobile room key / June 2010|
|OpenWays Mobile Phone Front Desk Bypass Solution Selected for Guestroom 20X at HITEC; Attendees of the 38th Annual Hospitality Information Technology Exposition & Conference will have an opportunity to check into a virtual hotel, bypass the front desk, and open their room door securely using nothing but their cell phone -- any mobile device, any carrier works! / May 2010|
|OpenWays Opening Doors to Gen Y Travelers Wishing to Bypass Front Desk; Allowing guests to check-in remotely by equipping door locks to open via any cell phone is ideal for attracting this green-conscious, tech-dependent, instant gratification generation / May 2010|
|OpenWays Selected by Microsoft® to Join Its BizSpark™ Start-Up Program; Developer of the world's first crypto acoustic solution for check-in/out and room access via any mobile phone to receive full Microsoft marketing support, tools, licensing, and global visibility / April 2010|
|ITB Berlin Attendees Flock to OpenWays' iPhone App for Front-Desk Bypass, Acoustic Room Keys; Attendees at world's largest trade show for the travel industry flocked to see world's first crypto acoustic solution for check-in/out and room access via any guest's mobile phone; OpenWays was one of 11,127 companies from 187 countries that exhibited at the record-breaking event / April 2010|
|OpenWays Presents its iPhone Application to Bypass Front Desks and Open Room Locks; Mobile solution provider that developed the world's first crypto acoustic solution for check-in/out and room access via any guest's mobile phone announces new services to further enhance operations and guest services. / February 2010|
|OpenWays Responds to FAQs Regarding its Front Desk Bypass Solutions that Securely Open Hotel Room Doors by Cell Phone; Mobile solution provider that developed the world's first acoustic solution for check-in/out and room access via a guest's mobile phone regardless of type answers hospitality industry's most frequently asked questions / February 2010|
|100% of the World Cell Phones to Open Doors with OpenWays' Apps; Hospitality's FIRST Check-In /-Out Solution with Mobile Room Key Delivery for ALL Cell Phones is at IH/MRS! / November 2009|
|4 Billion Cell Phones Now Opening Doors to Better Guest Service Thanks to OpenWays / October 2009|
|OpenWays Introduces the Fastest and Greenest Way to Check In and Open a Hotel Room Door; Mobile room-key application for ALL cell phones NOW AVAILABLE / October 2009|