By Viko Bhakta, Founder and CEO, RoomKey Technologies, Inc.
Thousands of articles have been written about the new generation of millennial travelers and the changing needs of hotel guests worldwide.
Generally speaking, the hotel industry has gone out of its way to try to adapt new solutions and products – from new hotel prototypes, to faster, better technology, to new kinds of on property social experiences.
It’s all good.
But it also leaves out something very important:
The new generation of hotel guests does not want hotels to tell them how to experience hotels – they want to design the experience for themselves.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me this story:
He, his wife, and their young son checked in for one night at a busy Manhattan hotel.
They waited twenty minutes in a check in line; had to leave luggage with the bellman and “disappear” for two hours while they waited for their room to turn over; then after missing a phone call to let them know the room was ready, they arrived back at the hotel, waited another few minutes to retrieve their luggage, and arrived at the room, only discovered the location was not as they requested — so they had to start over again and take their luggage (and son) down 34 floors and back up again, to get resettled in a new room.
The experience is not uncommon. This couple both work, and have little time for “getaways” with their young son. The process of room selection, check in, and locating the room they wanted, ate up precious hours of their time – and reduced their enjoyment of their short trip significantly.
The hotel, and it’s staff, did nothing egregiously wrong – they simply checked in guests and assigned rooms they way they have been doing it for years, using the legacy systems they had available.
What’s needed is a new kind of solution, which provides a mobile digital “touchpoint” for hotel guests throughout their stay . . . enabling them to manage their own room selection and check-in, all through a booking channel that can be quickly and easily accessed via mobile device.
In other words: Getting their room, their way.
At RoomKey.io, we have created an mobile application that fills these functions, and does even more – providing a single touch point and an aggregated record of the guest stay, which can include mobile check-out.
From the hotel’s perspective, the solution is fully integrated with major PMS providers, including Oracle Hospitality (formerly MICORS Opera), Visual Matrix, MSI and Agilysis.
It not only enhances guest satisfaction – it also lowers distribution costs and provides back of the house efficiencies, freeing up valuable personnel hours for other, revenue-generating activity.
All from an iPhone or Android screen, guests on RoomKey mobile app can review room choices, select their desired room and check-in prior to arrival.
Partnering with major door lock providers, including Assa Abloy, iBeacon hardware the technology enables bluetooth smartphone room keys – allowing guests to bypass check in lines upon arrival (and save the time of valuable front desk personnel) and use their smartphone as a room key.
Check out is just as simple, as mobile check-out allows guests to retrieve their receipt at anytime, from anywhere.
Is there more to be done, to make a mobile guest’s journey completely seamless, efficient, and pleasant?
Without a doubt.
At RoomKey Technologies, Inc., we know we are taking the first important step in a long journey – and are continuing to learn from the guest experience, refine our product and add new features.
But allowing the guest to have the experience he or she wants, the way she wants it, remaining in control of the on-property experience at as many touch points as possible, is the indispensable starting point.
We look forward to sharing our learning experiences with the industry, and helping hotels connect directly to the new mobile generation of traveler.