Hotels Gearing Up for Wearable Technology

Technology used to be considered impersonal. You know, the idea of the “robotic mind,” no human interaction. But, the reality is technology is actually very personal and becoming more so by the day. Devices are so in sync with their users, they’ve become the personal secretaries to the masses. This is even more true when talking connected wearables.

I’m an Apple fan, and even though I have no plans—right now, at least— to purchase the much-anticipated (and costly) Apple Watch, I am interested in what the wrist assistant has to offer.  With so many different apps available, users can choose the ones that are most relevant to them to create customized experiences. And, with its super-long charge, it will work for you all day.

Apple long ago penetrated the consumer world with its promise of facility and organization, and it is now firmly entrenching itself into the hospitality world. All in roughly a week’s time, major brands that want to establish themselves as leading digital hospitality players have announced they are gearing up. 

Starwood Hotels & Resorts plans to add a new level of hospitality to guests’ stays. Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG)will be able unlock their door from their Apple Watch at properties equipped with the technology, no room key required. Right now, this is planned for select Aloft, Element and W hotels. The SPG iPhone app already lets guests use their phone as a room key at a small number of properties, but Starwood will do a broader rollout of SPG Keyless when the Apple Watch is released. With the app, guests can also get directions to the hotel, check in, see reservation details and view their Starpoints balance. 

Then, there’s Accor. The Accorhotel Apple Watch app, which will be available in 10 languages, will work in tandem with the smartphone app to promote hotels and destinations, manage and access information about reservations, receive information about hotel services, check out property maps, access loyalty points and notify guests when a room is ready for online check-in. 

But, let’s take it a step further: Hotel giant and early adopter of many things tech, Marriott International just announced it would be the first major hotel company to accept Apple Pay. No surprise for the company that has been increasingly integrating mobile-based services to cater to and attract the growing number of guests who carry one, or multiple, smart devices. Instead of handing over a credit card, guests can simply tap their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch to a contactless reader at the front desk. This, of course, will enable a faster check-in process for guests and, ultimately, lead to better guest satisfaction. The service is set to begin this summer at 11 Marriott properties in key cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, and will then roll out to more properties in time. In addition to Marriott hotels, the hospitality leader plans to install Apple Pay in Residence Inn, Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Edition and other brands in its portfolio.

So are you ready for the Apple Watch? At least for hotels, it seems like the time is right.