Wearable technology | The future is coming to dinner
Most of us know the Apple Watch, the Fitbit and some other wearable devices. But how is wearable technology used in the hospitality industry? We found a couple of examples with the main focus on creating an ultimate guest experience. From making guests life easier to creating a way to get information faster and easier accessible for employees. But did you know that there are already companies experimenting with using the same technology to track employee health?
Wearable technology and the ultimate guest experience
Wearable technology can be used to interact and engage with guests and exceed their needs and wants. The Starwood app that has been adapted for smartwatches give guests the opportunity to book rooms, order room service, receive special offers during their visit and unlocks hotel rooms in some of their hotels. Through this technology they improve guest satisfaction and the revenue per available room.
At the Walt Disney World Resorts they use wearable technology by providing guests with wearable devices upon arrival. With the ‘MagicBand’, guests unlock the door to their hotel room, enter theme and water parks, check-in at FastPass entrances, charge food and merchandises to the hotel room and also add a touch of magic to their holiday by unlocking personalized surprises.
Applying wearable technology for hotel staff
Wearable technology is used in different departments within a hotel. A smartwatch is easier to use than a tablet, laptop or smartphone. Both maintenance and housekeeping use it to receive messages and updates about guest requests, track orders, outstanding tasks and to send updates to other departments. They could even keep records of time spend on tasks, to optimize operational efficiency. We even found an article about restaurant owner Danny Meyer, founder of Union Square Hospitality Group, (Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, the Modern etc.), who started using Apple watches for his managers and sommeliers. The Apple watch will be connected to an app and integrated into the restaurant’s point of sale system. Managers will be able to monitor with statistical precision how long a table has been seated and thus when their order should be taken. He or she will be able to pull a view strings without having to run for it. Like for example to more efficiently grab bottles of wine from the cellars.
In the near future, a few companies are already experimenting with it, wearable devices will also be used to get data on employees health, sleep and number of movements for example. In the future more companies will integrate these devices into their employee wellness programs. One of the big issues here is if employees are willing to share health details with their managers. And although it might be in their benefit in some cases, we feature situations where insurances gets involved as well. Which sounds like big brother is watching you to the max.
We haven’t seen hospitality businesses that are trying to improve the health and wellbeing of employees via wearables yet. But we think this will not take a long time as it is predicted that by 2020, 75 million devices will be implemented in work settings.
In the past we spotted similar concepts. Tomorrowland’s ‘magical friendship bracelets’ were used as ticket and communication device. With these bracelets, you were able to connect with other festival visitors. Already in 2011 the Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel introduced a wristband that was synchronized with their guests’ Facebook profiles, in order to make it possible for them to share photos and Facebook status with friends.