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Hotels get smart to attract millennials (The Straits Times)

by August 12, 2015 Industry

More are introducing apps that let guests check in, choose amenities or unlock room doors with just a tap

Gone are the days of hotel guests fumbling with door keys or access cards, or choosing amenities using the house phone.

Many hotels in Singapore are making over guest services, providing access to rooms and amenities with just a tap on smartphones and tablets. Increasingly, hotels are upgrading to cater to millennial consumers who are on their mobile devices all the time.

For instance, W Singapore Sentosa Cove lets tech-savvy guests unlock rooms with their smartphone or an Apple Watch.

Conrad Centennial Singapore allows guests to check in, choose the rooms they want and order comfort items to be delivered to their room by tapping on its apps.

At The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, guests can use an app to check in, check out and put in service requests.


Some guests are actually very enthusiastic about the technology and came to stay with us just to try out SPG Keyless.

MR STEPHANE FABREGOUL, general manager of W Singapore Sentosa Cove, on the hotel’s mobile app

Hotels are investing in such technology-driven guest services not because they want to trim staffing or costs, but to cater to customer demands, said Miss Lucy Ashenhurst, principal associate at technology law firm Olswang Asia.

“The millennial consumer expects to be able to discuss, organise, book and customise their life experiences on their mobile device at his own convenience,” she added.

The app-based check-in and check-out services offered by The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, have proven to be popular with its millennial generation guests, said Mr Oscar Postma, the hotel’s executive assistant manager of rooms.

“The millennials are coming to an age when they are starting to become our guests,” he said, adding that such guests are on their mobile devices all the time.

W Singapore Sentosa Cove noted that most of its guests who used Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Keyless, a mobile app that lets guests unlock rooms using a smartphone, are aged between 25 and 35.

Mr Stephane Fabregoul, general manager of W Singapore Sentosa Cove, said: “Some guests are actually very enthusiastic about the technology and came to stay with us just to try out SPG Keyless.”

He hopes to see half of W Singapore’s guests use the SPG Keyless feature by the end of this year.

The smart guest services offered by the hotels here were first rolled out in the United States and many did not debut here until recently.

For instance, The Ritz-Carlton app was launched in the US three years ago, but was made available in Singapore only last August.

As a result, the experience is still relatively new here.

Mr Alvin Chung, 34, an executive director of a biotech company, loved using the two apps offered by the Conrad Centennial Singapore during his previous stay there.

He liked that he could customise the comforts of his room through an app, such as asking for a different type of pillow, before and during his stay.

“I can make these service requests even when I’m out at the pool or in the gym,” he said.

Smart features will certainly be one key consideration the next time he books a hotel.

READ MORE: Trevor Tan checks out more hotels

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