Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel will be the first in North America to offer self-service kiosks with an innovative guestroom selection feature, similar to the seat-selection functionality offered by airline kiosks. Based on the initial reservation and pre-confirmed preferences, the guestroom selection feature enables travelers to visually select a room of their liking from a graphical map.
The initiative is a further example of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ use of technology for competitive advantage. Last year, CIO Canada featured an in-depth look at how the company is using IT as a cornerstone of its branding strategy (IT Goes First Class, March, 2004).
“At Fairmont, we take great pride in our ability to deliver technological innovation that improves the guest experience,” said Vineet Gupta, Vice-President of Technology. “We were the first hotel company to offer high-speed and wireless Internet access on a brand-wide basis. Now we’re building on our core technology platform to provide our guests with the most sophisticated self-service solution in our industry.”
The Check-In capability is based on IBM’s e-access Hotel Check-In Kiosk. IBM provided the kiosk hardware, middleware software, application development service, as well as implementation services.
The kiosks enable guests to efficiently check-in and out, personally select a room, receive their room key, and instantly enroll in the brand’s guest loyalty program. Other features of include:
• The Wireless Guest Ambassador: Using a wireless-enabled computer tablet, a roving and dedicated guest service agent will be close at hand to assist guests through the self-service process. Linked directly to the hotel’s property management system, the Wireless Guest Ambassador will inform, educate, and add Fairmont’s personal touch to the check-in experience.
• Airline Check-In: In conjunction with Air Canada, hotel guests will be able to use kiosks to electronically check-in and obtain a boarding pass for any Air Canada flight, before departing for the airport. Fairmont is planning to introduce this kiosk capability in late 2005.
• Group Travel Features: As a component of Fairmont’s digital arrival, meeting planners will have the ability to publish customized welcome messages and up-to-the-minute meeting agendas for conference delegates and meeting attendees. For added simplicity, the kiosk will be capable of printing this itinerary information during the check-in process.
Jeff Senior, senior VP of sales & marketing, believes the new kiosks are another symbol of the brand’s promise of personalization. “We’re fully committed to welcoming all of our guests in the manner which they prefer, and are driven to developing processes and products that make it easy for our customers to do business with us. By enhancing the arrival experience in its entirety, we are completely reinventing this process and putting control in the hands of our guests.”
Senior sees the kiosks as an ideal solution for corporate travelers, who account for about half of the brand’s business mix. “The new kiosks will be of particular interest to those who routinely travel and are looking to expedite the check-in process,” he said.