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Estimote-GuestDriven Hotel Beacon Rollout To Show Broader Location Capabilities
Will enable more personalized experience with new guest services.
Beacons are probably the first meaningful wave of “internet of things” technology. Most of the discussion to date has surrounded their uses in retail-store environments. However they will be deployed much more widely over time.
One such example is Estimote’s recent announcement with GuestDriven in the hotel industry. Beacons and apps in a hotel environment can do a great many things related to loyalty, guest services and promotions.
Today most individual hotel properties don’t know much about their guests (let alone their preferences) and have to solicit basic information all over again. Beacons will expedite that process and enable more personalized experiences and guest engagement.
Privacy is a non-issue here because beacons essentially require a triple opt-in by users: download app, enable location and allow notifications. (I explain the functioning and privacy aspects of beacons in a document co-authored with the Future of Privacy Forum.)
GuestDriven is a hotel industry software company that also builds apps, though that has not been its primary business. Beacons will support its GuestDriven Express product, which permits mobile check-ins, upgrades and communicates with guests before arrival and during their stays.
(The Starwood chain is starting to experiment with using Bluetooth and smartphones as an alternative to room keys.)
According to Estimote’s Tanuj Parikh the company’s partnership with GuestDriven “isn’t about pushing coupons, it’s about making a guest’s stay more inviting, personal and relevant . . . even something like greeting a new guest by name as she approaches the concierge. That seems simple but it goes a long way toward a high touch, high value experience.”
Currently the deployment is at an early stage with roughly 12 hotels on the system. However GuestDriven will be rolling out Estimote beacons and their associated capabilities much more broadly.
As suggested this hotel rollout will showcase a much fuller range of beacon capabilities than the majority of current retail deployments, which have been mostly about promoting in-store deals. Below are some of the contemplated use cases.
- System knows guest preferences
- Guests offered tips/perks: great attractions, cafes, golf, etc.
- Upgrade opportunities, free drinks at bar, food and beverage menus
- Discounts on restaurants, in-room dining, spa and other amenities
- When a guest visits the gym, he/she might be offered a smoothie, a complimentary yoga course (e.g., based on status)
- At the pool — happy hour deals
- Messages about hotel services
- Directions on the property to various facilities and amenities
- Payments integration (e.g., at on-site restaurants, facilities)
- He/she knows guest identity and preferences and able to make recommendations accordingly
- Front desk knows history and preferences and can offer to call a car service for example
Use of mobile apps and beacons will not only potentially create a much improved guest experience and better service it will help facilitate “one view of the customer” across the hotel chain, which is currently lacking.
Hotels that jump on this opportunity and do it right (rather than the “thin” or bad version) will create competitive advantages and cement loyalty vs. competitors that are more cautious or wait to embrace a mobile first strategy.