Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 16 2015

How Apple Is Changing The Attendee Hotel Experience

By Carolyn Clark

Since the beginning of the millennium, Apple has had a profound impact on the world, and those effects have played a big role in each of your attendees’ lives. In 2001, the iPod changed the way they listened to music during their workouts before the morning general session. In 2007, the iPhone changed the way they stay connected with colleagues and clients. In 2010, the iPad replaced some of their laptops.

Now, in 2015, the most recognized name in technology is about to disrupt another key piece of the attendee experience: the host hotel. From check-in to check-out, Apple’s newest products will play a major role in the evolution of the hotel industry.

Say goodbye to swiping a room key.

The hotel industry has been working hard to make keyless entry a reality. Starwood and Hilton have already announced programs that will allow guests to use their respective mobile apps to move away from the need to stop by the reception desk. However, the smartphone is one more piece of gear guests need to juggle while rolling suitcases and lugging briefcases. Enter the Apple Watch, the wearable technology that will let that smartphone stay in the pocket.

“Now, when I arrive at my hotel room, I also get a notification [on my Apple Watch] when I get near hotels like SPG’s W Hotel,” Kevin Lynch, Apple’s VP of Technology, said in an address at the company’s Spring Forward launch event. “You can see it’s got all the information I need to check-in, my confirmation number, my room number. In this case, I can use this to unlock my door right from the notification on my watch. So I press ‘unlock your door’, I can bypass the front desk entirely, go to my room and then my watch is my room key. I just wave it in front of the door and I go into my room.”

SEE ALSO: Big Hotel Chain Makes Big Change To Check-In Process

Say hello to a more convenient check-in and check-out experience.

You’ve probably seen plenty of advertisements for Apple Pay’s ability to accept payments at big retailers such as McDonald’s, Whole Foods and Duane Reade. Now, the mobile payment platform is adding one of the biggest names in the hotel business to its list of partners. This summer, Marriott will begin rolling out Apple Pay-enabled terminals at locations like the JW Marriott Chicago, New York Marriott Downtown and the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. The hotel expects the no-credit-card-needed approach to attract younger travelers.

“Approximately 75 percent of our guests travel with one or more mobile devices, and it is even higher among 25-35 year olds — a group that will make up a much larger proportion of our guests over the next three years,” George Corbin, Senior Vice President, Marriott Digital, said in a statement. “Millions of customers already use Marriott Mobile to quickly book a hotel, check-in or check-out. Now, Apple Pay can make it virtually effortless.”

SEE ALSO: How Apple Pay Will Impact Your Meeting

Outside of new Apple initiatives built to revolutionize the hotel industry, some travelers are taking that revolution into their own hands and using existing Apple products to change their own in-room experience. For example, consider the “How to connect an Apple TV to hotel wifi” discussion thread on apple.com. It’s already collected more than 103,000 views of guests who do not know how to leave home without a tool that will connect them to their favorite programming.

How else will the continuing evolution of Apple impact the hotel industry? It’s too early to tell. For now, meeting professionals can get valuable learning lessons from the most recognized name in Silicon Valley. Check out “3 Key Takeaways From Apple’s Product Launch Struggles.”

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