订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业 - 科技

酒店业的未来在哪里

Jessica Hullinger 2014年08月18日

对于奉行客户至上原则的酒店业来说,如何将科技引入这个古老行业的同时,继续维系客户的舒适感,是一个巨大的挑战。

    
微型酒店Yotel的搬运机器人Yobot正在工作。

    一走进纽约曼哈顿时代广场附近的Yotel微型宾馆,首先映入眼帘的就是那台摆放在大厅中的机器人。在一扇玻璃后面,矗立着一个巨大的白色机械臂,有点像生产线使用的那种。宾馆总经理克莱斯•兰德伯格带着一丝骄傲的神色对我说,它的名字叫做Yobot。

    “你向Yobot要一个储物箱,把你的行李放上去,它就会把行李放入储物箱,然后给你一张收据。返回时,你只需扫描一下这张数据,输入号码,它就会把行李取出来还给你。”动作迟缓的Yobot经过一段长得令人心焦的时间才做完这项原本是由前台员工完成的寄存行李流程。难道这就是Yobot所有的功能吗?兰德伯格表示:“碰到节假日,我们也会用到它。我们会把它打扮起来。”

    我看到有几个住客茫然地戳着Yobot的触屏,心里不禁想到:难道这就是酒店业的未来?面对科技的飞速发展,酒店业的反应一直是慢了半拍——除了用电子邮件发送扣费通知,新潮一点的酒店用上了iPad,当然他们采用这两种技术的理由也很充分。那么,我们如何在不损害酒店业赖以生存的舒适和人际关系的情况下,将科技引入这个行业中呢?

    酒店业与高科技融合的阵地之一是宾馆的前台,现在宾馆的前台已经有了开始模仿机场登机柜台的趋势。还是以Yotel为例,它的大厅里有6台自助登记终端机。兰德伯格表示:“整个过程只需要60秒”,前提是你知道怎么用这个东西。当然无可避免的是,有些顾客不知道怎么用,这时候Yotel的员工就会扮演技术支持的角色。兰德伯格再次向我保证道:“我们不会把顾客单独留在那儿,我们还是有员工在那里的。”他表示,使用这些终端机的目的,是为了让顾客在登记时获得更私人的感觉。另外把繁琐的手续工作交给机器,也有助于让员工专注地为客人提供更好的入住体验。

    不过即将退房的旅行音乐家凯文•克劳福德却不这么想。他皱着眉头看了一眼终端机:“登记有点过于复杂了,旁边倒是总有人帮你,所以我想,为什么不直接让那些人帮客人办理登记手续?”同时他表示,Yobot倒是挺有意思的,但它的动作迟缓得“有点可笑。”

    在全球拥有近1200家酒店的喜达屋酒店集团(Starwood Hotels & Resorts)也在努力提高登记效率。喜达屋目前正在测试一种叫“信号台”的无线设备,可以通过该公司的APP与你的智能手机连接,告知前台员工你是谁。该公司数码业务高级副总裁,“喜达屋优先顾客计划”负责人克里斯•霍尔德伦表示:“这样就可以赶走第一次接触时那种缺乏人情味的感觉,从第一步就让顾客体验到一种私密感。”亚特兰大的一家名叫Itesso的公司则走得更远。它通过一款谷歌眼镜(Google Glass)应用让员工可以认出每张顾客的脸。考虑到有些客人根本不想和前台打交道,喜达屋集团还在纽约和加州库比蒂诺的两家雅乐轩酒店(Aloft Hotel)试用一种基于智能手机的“电子钥匙”。客人可以远程登记,然后直接进入他们订好的房间。另外,库比蒂诺的那家雅乐轩酒店不想被Yobot比下去,它很快也将拥有自己的机器人服务员“Botlr”。

    The first thing I noticed upon entering the lobby of the Yotel, a micro-hotel near Times Square in Manhattan, was the robot in the room. Behind a pane of glass stood a towering white mechanical arm, the kind you’d find on an assembly line. Its name, the hotel’s general manager ClaesLandberg tells me with an air of pride, is Yobot.

    “You ask the Yobot for a bin, you put your luggage in, and it puts it back in the bin. It gives you a receipt, you come back and scan it, put in the code, and it retrieves the luggage for you.” This process of storing luggage, a task previously reserved for front desk staff, takes the lumbering Yobot an excruciatingly long time. Is this really all it does? “We also use it for when we have holidays or anything,” Landberg says. “We dress it up.”

    I watched a few puzzled guests poke at the Yobot’s touchscreen, and I wondered: Is this the future of hospitality? The industry has been slow to change in the face of technological advancements, aside from perhaps an e-mailed statement of charges or use of an iPad, and for good reason. How do you introduce technology without undermining the comfort and human relationships upon which hospitality is based?

    One place this battle is playing out is the hotel front desk, which is beginning to resemble an airport check-in counter. At the Yotel, six kiosks greet guests upon arrival for check-in. “It takes about 60 seconds,” Landberg says. If you know how to use the thing, that is. Inevitably, some guests do not, which is when Yotel employees swoop in as technical support. “It’s not like we completely leave you alone,” Landberg reassures me. “We still have staff.” The kiosks are an effort to make the check-in experience more personal, he says. Let the machines do the busy work so staff can focus on the guest experience.

    Kevin Crawford, a traveling musician at the tail end of his Yotel stay, was dubious. “Check-in was a little over-complicated,” he says, leering at the kiosks with one eyebrow cocked. “There are always guys here to help, so I just wonder why don’t they just have the guys check you in?” The Yobot was fun, he says, but its sluggishness was “a bit ridiculous.”

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which owns almost 1,200 hotels across the globe, is also working to improve check-in. The luxury chain is testing wireless devices called beacons that communicate with your smartphone through the company’s app to tell the front desk staff who you are. “If you look at the most impersonal experience today at a hotel, it’s at check in,” says Chris Holdren, senior vice president for the company’s digital efforts as well as Starwood Preferred Guest, the company’s loyalty program. “This takes away that impersonal first touch and makes it personal from step one,” he says. An Atlanta company called Itesso takes it a step further with a Google Glass app that would let Glass-wearing staff recognize guests’ faces. For customers who don’t want to interact with the front desk at all, Starwood is piloting a smartphone-based room key at two Aloft Hotels, one in New York and one in Cupertino, Calif. Guests can check in remotely and waltz right up to their room. And, not to be outdone by the Yobot, the Cupertino Aloft will soon get its own robotic bellhop named “Botlr.”

1 2 下一页

我来点评

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏