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Hyatt "Hotel Labs" Tests Innovations On Guests

Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:50 pm

Interesting way to gain feedback as well as implement high tech innovations that will likely change the hotel / resort industry as we know it right now. As of my last visit to the Park Hyatt Hamburg, Germany, I did not notice any of the latest touches Hyatt would have made as a result of these "Hotel Lab" experiments, however I want to say that MAYBE the Grand Hyatt at DFW Airport in fact has already implemented a portion of the "check in process". I recall back in September checking in with a human "Host" but utilizing an iPad system. Anyone, experience something similar within the Hyatt chain or a competitor?

Hyatt adapts with high-tech innovations

Hyatt is taking some fascinating initiatives to cater to a modern, high-tech audience—most notably, setting up eight properties as "lab hotels" throughout the world. Four of the hotels are in the U.S. and the rest are in cities like Dehli, Hong Kong and London. And it as at these hotels where John Prusnick, director of IT innovation and strategy, leads major IT experiments and initiatives, ComputerWorld recently reported.

One of Hyatt's most successful ideas emerged from the business side and was put to the test in a lab hotel. Hyatt International's president announced that the company needed to change the way guests check in. The Rooms Operations team, together with IT, decided to get rid of the front desks and make every associate a "host." The IT team created a mobile tool to untether front desk staffers and allow them to move about the lobby and interact with guests in a more personal way. The iOS-based iPad application includes hardware for credit-card swiping and encoding room keycards. The lab trial was so successful that the company decided to expand the mobile solution even further.

Jonathan Frolich, the general manager at the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York, spoke out about the check-in initiatives in an interview for The Australian: "We reimagined the whole arrival and departure experience. Why do we need a front desk? We don't; we live in a wireless world and can do it on a tablet. We created the role of an Andaz host, combining the roles of doorman, concierge, front office and bell attendant. They greet you at the door, carry your bags, welcome you in, offer you a wine or coffee, or take you straight to your room if you are in a hurry. Guests love the one-to-one contact." Frolich has high praise for the lab hotel initiative: "We test ideas in real-life settings. It allows us to understand different cultures. We want it to be an intrinsic part of how we operate."

At the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago, meanwhile, mobile hosts are now stationed at the airport shuttle center, where they greet guests, check them in and issue room keys, which Prusnick says has been a "huge win" for customers and the hotel staff alike: Guests feel like VIPs, and the staff saves time by eschewing lines.

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