Hotel Enhances Luxury Brand with In-room iPads Without Sacrificing Guest Privacy

| February 14, 2013

Hospitality professionals understand that providing an exceptional guest experience is the key to satisfied clients, and amenities play a major role in ensuring those guests leave happy and return often. In-room features have evolved from pay-by-the-minute phones and black and white televisions to high-speed, Wi-Fi internet and big-screen, ultra-thin televisions. When it comes to these latest and greatest in customer offerings, luxury hotels are often the pioneers.
 
With the introduction of tablets, the hospitality industry experienced a dramatic shift in guest experiences. In fact, a recent study found that 82 percent of guests with tablets in the room used them around 11 times from check-in to check-out.  Hotels now have a powerful tool to demonstrate the commitment to innovation through guest services by not only providing in-room technology, such as a tablet, but enabling that device as an in-room companion to enhance the guest experience.
 
SLS Hotel, a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based sbe Entertainment, is a prime example of a hospitality organization taking customer experience to the next level using mobile technology in their South Beach and Beverly Hills locations. The company is also planning to take that same experience nationwide as they expand to the New York and Las Vegas markets.
 
As a boutique, 140-room hotel looking to provide an immersive guest experience, the SLS Hotel South Beach hotelier decided to place an iPad in each room and feature their internal application, which could be used to change TV stations, place wake-up calls, and order room service. The South Beach location realized it needed a partner to help securely manage the devices. SLS Hotel also needed to ensure that guests’ personal information and history on the device remained confidential.

After evaluating several options, SLS Hotel partnered with AirWatch® to simplify their mobile processes by comprehensively securing devices and delivering a customized brand experience to each guest.
 
“We looked at several Mobile Device Management options, but AirWatch stood out from the rest,” said Reuben Martinez, director of IT at SLS Hotel. “AirWatch provided exactly what we were looking for, and we feel con­fident they can meet our mobility needs in the future. The pricing was very attractive and cost effective for us.”
 
After Martinez purchased iPads for each room, he and his staff enrolled the devices with AirWatch and pushed down the hotel’s application to each device. Using the web-based console, Martinez decided to restrict guests from using the iPad’s camera to prevent guests from seeing previously uploaded content by former guests.
 
Similarly, the native web browser was removed to prevent guests from viewing previous web activity. Soon, the hotel staff plans to revamp their internal application, which will enable guests to book massages and allow the iPad become more of a marketing tool. With AirWatch on the device, sending an updated application is as easy as clicking a few buttons from the console and it is all done over-the-air for maximum convenience to IT professionals. The hotelier is also considering using iPads at the front desk to show what different suites look like to guests checking in as an upsell opportunity.
 
Guests have responded positively to their in-room companion, and Martinez encountered more issues with iPads falling and breaking than being stolen. There are plans to bring this approach to the Beverly Hills location, to the New York hotel opening in 2013 and the Las Vegas location in 2014. Martinez is also planning to implement a cross-platform BYOD program for hotel staff and to manage corporate sensitive content, which could easily amount to more than 25 devices for each location.
 
“We’re more than pleased with our AirWatch experience, especially the ease of use and ability to scale,” said Martinez. “I think we are just scratching the surface of what we can do with the iPad and AirWatch. The iPad is the next step in offering a great experience for our guests.”

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