Wyndham Hotels & Resorts updated its mobile app to provide features meant to make guests more at-ease during the pandemic. This includes offering mobile check-in and checkout to 6,000 hotels, up from 300 hotels previously.
The app will allow for keyless room entry at select locations, and a gamified “passport” that tracks in-app actions around their loyalty program, like booking a stay or redeeming points. There will also be a “Lightning Book” feature to reserve a room quickly, designed for people on-the-go who want to find the nearest hotel and complete a booking in as few as three taps.
While upscale hotel chains have led the way in investing in mobile capabilities, this move by Wyndham, the parent of brands like La Quinta, Days Inn and Super 8, suggests such features are a must-have for a broader group of economy and midscale hotels. As these brands are largely servicing guests who are traveling by road rather than air, they’ve been holding up better than other chains. While the revenue per available room, a key metric for the hotel industry, fell 81% at luxury hotels in the U.S. in the second quarter, budget hotels experienced only a 44% decline over the period, according to data from analytics firm STR cited by The Wall Street Journal.
Why It’s Hot
The new contactless features along with stronger personalization and gamification of the loyalty program can be a differentiator that helps people return to traveling.
Rent the Runway is taking their clothing rentals to W Hotels with a new “Closet Concierge” service. Upon booking a room, guests will be able to choose four styles to rent for $69 and have those items waiting for them in their hotel rooms. Guests can then drop off items at their location’s welcome desk when checking out.
The RTR Closet Concierge service is launching at W Aspen, W South Beach, W Washington, D.C. and W Hollywood.
According to a press release, the goal of the Closet Concierge launch is a means of extending services so clients can “pack light, really light.” While guests will have access to Rent the Runway’s Unlimited Closet, selections also will be personalized to each hotel location based on silhouettes, trending colors and the area’s climate.
Why It’s Hot
Quick getaways or “micro-cations” are the most popular trips Americans are taking. So having four styles waiting in your hotel room might really mean you can leave your clothes at home when traveling. It also taps into a market of travel influencers who always want new outfits to feature on their social feeds. For those who have never used Rent the Runway before, it seems like a great way to try the service and get a sense of what clothing is available.
Recently the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. began offering Sip & Slurp: a room service package letting guests partake in the mukbang live-streaming phenomenon. Mukbang, originating in South Korea, involves influencers streaming themselves as they gorge on massive quantities of food. For USD 285, guests receive a feast – consisting of lobster tails, filet mignon, cherry pie, and the hotel’s Big Belly burger – as well as a lapel mic and cell phone stand. The W Hotels filmed its first mukbang delivery with Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski.
Why it’s hot: A smart and relevant way to be a part of trendy conversations, and by leveraging the mukbang trend W Hotel could reach and appeal to new audiences.
Orangetheory is testing a new pop-up gym model across hotels nationwide. Their first location opened last month at the Hilton-owned Boca Raton Resort and Club, and the company has plans to launch at least 12 more locations this year.
Pop-up locations will operate similar to Orangetheory’s standalone locations. They will feature the same equipment and offer classes taught by trainers brought in from other Orangetheory gyms. Guests staying at the resort locations will be able to join an interval training class for $30. Those guests who are already Orangetheory members get a discounted rate of $20 per class.
For now, the pop-ups will be open for six months, allowing Orangetheory to measure success before committing to long-term leases.
Why It’s Hot
Hotel guests are captive audiences for trying out new experiences while they’re away from home and outside of their usual routines. This model could become the best way to introduce the Orangetheory method to potential new members.
Hotel service is getting a major upgrade. With Alexa for Hospitality, Amazon will help hotels manage and customize how their Echo speakers can work harder for their guests.
With an Echo speaker in each room, guests will feel right at home with the commands they use every day like turning the lights on and off, setting alarms, playing music and making phone calls. But even more importantly, Alexa will supplement hotel staff by taking on the functions of ordering room service, requesting room cleanings, providing information like pool hours, and helping guests check out. Amazon is also providing a digital platform to help hotels manage hundreds of Echo devices in one centralized view.
Along with the announcement, Amazon notes they are already working on enhancements. In the near future, guests will be able to temporarily connect their own Amazon account to the device in their hotel room, meaning preferences like favorite music and personalized details like contacts will be accessible. Upon checkout, the speaker will reset for the next guest.
Why It’s Hot:
Alexa for Hospitality can help hotels truly deliver the level of comfort and convenience their guests expect. As it continues to evolve, hotels should see significant operational efficiencies while guests enjoy all the benefits of a virtual concierge.
For years, hotels have been focused on selling their services to people coming from outside of town instead of those who live and work around it. One of them thinks differently. Hotel group Accor Hotels has launched an app to connect travelers with local businesses. The app also provides non-guests the chance to use its hotel services and use it as a drop off and pick up point for services provided by local businesses. e.g. dry cleaning drop off/pick up.
Why it’s hot: helping local small businesses while finding incremental audiences in a competitive market.
Marriott has introduced a new Slack extension that lets teams browse and book hotel rooms directly in their chats. There is even an emoji feature.
The user provides a city and dates, and the extension will serve up a handful of options. Everyone in the chat can then vote using Slack’s emoji reactions on which option they want. When the votes are in, you can book the winning hotel right within the slack chat.
The extension is limited to hotels affiliated with Marriott’s Rewards program, but the company promises the Slack tie-in will aways turn up the lowest possible rate.
“Marriott also has the distinction of being the first hotel chain to have a dedicated Slack experience, though the hotel chain has previously dabbled in messaging, with a bot for Facebook Messenger and an iMessage app.
The extension was was built by a company called Snaps, which also makes emoji apps for businesses (and Kim Kardashian, as it turns out), so it’s not surprising they’d bring an emoji component to Slack as well.”
Why it’s hot: This takes some of the pain out of booking hotels (especially for business travel through concur) and allows multiple parties to weigh into booking decisions. Additionally, this further positions Marriott as a leading hotel chain leveraging technology to make their guests lives easier (recently launched an AI chat bot for in-hotel experience).
Typically hotels promote themselves in a fashion that can only be displayed to make you want to stay there through beautiful, high-resolution images. However, Loews Hotels is taking a different approach in their “Travel for Real” campaign.
The brand used social media to foster this idea. They took to Instagram to see what types of content their guests posts and when they discovered their photos, it sparked an idea. Their new campaign will promote guest photos as opposed to those over photo-shopped images guests are used to seeing.
What they found is that guests are more connected to the brand through this campaign and are more willing to use their branded hashtag. It also entices users to want to post their images along with the hashtags because let’s face it, every guests photo wants to be an ad for Loews Hotels.
Now when gets stay at a Loews, they won’t be let down because they will know that what they see is what they will get.
Mobile is transforming the hotel check-in experience, with 1 million Marriott International customers having checked in to their rooms on their mobile devices since the option was introduced nearly two years ago. Marriott International is celebrating the accomplishment with a sweepstakes giving Marriott Rewards members who use mobile check-in a chance to win millions of rewards points. The Marriott Mobile App enables guests to check-in after 4 pm the day before their arrival and receive an automatic notification when their room is ready.
Why It’s Hot
Less than two years old, over a million travelers have embraced mobile check-ins. It’s ease and convenience is transforming the check-in and overall guest experience. Other hotel chains are now offering this service too, including La Quinta and Hilton in addition to Marriott.
Marriott continues to build on the strategy, having recently announced that guests will be able to use the Apple Watch to check-in before their stay, receive alerts when their room is ready and checkout.