Tablets Gives Some Hotel, Airlines Guests 'High Touch' Service

By Erin Harrison June 28, 2011

The travel industry – particularly the airlines segment – has gotten a bad rap in recent years for taking away basic amenities (a.k.a. food) and making travelers pay for essential services such as baggage transport.

In an effort to automate guest-service transactions, the travel industry is apparently starting to leverage the tablet to improve its customer service and concierge offerings, according to a recent USA Today report.

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts officials say that the portability, large screen, and long battery life of the iPad “make it uniquely suited to the round-the-clock, perpetual-motion world of hospitality,” according to an Apple testimony.

“We’re all about home away from home,” says John Prusnick, director of IT innovation and strategy for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. “We’re also all about ‘high touch,’ meaning the interaction with the guest. We’re enabling that with iPad. The combination of the two has been very powerful for us to reach that operational vision.”

As another example, USA Today said a guest of the Mondrian SoHo in New York City recently used a hotel-issued iPad to ask the concierge for a recommendation on where to go clubbing in Manhattan.

“The Mondrian is one of several hotels – and airlines, too – that are distributing iPads and similar devices to customers in an effort to tap the buzz surrounding tablet computers. The effort is the latest by the travel industry to digitize a range of services that once required picking up the phone,” the report said.

Hotels are introducing new apps to request wake-up calls, order food, browse hotel amenities and local attractions, schedule housekeeping, message other guests and arrange car service using third-party software developers, according to USA Today.

Airlines are also starting to make use of the tablet computer to improve the flight experience for guests; American Airlines is reportedly distributing 6,000 Samsung Galaxy Tabs for in-flight entertainment on some Boeing 767s and 757s that fly transcontinental and international flights, the report said.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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