RFID wristbands are so last year – social media-loving hotel connects fingerprints to Facebook
The Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel certainly made the industry sit and listen for a bit when it launched a project in 2011 to allow its clubbing-crazed guests to interact with Facebook via RFID wristbands.
Guests (and visitors to its on-site mega-club) were given the option to wear a RFID tech-based wristband throughout their stay, a devise which was then synchronised to their Facebook profile.
Sensors were installed throughout the hotel (pool, bars, restaurants, etc) so that users could swipe their wristband to upload pictures, update status and check-in using Facebook Places.
All content captured using the hotel’s swipe machines was also collected on the hotel’s own Facebook page.
It worked well in its first year, with a massive jump in Facebook fans (4,000 to around 70,000), heaps of content and an instant marketing database of customers.
This year it installed payment machines around the venue so that users could pay for drinks and other services using their fingerprints.
Not resting on its laurels, bosses have already started talking about what the clubbing season in 2013 will look like – abandoning the RFID tags entirely and the fingerprint technology not only being used for payments but also how visitors will access their Facebook accounts.
As well as the existing mobile payment units used in bars, etc, screens will be installed around the hotel so that guests can quickly log-in to their Facebook pages, select pre-scripted status updates and upload photos from the picture booths.
Bosses are already predicting that the hotel’s Facebook page will pass the 180,000 fans barrier by the end of the year now the most recent clubbing season has come to a close.
They also reckon the ROI for the entire project, in terms of the original outlay in the technology, against repeat bookings and the opportunity to market to a growing database is in the region of 2.5 times the investment.
In early bookings alone, some Euro 80,000 can be directly attributed to the activity, says marketing director of the Palladium Hotel Group (parent company of the Ushuaia), Alfonso Giménez.
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Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.