The giant digital hotel concierge is here
There is plenty of talk about how many hotels are putting their traditional concierge services on apps and websites.
There is an obvious debate to be had around how the human concierge is often the most knowledgeable person in a hotel, and replacing them is foolhardy.
But there is a growing trend in hotels that are looking to install devices in their reception areas that feature much of the content and tickets that ordinarily would have been held in the concierge’s head or back pocket.
Spanish technology company Infotactile has gone one step further and created what is essentially a giant iPad that sits in the foyer or other public location within a hotel or tourism office.
The devices are around six-feet in height, two-thirds of which is a touch-screen, with a credit card, print-out, coin and mobile phone scanning point located underneath.
The idea is that the device can contain everything a guest would need to know about a hotel and the surrounding area, alongside some additional services that normally would have required the assistance of staff.
Content for the devices is pulled in from a variety of locations, such as a hotel or tourist board’s ticket partner for events and attractions, ad networks of local businesses, Google Maps, etc.
Users can pay for services using their credit card or mobile payment service, whilst hard-copy receipts and wifi code details for the hotel, for example, can be dispensed via the small printer.
Here are some shots of the device at the FITURTech event in Madrid, Spain, this week.
Restaurants (users press the icon to make a reservation, view videos and menus):
Activities (with demo hand to show users what to do):
Sightseeing page, with booking facility:
Museum booking page:
Maps (users can book a taxi from the hotel to a destination featured on the map):
There is also the obligatory selfie option, where users can be snapped by a camera on the device alongside local attractions or points-of-interest:
The company – one of a number at the event in Madrid with similar models – says the devices are gaining in popularity with hoteliers and a number have been installed in various properties around Spain.
NB: Disclosure – author’s attendance in Madrid was supported by FITUR.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has 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, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.