Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
is testing self-service kiosk applications at the 1,215-room Sheraton Boston Hotel and the 509-room W New York - Times Square. Located in each of the hotels’ lobbies, and similar to airline kiosks, the kiosk allows guests to check-in and out of the hotel by simply swiping their credit card, eliminating the need to go to the front desk. Check-in takes less than 45 seconds as compared to several minutes using the traditional front desk check-in method.
Starwood plans to deploy these kiosks to a number of its downtown, convention and airport hotels next year following the conclusion of the current pilot test in two of its busiest hotels. The kiosks deployed at both the Sheraton Boston and the W New York - Times Square are made possible through the use of Galaxy’s next generation Lightspeed(R) property management system.
“Data from our two pilots is positive,” said Carl Cohen, Vice President, Property Technology Business and Systems Strategy for Starwood. “It suggests that for those guests with an affinity for technology, this product improves the experience during arrival and check-in, and significantly expedites the check-out process.”
Here’s how the kiosk check-in/check-out process works: during check-in, a guest simply swipes a credit card, the kiosk pulls up the guest reservation, the guest confirms the reservation, keys are issued and a receipt informs the guest of his/her room rate and room number. The receipt also has space for customized messaging through StarGuest, Starwood’s proprietary Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application suite. Upon check-out, the guest swipes his or her credit card, the kiosk pulls up the guest folio, the guest confirms that all the information on the folio is accurate, the kiosk prints out the guest folio and the guest has the option to have the folio e-mailed to him/her in a .PDF (read-only) format.
“We are delighted to have the kiosk in our lobby; it provides a user-friendly option for guests to check-in and out,” noted Doug Ridge, General Manager of the Sheraton Boston Hotel. “Business and leisure travelers alike certainly appreciate the kiosks’ functionality, especially when they are on the run and want to get in or out fast.”
“Times Square is affectionately known as the center of the universe, and our hotel, which is the flagship of the W brand, can get quite busy at peak hours,” said Bradford Wilson, General Manager of the W New York - Times Square. “W Hotels have always been on the cutting-edge in high-tech hospitality advancements, and the kiosk application is no exception - it fits right in with our brand ideology.”
Future plans for additional kiosk development include the ability for guests to change their room assignments. Starwood and Galaxy work together on the development process, allowing Starwood to make modifications to the kiosk, based on guest feedback, and integrate new kiosk functionality with the Galaxy property management system in the hotel. Should the kiosks catch on with customers as they appear to be in the pilots, they will have a tremendous impact on the improvement of the guest experience, and customer convenience, resulting in the reduction of long wait lines.