InterContinental is this week set to become the first hotel chain to trial iPad devices for its concierge staff.
The iPads will enable concierge staff to provide all manner of guest services, including high-resolution satellite maps, close-up street views and short video clips of local attractions.
The hotel chain will conduct trials in four of its flagship properties - the InterContinental New York Barclay, InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, InterContinental London Park Lane and the InterContinental Hong Kong.
If the trials are successful, InterConti will consider rolling out the product globally.
The chain says that the iPad is perfect for common concierge tasks such as providing directions, giving restaurant advice and making reservations for guests. Although it insists the devices will serve merely to enhance the traditional concierge services.
“We wanted to make sure the iPads didn’t replace the human touch that comes from our concierge teams, but enhanced their jobs and made it easier for them to deliver better, more enriching and meaningful service,” says the spokesman.
The results of the trial are likely to prove exciting for other hotel operators, which are constantly looking for new ways to improve the guest experience.
For InterContinental, the trials will determine whether applications could be built to provide an enhanced concierge service for guests, with the chain describing the possibilities as “endless.”
Other brands have also spotted the value in equipping front line staff with handheld devices. Hyatt’s Andaz brand uses “hosts” equipped with handheld computers to check-in guests without the need for a reception desk.