How Hotels Can Turn RFID From Concept to Reality

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Automation via smart phones and wearables is now a norm for consumers in all markets. They now expect the ability to access their funds and vendor services through their fingertips, especially when at a resort or on a vacation. Properties like Great Wolf Resorts, Disney World, and Water World have mastered the art of improving the guest experience with RFID technology. Read below to learn how the hospitality is changing to meet the new demands of consumers: 

story featured on published March 25, 2015

Mobile check-in technology at Starwood began with RFID in the SPG loyalty card (similar to other keyless card entry systems, just linked to a specific card instead of the hotel-supplied keycards), the keyless access is now relying on Bluetooth technology.

RFID, however, has many more uses for the guestroom, including improving the back-of-house of inventory management.

Steve Waldron, CIO of London-based Grange Hotels, suggested that better inventory management ultimately improves the guest experience, and that if a housekeeper could simply walk into a room and know if the bathrobes were in need of replenishment that would help everyone.

“That is going to be a revolution in the future,” he said. “Basically everything that has value and enhances guest experience will have an RFID chip in it for housekeeping to instantly room check to a Tablet–bathrobes, duvets, blankets and so on.”

The only obstacle it seems, is taking that leap within the guestroom. A Hospitality Upgrade article from 2007 outlines these same solutions to inventory problems, yet here we are in 2015 still talking about them as cutting-edge ideas.

The most prominent hospitality-related RFID success stories to date could be the usage demonstrated by Great Wolf Resorts in the waterpark space and Walt Disney Company’s MyMagic+ Band in the theme park space, which both use RFID wristbands for door locks, park entrance and point-of-sale payments.

The customer’s own device is an RFID in its own right, which can be useful for fire regulations at the very least, Waldron added.

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