Hotels have made major strides in bringing new technology to their booking and check-in activities, and are now rolling out smartphone apps that serve as room keys. But there’s a lot more guest tech on the horizon, and Starwood Hotels shared some of the possibilities with TravelSkills today.
Much of the innovation is being tested in or designed for Starwood’s Specialty Select Brands — Four Points, Aloft and Element. Here’s a look at some things hotel guests can expect to see in the months and years ahead:
- Four Points is testing “dual stream TVs,” — i.e., side-by-side large-screen TVs in the guest room. “Watch two big games on any given Sunday or (with the included wireless headphones) couples can watch two different programs at once without disturbing each other,” a spokesperson explained.
- Also in the Four Points test lab is the “virtual business center” — individual booths installed in the lobby that are fitted with noise-canceling materials so guests can make calls or work in a silent, secure environment- yet still be in the lobby.
- You’ve probably seen high-end hotel bathrooms with a little TV screen in the mirror. But Starwood’s “smart mirrors” go a step further: They’re floor-length mirrors with embedded displays that let you check up on the weather, news headlines and sports scores. Other touch-screen apps could be coming in the future.
- Starwood’s Element Hotels brand is looking into smart floor tiles. “RFID technology will communicate with lighting and beaconing technologies to map out a gentle lighting path from your bed to the bathroom. Or help light the way from the elevator to your room,” the spokesperson notes..
- The Element at DFW Airport is currently testing a “solar canopy charging station.” Guests can sit underneath the canopy and charge up their devices with electricity generated by new “Solarskin” technology on top of the canopy.
- A new amenity for Element’s fitness rooms is virtual reality for stationary bicycles. “A completely immersive bike ride experience utilizing virtual reality available at Element Motion fitness centers around the world. Choose your destination, choose your music and pedal,” the spokesperson said.
- The Aloft Hotels brand is exploring all kinds of new guest room functionality for smart phones, so that users can adjust room temperature; change the intensity and even the color of lighting; stream entertainment content to the room’s TV and/or bluetooth music player; and even program the coffeemaker to brew a potful at a specific hour.
The tech website Mashable recently took a look at some of Starwood’s tech concepts and issued this report.
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