Future Guest Experience 2020

September 28 - 29, 2020

Las Vegas, NV

Housekeeping Robots, Apple TV, Digital Currency - Red Lion Hotels Corporation Is Roaring Ahead with New Hotel Tech

Brought to you by WBR Insights

Whether it's Domino's creating an app that automatically orders a customer's favorite pizza or a clothing brand like Stitch Fix using data science to deliver customized clothing recommendations to consumers' front doors - personalized experiences driven by technology are fueling growth in every industry. The hospitality industry is no exception. Hotel guests now expect every aspect of their stay to be tailored to their precise needs and preferences, and they demand great service and a decent reward scheme to boot.

US hospitality company Red Lion Hotels (RLH) Corporation has always taken great pride in leading the way with hotel tech and is now roaring ahead once more with three recently-unveiled innovations designed to deliver one-of-a-kind guest experiences, improve service, and win the loyalty of returning customers.

Interconnected Personalized In-Room Experiences with Apple TV

First to the party is an integrated Apple TV solution at RLH Corporation's upscale Hotel RL locations, first debuted in October last year. Designed to create a central hub of interconnectivity for guests, the new Apple TV solution moves beyond the standard provision of cable television, instead providing guests with a device through which a huge selection of personalized hotel services can be accessed from the comfort of their rooms.

RHL partnered with Apple device management company Jamf and hospitality technology company Monscierge to create the cutting-edge solution. "Hotel RL guests expect a unique, yet personalized guest experience when staying at our hotels," said RLH Corporation Chief Information Officer John Edwards. "By combining the power of Moncierge and Jamf with Apple TV, we are now able to offer our guests a digital entertainment experience similar to what they might have at home, while adding unique solutions that keep our guests connected with our hotels as they explore the local culture of the city they are visiting."

As soon as a guest checks in, all Apple TV configurations, settings, and apps deploy automatically, without any need for manual configuration. Guests simply walk into their room and have instant access to a wide variety of experiences and benefits. Via rich on-screen browsing, guests can kick back and use their room's Apple TV to order food from the hotel restaurant, call for room service, interact with concierge services, and of course stream a full selection of live and on-demand entertainment.

Boosting the service even further, the Apple TV solution also connects Hotel RL guests to the city they are visiting, providing a locally-curated list of merchant recommendations, details of onsite hotel amenities, and local travel information.

"Travelers are expecting more out of their hotel stay, and the in-room experience has a defining impact on meeting these expectations," said Monscierge's Chief Experience Officer Marcus Robinson. "Investing in technology that gives access to personal content, meets service needs, and promotes local merchants along with hotel amenities, allows for all the options guests are looking for already."

Hello Bucks and Housekeeping Robots

In December, RHL Corporation took another technological leap forward, this time with the unveiling of a housekeeping robot. Though the bot - developed in partnership with Peanut Robotics - is designed to do supplemental housekeeping work alongside a human housekeeper, the ultimate aim of the project is to enhance the guest experience.

The idea is that while the automated robot performs regular manual tasks - such as cleaning toilets and collecting linens - human housekeepers are freed up to focus on other aspects of their job. "Really, the goal is to augment customer service," said Edwards. "If we can allow housekeeping to focus on cleanliness and service, that is a win for us."

RLH Corporation will debut a pilot program for the new housekeeping robots at two properties in 2019, with a mass rollout lined up for 2020.

The company also plans to eventually have robots stocking minibars and carrying luggage for guests. Until that time, however, returning RHL Corporation hotel guests can start to make use of a new digital currency called Hello Bucks - the latest addition to the company's Hello Rewards guest recognition program.

Hello Bucks work exactly like cash, with one Hello Buck equaling one USD or CAD dollar, depending on the hotel. Guests collect 10 Hello Bucks for every qualifying stay at all participating RLH Corporation-branded hotels. The Bucks can be applied to their next reservation or saved up until they have enough to book a free night, making Hello Bucks one of the simplest and most versatile currencies available from a hotel brand.

In a press release, RLH Corporation's SVP of Digital, Loyalty and Partnerships Leslee Torres explains that unlike other loyalty program benefits, Hello Bucks was developed to reward all travelers staying at RLH Corporation hotels, not just the frequent traveler. "With Hello Bucks, we set out to create a currency that rewards the average North American traveler who largely goes unnoticed by traditional point-based guest loyalty programs. Each time a program member completes a qualifying stay at one of our almost 1,500 hotels, they receive Hello Bucks that can be applied toward savings on their next reservation or saved for a free night."

Final Thoughts

RLH Corporation's desire to push the technology envelope is no secret, and with these three new innovations, the company continues to experiment with exciting new solutions to enhance the guest experience at every turn. Be it with smart TVs, digital currencies, or automated robots, new technology in the hospitality industry offers an incredible opportunity for hotel brands to enhance their services.

For RLH Corporation's President and CEO Greg Mount, it's all about staying at the leading edge of innovation. "You can't wait for the future; you need to create it. We've spoken over the years about technology innovation; it still remains in the forefront of what we do, but we must work together to prepare for the future. I mean that more now than ever before. The world is changing by day, hour and minute."

You can hear Jeffrey Parker, VP of Hospitality Systems at Red Lion Hotels Corporation, speak at Future Guest Experience 2019, taking place in September in Henderson, NV.

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