“At the moment, the complications might be magnified for multi-brand, multi-property operators piloting more than one keyless system from more than one brand/vendor, but sources said that this somewhat disjointed approach may actually be preferable to a universal solution; at least until keyless tech is a little further along in its development cycle.”
As hotel companies across the industry begin to embrace keyless entry technology, they will also need to work out the challenges that go hand in hand with such integration.
Major conglomerates such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide are continuing to conduct pilot testing across multiple properties and brands. Starwood is backing up the technology with a $15-million investment. After launching its SPG Keyless solution at select properties (Aloft Beijing; Aloft Cancun; Aloft Cupertino; Aloft Harlem; W Doha; W Hollywood; W Hong Kong; W New York-Downtown; W Singapore; and Element Times Square), the company is now installing SPG Keyless in 30,000 doors at all of its 150 global W, Aloft and Element hotels.
In the meantime, Hilton is pilot testing its own mobile-enabled room key technology at 10 U.S. properties. By year’s end, the company expects to offer the digital amenity at all U.S. properties of four brands: Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton. Looking ahead to 2016, Hilton will then deploy the technology at scale across 11 brands globally. Similar to the SPG Keyless solution, Hilton’s keyless entry platform is driven by the company’s branded mobile app. Hilton hopes the keyless system will drive usage of the app, which hoteliers can then use to drive incremental revenue through mobile devices. It’s a potentially major revenue source to sway hoteliers who might still be on the fence.
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“This is the second time in recent months that security researchers have warned of hotel Wi-Fi networks being a potential vector of attack for cybercriminals, providing a not-so-subtle reminder that individuals must be ever-vigilant regarding the security of their devices and access points.”
Cylance, a security vendor, says that its security researchers at the Sophisticated Penetration Exploitation and Research team (SPEAR) have uncovered a flaw in the InnGate Wi-Fi router commonly used by many hotels that could be placing the devices of guests at risk. According to Wired, the Cylance team reports, the vulnerability could threaten not just guests, but could also spread to the hotels themselves if hackers are able to compromise the router to allow them to access other parts of the hotel network. Cylance says this could potentially impact reservations and billing.
The vulnerability, dubbed CVE-2015-0932 gives an attacker full read and write access to the file system of an ANTLabs’ InnGate device, Cylance reports. Cyber thieves gain remote access through an unauthenticated rsync daemon running on TCP 873, which then allows them to read and write unrestricted to the file system of the Linux based operating system.
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“The most powerful existing effect of digital technology on design, Jacobs told me, is the feedback loop of websites and social media that plays back the success or failure of each design choice in real time, making it visible to the guest’s friends, and their friends, and their friends.”
Hotels are my favorite places to think and write, or simply to escape from reality, which is sometimes harsh. The hotels I am grateful for are run by sensitive, thoughtful people who provide the precarious balance of anonymity and personal care that I crave. I want privacy, interesting design, and also a place to be sociable or take a meeting for an hour or two without breaking the spell of being somewhere far away from home. I like camping out alone under the stars, in a nice room with a comfortable bed, a desk, and room service.
As human beings become switching stations for the digital signals coming in and out of our phones, the technological backwardness of so many hotels has become, for me, part of their charm. I take comfort in the fact that hotel rooms often double as museums of Jurassic technologies—the desktop landline that acts as a five-pound free weight, the dedicated button you must push to order room service, the DVD player for which you can rent actual DVDs. Still, the fear that the hotel experience I am dependent on might dissolve into the surrounding digital babble of Big Data and wearable gizmos and giant LCD screens doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable.
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“If you can’t find anything fun that is truly local, then expand the circle of your list to include the county, the state or even the region in which your hotel is located. Then figure out how to inexpensively incorporate at least three of those items into your property.”
If you spend any time paying attention to trends in our industry, the buzz words you’ll likely come across include “unique,” “authentic,” “artisanal,” “sense of place,” “local,” “craft,” “experiential,” “discovery,” the latest iterations of “boutique” and “lifestyle,” and the single most overly and incorrectly used word in the English language, “curated.”
Today’s trend words all have one definitional element in common: They all are somewhat synonymous with “different” in one way or another. Guests are looking for different experiences in the different cities they visit, particularly road warriors. “Different” in that context doesn’t necessarily mean “better,” just not “the same.”
If this is not your year for a major renovation, and you won’t be turning your lobby into an experiential gathering place or your restaurant into an eclectic journey of discovery, there are still things you can do to be different and successful.
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“It’s no wonder then the hotel industry has become a target of well-meaning legislators and bureaucrats looking to save some precious water for the state. The California State Water Resources Control Board recently instituted new rules that among other things require foodservice establishments to provide water only to customers who request it and mandate hotels give an option to guests of not having linens and towels laundered daily.”
Let’s face it: The hotel industry in the United States over the past 20 years has mostly been paying lip service to sustainability issues. It’s difficult to blame hotel owners and operators for that attitude because environmental issues are seldom major operational or profitability concerns at most properties.
There are exceptions, of course, but for the owner of a typical mid-market suburban hotel, green issues typically are only seriously addressed for one of two reasons: the vague promise of operating cost savings or the public relations glow generated by being a good and green citizen.
That situation is beginning to change, especially in California and the Southwest. The culprit is water, or the lack thereof.
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