Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

    Technological Innovations Group (TIG) has played a key role in helping BLOC Hotels develop and implement new ‘touchless’ hotel technology. In an exclusive video review, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to discover what the contactless hotel experience is all about…

    The BLOC hotel at Gatwick Airport is a advanced concept in hospitality that offers a comfortable night’s sleep at a competitive price whilst embracing technology for the easiest and most convenient guest experience possible.

    The ‘touchless’ technologies recently installed had the useful side-effect of being ‘Covid friendly’, as guests use their own devices for everything they need to do, from the moment they step through the door to their room right up to checkout.

    Here’s Hotel Designs‘ exclusive video review of checking in to Bloc Hotel Gatwick, filmed by CUBE Video, ahead of Hotel Designs LIVE:

    There are no keycards required. The guestrooms can be unlocked from a smart device, without even the need to download an app. Once in their room, guests can then control the door entry, lights, climate, blinds and television from their smartphone or tablet, and when it’s time to leave, they can use it to check out too.

    Technological Innovations Group (TIG) worked with Symbiot to create this unprecedented hotel experience for BLOC, specifying secure Crestron hardware that eliminate the need for bulky onsite systems architecture.

    A bespoke cloud-based room control management system was developed for BLOC by Symbiot that integrates with the hotel’s Property Management System and Point of Sale systems, to control the entire hotel experience and environment, using the class-leading Crestron technology provided by TIG.

    Image caption: The new contactless experience is operated via a smartphone, without having to download an app. | Image credit: Symbiot/TIG

    The challenge

    Olivier Delaunoy, BLOC’s chief technology officer explained the challenges that were involved: “Initially we wanted to develop a completely new hotel stay experience that was seamless for our customers. But the technology we needed to control our rooms was not available as no one had attempted this before in the hotel industry!”

    The solution

    Delaunoy explains: “We had to adapt existing hardware and create inventive software to realise our vision. We needed the backbone of the control hardware to be resilient and secure. That’s why we chose Crestron hardware supplied by TIG and installed by an approved Crestron Integrator.”

    The results

    Phillip Pini, Head of Residential Sales UK, TIG is very happy with the outcome and explains: “What makes this ground-breaking is its seamlessness, its ease of use, and how convenient it all is. Guests simply use a web-based control system on their mobile device to control their surroundings, check in and out, and open their door – there is nothing to download, nothing else needed to access this clever system. Guests simply scan a QR code, put in their reference number, and away they go! What’s more, it is inclusive, with an option to cater to those who are still more used to analogue methods. This marks a huge shift at the right time!”

    The control system can even be used to operate the elevator within the BLOC hotel and will show the guests to their room. Although Covid-19 was not foreseen when this system was designed, the reduced contact was a fortunate by-product. Olivier comments: “We did not go out initially to reduce the risk of infections, but what we’ve created suits that purpose perfectly and we’re now adapting our technology further to embrace that requirement.”

    “In addition to this advantage, cost-savings can be achieved through streamlined housekeeping and maintenance. The Gatwick BLOC’s infrastructure can be accessed by management to provide operational insights, as well as real-time diagnosis of everything from lighting status to leak detection.”

    BLOC plans to open more hotels and will install this technology in all its future properties. Symbiot is now selling and implementing the technology to other hotel chains, and it is being rolled out internationally.

    Soon, it may be that this touchless, convenient and seamlessly advanced experience developed for BLOC by Symbiot, in partnership with TIG, will be a big part of the future for the hospitality sector.

    Technological Innovations Group is the Founding Headline Partner of Hotel Designs LIVE. To find out more about how Technological Innovations Group can help your business develop and deploy pioneering solutions to modern challenges, visit the website.

    Main image credit: TIG/BLOC Hotels/Symbiot

    Hamish Kilburn / 29.10.2020


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