Transporting guests to offsite locations can only be effective if guests give you enough time to get them to their destination. This issue is most important at hotels taking travelers to the airport, where guests need to be conscious of flight times and potential delays.
In hotels where this is pertinent, companies such as Flyte Systems, a provider of digital signage that tracks the status of airline arrivals and departures, can be of assistance, in particular for hotels that are frequented by flight crews. These crews run on a tight schedule that relies on strict travel times, and ensuring they are aware of where they need to be at all times can keep hotels out of hot water.
“As part of their agreement with airlines, hotels with transportation need to be curbside within a certain amount of time. If they aren’t there, they can be subject to penalties,” said Kent Toney, president of Flyte Systems. “Before, operators would keep track of flights individually on the Internet, but with our system it can be done at a glance and shuttle drivers can take the system with them on the road using a tablet.”
The lobby is the most common area for digital displays, especially those for public information such as airline schedules, but having another option for tracking flight news in the back of house can also be helpful. Bob Janis, GM at the Holiday Inn Washington-Dulles, said his hotel uses a web application to track arrivals to streamline transportation scheduling apart from regular runs to the airport.
“The decision to use this app was made to serve clients better,” Janis said. “Some hotels bite off more than they can chew with commitments to pickup times. With this system in place, there is no confusion.”
Another way to make sure guests are aware of their travel times is to display flight information in guestrooms.
“Most often our displays are between the front desk and front door, where guests congregate to catch shuttles,” Toney said. “Optionally, though, hotels can have flight information accessible on the guestroom TV so they can track their flight while getting ready for the day.”
“The biggest challenge is when a mass exodus takes place on the same day as a large check-in,” according to Monroe Harrison, public affairs director for the Gaylord National Harborside Hotel in Washington, D.C. “Those days take a lot of communication.”