Hotel Management spoke with Ben Robertson, CEO of y!kes, about the company’s new door lock system that uses Bluetooth connectivity to allow guests with smartphones to bypass check-in and unlock their door simply by touching the handle. In the future, the company plans to expand the system’s proximity-awareness technology to encompass multiple aspects of the guest’s stay.
“We’re able to have the hotel guest download our app, put their username and password in, and then it links the reservation to their mobile devices,” Robertson said. “The day of the reservation you get a notification saying your room is ready, you put in your personal pin, and then you gain access to your room number. [The system] checks you in automatically upon your presence in the lobby space, and when you touch the door handle, it recognizes you automatically, and it allows you into the room.”
The mobile app works with Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft smartphones. For guests with out smartphones, the lock system can also work with a more traditional key card. “We have a dual system that can be magstrip or RFID,” Robertson said.
In the future, the company plans to add capabilities to extend the app’s capabilities to other aspects of the guest experience.
“We really want to customize the guest’s room, whether it be the temperature, the lighting, even their TV preferences,” Robertson said. “We’re making it so that the mobile device really makes things easy for that guest throughout their stay…We can service their needs according to their proximity throughout the hotel.”
At the same time, Robertson emphasized that automating the check-in experience was not meant to deemphasize the role of the concierge and other human staff, but to enhance it. “I think there’s a misconception that technology kind of gets rid of the human touch, and we’re just trying to enable that human touch to be even greater… We’re really focused on developing those guests, and skipping the hassle of the experience- the credit card, and all that type of stuff, and providing that experience that will really last,” Robertson said. “That provides that ability so you can go down to the concierge and really have a very worthwhile connection with those guests, so that guests get the experience they’re looking for.”