Apple Watch could transform how hotels deliver services

The hotel industry is embracing the possibilities that the new Apple Watch has to offer. Starwood has announced a wrist-specific app that will present details of your stay upon arrival, will work as a room door key, and will let you contact your hotel with specific requests, as long as you're staying at one of the select Aloft, Element and W hotels that are early adopters of Apple Watch-compatible technology. Starting last week, members of the Marriott Rewards program who have purchased the Apple Watch will be able to access Marriott’s mobile app for check-in and checkout, automatic receipt of room ready alerts, booking and review of reservations and detailed directions to the hotel.

“The Apple Watch is going to transform how hotels are able to deliver great brand experiences,” Steffan Berelowitz, vice president of digital platforms for hotel technology provider Travel Tripper told Conde Nast Traveler.

Of course, smartphone apps, including those developed by hotels, can or will soon perform every action described in those first two paragraphs as well. But travelers are often toting luggage and don’t have a free hand for their smartphone, Berelowitz said.

“It’s really about the incredible convenience that comes from wearables—that you can just glance at it and get what you need to know at the time that you need to know it,” he said. "There’s no need for you to unlock your phone or dig it out of your pocket. It’s right there on your wrist."

That's why many other hotel brands will release Apple Watch apps in the next three to nine months,  Kevin Carl, managing director at the consultancy Accenture Travel Services predicted to Conde Nast Traveler.  Hotels will also likely embrace the Apple Watch's subtle tap-on-the-wrist notifications to easily communicate with guests, Carl said.

Other travel companies are embracing what the Apple Watch can do for hotel guests, too. Booking.com, Orbitz, Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Priceline have all release apps for the Apple Watch.

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