Hotels and hospitality companies work with Apple's Passbook app

(Hotel and hospitality companies are taking advantage of Apple's new Passbook app, which stores a user's membership cards, tickets coupons and reservations on iPhones and iPod Touch devices.)

Hotel and hospitality companies are taking advantage of Apple's new Passbook app, which stores a user's membership cards, tickets coupons and reservations on iPhones and iPod Touch devices.

ZDirect, for one, is developing new integration that links directly from a hotel's property-management system to the Apple iOS 6 Passbook digital wallet. Using the ZMail electronic communication platform, a guest's hotel confirmation becomes a mobile "pass" that is sent to an iPhone or iPod Touch and added to the mobile Passbook file. Since Passbook is time and location based, hotel confirmations automatically appear on the lock screen when and where the information is needed. As travelers get close to the hotel, their confirmations pop up for easy viewing.

ZDirect is a hospitality provider of electronic customer-relationship management services. Via ZMail , hotels send personalized emails and text messages to guests before, during and after their stay to improve hotel-to-guest communications, build customer loyalty and increase onsite spending. Today more than 2,000 hotels spanning six continents are using ZMail to better connect with guests.

"Apple's Passbook helps keep everything organized for the mobile traveler," said Shayne Paddock, ZDirect chief information officer. "Passbook organizes gift cards, tickets, coupons, boarding passes, etc., into a digital file. By customizing this functionality for hotel confirmations, ZDirect is improving the overall guest experience and adding more value to our eCRM solution.

"ZDirect's mobile integration to Passbook does what paper can't: It alerts travelers to real-time changes in their reservations," Paddock said. "The hotel 'pass' actually pops up through the mobile lock screen to be accessed with just a touch as guests get close to the hotel. Directions to the property can also be added so finding the hotel is a breeze."

ZDirect attaches Passbook files to emails or creates a link to download the “pass” from a confirmation email or SMS text message. The look and feel of the hotel's "pass" can be customized for each hotel and configured for any PMS. Once the "pass" is stored on the mobile device, a data connection is not needed to retrieve it, so roaming charges are not assessed."

ZDirect’s integration to Passbook means no more printing of hotel confirmations which tend to get lost. To update their reservations, guests simply 'pull down' on their 'pass' to receive the latest reservation information. 

And Checkfront Inc., a cloud-based real-time Online Booking System Checkfront for tours, activities and hospitality, has also integrated with Apple Passbook.

Jason Morehouse, Co-Founder & CTO of Checkfront, said that the company's native mobile apps released in September for the iOS and Android became their most popular add-ons for their merchants. “Combined with our new mobile booking interface for customers, Passbook ties the two together. A customer can make a reservation and store a digital version in their smartphone. When they arrive at their destination the booking automatically pops-up on their phone, ready for check-in. From there, our merchants can instantly scan and validate the customer on-site, using no other hardware than a smartphone (and the Checkfront Mobile App).”

The Apple Passbook integration is available on Checkfront as an add-on and works in conjunction with the QR scanner on the Mobile Booking App. Both are available free to Checkfront customers.

“Mobile is a natural evolution to our business,” says Grant Jurgeneit, Co-Founder & CEO, “Our customers often need access to their data on the go, and their own customers more than ever are researching and creating bookings away from their desktop. We firmly believe in offering a complete mobile solution. Native apps for merchants, streamlined mobile reservations for consumers, and a unified experience via Apple Passbook. Not to discount our other achievements this year, but this is a great way to close off the year!”

Checkfront also integrates into popular products including Wordpress, Stripe, Xero, Joomla, and Mailchimp Paypal and includes automated updates, backups and industry leading security on a high-speed network. Checkfront offers a free 21 day trial. It operates on a Software-as-a-Service model and changes a subscription fee from $49 USD per month. It does not charge a transaction or commission fee on bookings.