Hospitality group Accor has announced its first “fully digital hotel.”
Ibis Styles London Gloucester Road is the first Accor hotel in Northern Europe to provide a fully digital experience with contactless solutions at each step of the guests’ stay.
Accor says the hotel will “provide an experience that is quick, safe and easy, with contactless solutions that rethink the guest journey from arrival to departure.”
The “digital eco-system,” it says, will include features such as online and mobile check in, in hotel payment, the ‘Accor Key’ – a digital key solution, digital F&B services and guest relations via Whatsapp throughout the stay.
The innovative experience at the London hotel is the first step in a roll-out plan which will impact “at least 50% of hotels” across all brand segments in North & Central America in the next five years, Accor says.
“We know that guests increasingly seek contact-light travel and hotel experience that is easy to use, and we want to ensure they can do just that,” says Carla Milovanov, SVP Customer Technology Services at Accor. “This is not about robots or faceless technology, this is about the smart integration of innovative, customer-facing technology at pace and at scale. Technology is part of our daily lives and is now fully part of our hotel experience – and with this important step, we give our guests the opportunity to adapt their hotel stay according to their preferences.”
How it works
Check-in will be made easier for the guest with a full tailor-made contactless online check-in experience.
Any guest, including those with indirect bookings, can choose to self check-in from their smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Accor has also extended its existing Fast Check-Out (FCO) functionality to all guests, allowing them to check-out via their smartphone and a PDF invoice will be sent to their email.
Accor’s proprietary mobile technology, FOLS, enables hotel teams to greet guests with ease, removing the need for check-in desks and enabling employees to interact with guests directly.
The introduction of FOLS Mobile gave the hotel teams the freedom to engage personally with guests whilst using their mobile operating system to manage their day-to-day tasks.
Since the launch of this technology in 2018, “guest satisfaction and employee engagement at hotels has increased,” Accor says, reflecting a long-held belief that business is best when it uses technology to “empower staff, not to replace them.”
Ibis Styles London Gloucester Road will have digital keys where guests can open their room door via smartphone making access quick, safe and easy.
Each guest will be provided with an ‘Accor Key’ that will allow room access, entry to meeting rooms and floor access from lifts. The hotel led the UK in a global pilot scheme for this technology.
Accor has also announced the global roll-out of “Accor Key” and an objective to equip 20,000 doors in 2021 and all new hotel openings from this summer.
“This development shows the group’s ambition to innovate and invest in high-quality technological solutions to deliver the very best and most convenient experience for its guests,” Accor says.
Hotel guests will be able to make online payments for their stay through a quick and secure payment experience by Pay By Link.
Guests only need to sign in once and they can then pay for expenses throughout their stay.
Accor's Click Pay Collect technology also enables guests to order food and drink from the hotel's digital menu using just their phones.
Fully integrated with Accor's hotel systems, expenses can either be paid up front or charged to the room and paid on check-out.
Accor will also integrate Whatsapp into the in-hotel customer journey, enabling guests to liaise directly with hotel teams before and during their stay, making pre-arrival requests and helping to facilitate their needs during the stay.
“Technology is an intrinsically important part of our business, but only where it enhances the ability of hotel teams to provide great service and create memorable experiences, which, at the end of the day, is what really matters,” says Luc Gesvret, SVP Loyalty, Partnership & Guest Relations at Accor Northern Europe. “Our everyday lived are augmented by technology and today that continues in our hotels. We want to enable guests to get what they want in our hotels in the way that most conveniently fits with their everyday behaviour.”
The hotel, which will reopen following the end of U.K. lockdown restrictions, is located 200 yards from Gloucester Road Underground Station, 550 yards from both the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, and Harrods is a 20-minute walk away.
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