Silicon Collar looks at machines and humans at work in over 50 settings across industries and countries. On this blog I will excerpt many of those settings over the next few weeks. On Deal Architect I will excerpt more of the policy parts of the book.
“Let’s head a little bit due south, next to all the venture capitalists in Menlo Park. There, Avi Haksar is the managing director of the lush, expensive 16 acres of real estate that constitute the Rosewood Sand Hill resort. After studying at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, Haksar has spent a long career in high-end hospitality, including the Four Seasons and other Rosewood hotels around the world.”
“In the old days, hospitality meant human interaction in the form of meeting and greeting at the check-in counter. Today, the guests are not standing at the front desk wasting time. Or think of the booking process in the past. You would call the hotel. There would be a person on the other end of the phone who would talk to you, explain the product and all the amenities. Today, our guests don't have to make time for that phone call when they can book via the web. In some hotels the check-in process is completely automated—via your mobile phone or by kiosk.
In the luxury hospitality segment we are still striving for that conversation with the guest. We are moving to handheld devices—we call them ‘rovers’—where we can check them in while we walk them to their bungalow. The personal interaction continues but it is much more efficient for the guest.”
“While Haksar wants to keep the "high-touch" service at his hotel, within a few miles there are visible signs of the technology that hospitality workers are adjusting to at the mid-priced business hotels he mentioned.
For example, the Hyatt Regency, near the San Francisco airport, has at its car rental counter a NCR-developed Hertz ExpressRent kiosk. It enables video-chat access to a live agent for after-hours transactions and for assistance in multiple languages. The kiosk can also scan your driver's license and print your contract. The hotel has cards with QR codes you can scan with your mobile phone to show nearby jogging trails. No need to bother the concierge for that piece of information. One of those trails runs parallel to the airport's Runway 28L, and you can try and keep up with the constant traffic of Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s.”
A Marriott hotel, on that jogging trail, has large displays which show live traffic information on nearby roads, including the perennially busy Highway 10. The hotel has a lounge with a self-serve espresso machine and automated wine dispenser. You can check in to your room a day in advance with the chain's mobile app, and when you show up pick up your key card.
The Starwood Aloft hotel, near Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, has robotic butlers. When a guest needs extra towels, a "Botlr" delivers them. Sensors and wireless connectivity allows it to communicate with the hotel and the elevator software, enabling it to navigate the hotel without running into people or objects. “
Photo Credit: Rosewood