IHG goes mobile

Travel News 27 Jul 2015

InterContinental Hotels Group recently announced in-house mobile and digital pilots, including mobile check-in and a hotel messaging system. But while the company is thinking up a lot of innovations, it’s being cautious about rolling them out. 

IHG is testing mobile check-in and check-out technology at a number of hotels in the Americas region, pairing it with Mobile Folio, which also would allow guests to view their hotel bills in real-time.

Ultimately, the goal is to make the tool available at all IHG hotels. The company did promise that United States-based IHG Rewards Club Elite members will get a crack at the technology first, an effort to encourage direct booking.

Another technology introduction by IHG is its mobile room key testing, which includes user experience, security and technology integration. IHG is developing the tech through in-house lab testing and some on-site testing.

IHG became an early adopter of mobile technology in 2011, when it launched iPhone booking apps for each of its seven brands. It even tested a tone-based mobile guestroom key in 2010 at a handful of Holiday Inns, but the program failed to get off the ground. In the time since, other major hotel companies like Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts have pushed ahead to offer mobile check-in, in-app messaging between hotel and guest, and mobile room keys.

Moving forward, IHG’s mobile and digital strategy is to look beyond booking to think horizontally about the guest experience pre-booking, during the stay and after the stay.

IHG also is doing trials on iBeacon, an in-hotel messaging app; Guest Request, a service that allows guests to place service requests through IHG’s app; and Translator App for Apple Watch, which offers translation assistance for 13 different languages. The iBeacon technology allows a property to push personalized information, such as restaurant specials and loyalty reward reminders, to a traveler’s mobile device based on his or her location in the hotel