In the 2011 fiscal year, Apple sold 72 million iPhones, and the numbers continue to grow each year as the brand’s smartphone technology improves. The popularity of the iPhone and iPad is not lost on hoteliers, and many have integrated the innovative products into their hotels to meet guest needs. But OPUS Vancouver has taken its iPhone love to a whole new level by installing the devices into every single guestroom on property.
The hotel, which installed in-room iPads in March, has teamed up with Travel Vu to create an iPhone with software specifically geared toward hotel guests. With the push of a button, guests can call any hotel department, surf the Internet, or use the device to make personal calls. The phones will be installed in all 96 rooms by the end of the month.
“Technology is always something that people gravitate toward. The technology curve is so steep, so trying to phase it into a hotel—that’s where the challenge is,” says Nicholas Gandossi, general manager of OPUS Vancouver. “The technology can’t be too complicated or cumbersome and it has to be functional and user-friendly. I think we’ve been able to achieve that.”
Guests of the OPUS Vancouver will be able to use the iPhones as their own personal devices for the length of their stay. The phones can be taken off property, so guests can receive and make calls from the hotel-room phone even if they are out on business or sightseeing in the city. The phones will also cut down on roaming charges for out-of-town guests, which Gandossi sees as a big value proposition for hotel visitors.
“Guests today are way more sophisticated and savvy,” he says. “They want to have an amazing experience, but they also want good value and ways to reduce their costs.”
Certain functionalities of the iPhones, such as using the camera or downloading apps, have been disabled on the property phones to maintain guest security. Currently OPUS Vancouver has software in place to wipe the phones clean of any Internet surfing history, call history, and personal data when guests check out of the property. Gandossi explains that OPUS is currently working with Travel Vu to develop the technology to wipe photos, videos, and apps from the phone as well, and expects the phones will be able to offer those functions in the near future without jeopardizing guests’ personal information.
And although Gandossi does hope that the buzz surrounding the in-room iPhones will eventually lead to more bookings and increased revenue for the hotel, he explains that the investment in the iPhone technology is really meant to give guests another familiar amenity to use while staying at the property.
“At the end of the day, it’s a business. We’re trying to grow the brand and give guests more reasons to choose us over other major corporate hotels or hotels specifically in Vancouver,” he says. “But this technology gives guests options and the comfort of what they are typically using in their home environments. It’s all about having that easy transition and the technology that they’ve become accustomed to at their fingertips.”