Ariane Systems, the world leader in self-service check-in/out technology for the hospitality industry, available in South Africa through exclusive reseller, Nu Menu Solutions, will launch its web check-in service this month (June) at the first of five Signature Lux hotels scheduled to be opened in South Africa over the next 18 months.
The new 218-room Signature Lux hotel, which will open in Sandton in Nelson Mandela Square in June, is the first of its kind in Africa and centrally located for corporate and leisure travel as well as groups and convention business. Paul Kelley, Managing Director of Signature Lux Hotels, says it is exciting to see the focus of hotel management software switching from managing rooms and reservations to enabling real-time digital guest services in hotels. “With the new generations of travellers and the constantly evolving online distribution marketplace, it is the capability of hotels to provide modern services that will help them remain competitive. If we can, to a large extent, eliminate the clerical part of the job for front office staff and leave more opportunity for human interactions, not only can we increase the accuracy of routine operations and reduce costs but we can improve the overall guest experience as well.”
For guests at the Sandton Signature Lux, Ariane helps to alleviate wait time in the lobby by streamlining the arrival process. Gary Ernstzen, managing director of Nu Menu Solutions, says the solution prompts eligible guests to check-in online the day prior to their booked stay either online through the website or via the iRiS App. They will receive an automated email from which they can review or change reservation details, add additional conveniences such as parking passes and pay online. All online payments are processed through Iveri, a highly-secure platform that meets international PCI standards.
The confirmation email will provide detailed instructions on how to retrieve their room key from the on-site Duo 6020 self-service kiosk. This can be done by entering a four-digit code or scanning a QR code at the key dispenser. The QR code, which is displayed in Apple’s PassBook, is new to Ariane’s check-in process – making Signature Lux one of the first clients in South Africa to benefit from the technology. “Providing self service definitely does not mean a lack of service. On the contrary it contributes to our guests comfort and improves their experience,” says Kelley. Kelley says another great feature for regular customers is the opportunity to bypass the self-service check-in kiosk completely. “If a guest has stayed at the hotel once we will have captured their details on our inhouse reservation system, Micros Opera Cloud, which ensures that all sensitive guest information is protected in the Cloud. This effectively means we can forward them their room number as well as mobile guest key en route to the hotel and allow them to completely bypass the kiosk,” says Kelley.
”Ariane is on the cutting-edge of innovation and prides itself in delivering a solution that is simple for guests to use,” says Ernstzen. “By adding a PassBook/Wallet feature, we have made online check-in accessible to over 700 million iPhone users – many of whom already use the digital wallet on a regular basis.”
Ernstzen says automation is a key consideration for any hotelier and these self-service and mobile-based services contribute to a hotel ecosystem that is autonomous, automatic and efficient.
The experience extends from the check-in to the room experience. At Signature Lux guests can utilise the hotel App, powered by iRiS, which replaces the traditional in-room guest information book. “There are no hard-wired telephones in our rooms. Using any smart device our guests can call room service, check on other services and even select a meal of their choice,” says Kelley.
Kelley says not only does the guest benefit, but the application allows hoteliers to understand the guest better and provide additional value-added options based on that guest’s specific requirements and needs. “This information is all stored in our hotels PMS and is available the next time the same guest visits the property which caters to the service personalisation,” he concludes.
Four additional Signature Lux hotels are scheduled to open within the next 18 months in Cape Town V&A; Woodmead and Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, and Umhlanga in KwaZulu Natal.