In unrelated experiments, hotel giant Marriott International, low-cost airline EasyJet, and selected airports worldwide have all begun tests to electronically track customers as they move about, via signals from their mobile devices.
The goal is to send push notifications to travelers, via their mobile devices, that are relevant to a traveler's geographic context, such as a discount on food.
The traveler's position at a hotel or airport can be derived from signals Apple iBeacon. The new technology enables an iOS device to alert apps when a user approaches or leaves a location with an iBeacon.
Industry group SITA has been deploying the beacon technology at 10 airports this year, with American Airlines as a partner at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
On July 24, Marriott will update its mobile app, called Marriott Mobile Guest Services with a new service named LocalPerks that takes advantage of iBeacon functionality.
Customers who are members of the Marriott Rewards loyalty program can receive offers on their devices at participating hotels in North America: the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina followed by the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront and Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa.
Discounts on meals, spa treatments, or valet parking will be offered only at the property during the trial, but the company would like to add notifications about offers in the local area around the property.
Travelers have to have enabled their Apple devices to work with the iBeacons, such as by turning on their device's Bluetooth functionality.
European low-cost carrier EasyJet has begun sending push notifications to passengers when to take out their boarding passes by detecting how close they are to gates, via iBeacon. It's new functionality for users of the EasyJet app, and it's available this summer at selected airports: Luton, Gatwick, and Charles de Gaulle.
It's the first airline to try the technology in Europe.
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