First iPads and now iPhones: Vancouver's Opus Hotel is boldly going where no hotel has gone before, as the boutique hotel in Vancouver's Yaletown district plans to replace all of their oh-so-quaint traditional landline phones with iPhones.
Working with TravelVu,
Opus Vancouver created a solution that now involves both iPads and iPhones. Guests will be able to explore local experiences on the iPad, and then grab the iPhone when they hit the streets.
They can then use the iPhone to avoid onerous roaming charges when traveling, in addition to taking advantage of the WiFi for booking activities, getting directions, finding restaurants, posting pictures and more.
This is going to be quite the perk to international travelers reluctant to take advantage of their device's data capabilities due to the enormous cost involved. Even securing a SIM card and switching it out can be quite a pain, so travelers from across the border are certainly going to appreciate this new amenity.
Key hotel services will be loaded into the phone, so a guest could, for example, call room service using the preloaded number to order dinner prior to arriving back at their room. Other hotel contacts include the concierge as well as housekeeping.
Apparently, the experiment has been successful.
Amy Ballard, director of sales and marketing for Opus Vancouver, says the property plans to put the phones in all 96 rooms by the end of the month.
She also pointed out that they have not replaced
the landlines; rather, they have enhanced the guest experience with the addition of the iPhone. At some point, they hope to remove the standard phone in all rooms.
Disappointing, but nonetheless interesting to see a hotel make such a commitment to offering their guests technology that fits into the off-property guest experience. This is also something that could increase the property's ancillary revenues with phone calls, concierge services, and other commissioned apps that could be pre-loaded on the phone for guests.
In addition, the potential for sustained connection with a guest throughout their stay means that the hotel can build some serious goodwill as a resource and reliable friend throughout a guest's stay.
More from Opus Vancouver:
How have guests been responding so far to your test of this concept?
We have received excellent feedback from our guests. Most have enjoyed the ability to receive calls off property, the ease of using the map function while exploring and surfing the internet, all free of charge. They are shutting off their own phones to avoid international roaming charges and opting to use our phones instead.
What apps will be pre-loaded on the phone, if any? What other features will be controlled by the in-room phone, and what can guests do with it outside of the room?
We are in the final stage of determining what apps will be installed on the iPhones. We have iPads already in all of our rooms and on these we have installed games, music, city guide apps and more. For example, we have a street cart app- showing you where all of the street carts are located and which is nearest to your current location. We put ourselves in the shoes of our guests and work to create a tool with which they can easily explore a new city and have the insider’s scoop to the best of Vancouver. We want the experience to be as close to using an iPhone as possible.
What about theft or guests forgetting to leave the phone when they check-out?
Each device is equipped with tracking software and GPS and we can remotely shut the phone down should it become lost or stolen. Our iPads have been in our guest rooms for 4 months without a single incident. If a guest loses the iPhone, we will likely be able to track it down within minutes.
With technology increasingly becoming a key differentiator among hotel brands, how is Opus positioning itself with this latest development? What is your expected return on this investment?
We endeavour to offer our guests a residential ambiance in a stylish space. We know our guests use iPhones and iPads at home, so we want them to arrive at OPUS Vancouver and feel that they haven’t had to leave their gadgets behind due to outrageous International roaming charges. We were the first hotel in Canada to offer iPads in every room and now we are the first hotel in the world to offer an iPhone in every room. Our return will be measured by the continued loyalty of our forward-thinking guests.
How do customized iPhones in every room enhance the Opus brand, and how are you planning on using these phones as part of your marketing messaging? We have always promised our guests that we will remain Uniquely Stylish & Always Fresh and offering iPads and iPhones delivers on this promise. Our marketing message is this: Talk to us - interact with our brand and each other and we will create an experience personalized to you. Now that our guests have iPhones and iPads in hand we are encouraging them to use the technology to stay connected and interact with us during their stay and beyond.