Friday, 3 October 2014

Building Last Seconds Hotels

You've heard of last minute hotels. Well last minute is so last year! We're building systems/software and apps that can enable you to book, check-in, and open your room door in seconds. Why? Well because its more secure, more convenient, more efficient, cheaper and better for everyone.

Last week at the Essen Security Tradeshow in Germany we demonstrated what we've built so far, and what we've installed in hotels, Beds and Breakfast accomodation and resorts in Australia - see http://www.smartphonecheckin.com/ for video's, demo's. 

Demonstrating our products at the Essen Security Tradeshow, Germany.


Here is what we've built so far;

Hotel Property Management System(PMS)/Hotel Booking engine interface modules

1.1 Generate Code button module- we've added a button to the Hotel PMS software, (so no need for manager/hotel staff to log into any separate software), and using this button hotel staff can do the following;
-randomly select a room number (with the room type provided by the guest on the Hotel Booking website or at the OTA).
-generate a time-sensitive code(TS code) for the randomly selected room number only for the check-in times of 2pm – check-out at 10am (or hotel selected times).
- A SMS message is sent to the guest with the TS-code.
·    The TS code is automatically dropped into the PMS alongside the guests contact details inside the PMS – if a guest loses their code it is stored inside the PMS, and can easily be retrieved by hotel staff
·    This module works with common doors

USE THIS MODULE FOR; Hotel staff can check a guest in (remotely or on site) and get them their ‘digital key’ by hitting one button inside a PMS (no new software to learn/install)

1.2 PMS Auto self-check-in module - this module is added to the PMS software, so that when a booking is made on the hotels booking engine/website, there is no need for staff interaction, ie don’t have to use Module 1.1 Generate Code Button.
This module does the following;
·        -guest receives an automatic email sent to them within 3 minutes after making their booking/payment on the hotel website that includes; room number; TS code; map of hotel and surrounding region (link to Google maps)plan of hotel; instructions on how to locate their room (so guest can go straight to their room). NOTE; Hotel must provide plan of hotel/and/or instructions.
·        - The guest also receives a SMS containing the room number and the TS code.
·        - This module works with common doors (i.e the TS-code will also open a front door of a hotel)

USE THIS MODULE FOR; complete automation of check-in desk -  no human interaction required for checking a guest into a hotel room (and getting their their ‘digital key’ to their room and going straight to their room). 

Channel Manager Interface Modules

2.1 CM Auto self check-in module – performs all the same functions as in the PMS Auto self check-in module (this will be sent in addition to the Online Travel Agency confirmation email)

2.2 CM Auto self check-in Fail-safe module – this module features many functions that ensure the guest always receives their TS-code/room number in the email and Text message. An OTA may not always capture all the correct details that the guest has entered. For example an OTA may only require a landline number or no number to confirm booking(our system requires a mobile number so a SMS can be sent with room number and TS code to guest). A guest may sometimes enter an incorrect email address. Emails and SMS’s may bounce from time to time (e.g close/change email/telephone accounts). This module features include;
·         If there is a known error with the phone number entered in the OTA (e.g. not long enough or a land-line number), then then the owner of the property will receive an email notification asking them to check the details in the PMS and to update the mobile number(staff can then send an email to the guest requesting a correct mobile phone number, or try to get in touch with the OTA for more information.
·         A script runs automatically every few minutes to check the PMS to see if there has been a change to the original booking (e.g cancellation or date changes). If there has been a change the manager receives an email to notify them of the change. The staff can then generate an override code if the code has already been generated.
·         A script runs to check with the SMS service provider to see if the SMS has failed to reach guest. If it has failed, the manager receives an email informing them of this. The Manager can then attempt to get in touch with the guest to ensure they've received their TS-Code.
·         Manager notified if the email has not been sent to the guest with all the details (e.g if email was entered incorrectly/bounced)

2.3 International mobile phone number text notification module – this module enables international mobile phone numbers to be sent a SMS with room number and TS code after a booking is made at the Online Travel Agency (e.g booking.com, expedia.com)

USE THESE MODULES FOR; Allowing a guest to self check-in at an Online Travel Agency just like they do now(everytime) with little or no hotel staff required.

3.0 Paypal Integration Module–Paypal integration built so that guests are able to choose the Credit card details forms provided by the booking engine/PMS or they can choose to use PayPal instead to finalise their booking.

USE THIS MODULE FOR; allowing guests to book and self check-in with their paypal accounts/paypal payment system (some guests are more comfortable paying by Paypal, especially for smaller accommodation establishments.

4.0 Verification System Module – This module can be added to the Hotel booking website, so that a guest can be asked in the process of making the booking, to attach a photo image of their ID (e.g drivers licence/passport) to the booking details which then can be emailed to the hotel manager/staff. Alternatively a field entry can be added to ask for a valid Drivers Licence number/Passport number.

The ID image appears in a form via a link in an automatic email sent to hotel staff. The hotel staff clicks on the link in the email, and it opens the image of the ID on one side of the screen, and on the other side of the screen it  displays against the guests details so the hotel can see if the name on the booking lines up with the uploaded ID before choosing to approve guests stay by hitting an approve button in the form.

USE THIS MODULE FOR;
-if you have a hotel in a country that requires by law that you record the ID/Passport of the guest to ensure the guest is over a legal age to make a booking.
-Vetting guests remotely or onsite.

5.0 Hotel Manager email approval module – this module enables the Hotel Manager/hotel staff to receive an email every time a booking is made at an OTA or on the hotel booking website. Inside this email is a link. When the hotel manager clicks on the link, the auto-self check-in email (as described in Module 1.2) will be sent to the guest.

USE THIS MODULE FOR;
-The Manager can still control who he approves (not automatic) and do this remotely or on site.
-Controlling time of self check-in. The Manager can control when the information email goes out to the guest (e.g the Manager can choose to have the email resent to him on the day of the booking (say at 10am using reminder button in email program), and he can simply go through all the emails at 10am for the guests checking in on that day and approve them all at once (handy for holding onto room allocation until the day of check-in)

Room extension modules

6.1 Staff room extension module
Staff can log into web-based software, (with their username and password) and choose the room number the guest is currently in from a drop down menu, and then choose from a pop-up calendar the extended date the guest wishes to stay until, and then hit a generate new room extension code button. If that room is unavailable to extend (i.e it has already been booked by another guest) then an error message will appear, and the extension will not be able to be made. The PMS also automatically updates the details in real-time (i.e when the extension is completed.

6.2 Guest self-room extension module – a guest can log into web based software with a randomly assigned username and password (sent to them on booking confirmation) and they can choose the room number they are currently in from a drop down menu and make a payment and get a new code for that room. If the room they are currently in is already booked, they will receive an error message saying that the room cannot be extended.

USE THIS MODULE FOR;
Guests wanting to extend their stay in the same room, and getting a new digital key to ensure they can open their room door for the selected extended stay date.
Use Module 6.2 if you want your hotel to self manage itself (no or little onsite or offsite management) but also give the guest the opportunity to extend their current room if available.

6.3 LEAPIN web based code management software
The hotel staff can receive a username and password and log into the code management software and select check-in times and dates from a calendar and then hit a ‘generate’ button which generates the TS-Code for the selected date and times.

USE THIS MODULE FOR;
Generating time-sensitive PIN codes independent of Property Management Systems/other systems (e.g if hotels or anyone wants to operate the TS code system like they do now for keycard systems. 

SMARTPHONE APPS
Android OS Self Check-in Smartphone app with TS PIN – works on any Android OS
The app can be downloaded from a link on the hotel website and used by a guest to self check-in
The app can be emailed to a guest (e.g a loyalty club member)

This app enables a guest to;
1.       view images, read descriptions, find contact information etc of the hotel.
2.       It allows the guest to view availability of rooms and room rates and to make a booking and credit card payment.
3.       The app then instantly generates a TS code which is then stored inside the app along with the booking details (guests can go straight to their room and open their room doors with their TS code – by punching it into a keypad.
4.       Upload ID in an image attachment like verification system in 4.0(optional)

Android OS Self check-in smartphone app with smartphone lock opening (NFC) – works with P2P Android Beam which features in Android OS smartphones 4.0 and above (90% of Android smartphones)
This app enables all of the features/functions as outlined in Module 1 above.

      This app also enables the TS code to be downloaded (but hidden – optional) and then the guest can use a button inside the app to send the TS code to a corresponding NFC enabled smartlock to unlock the door.


Android OS Create Keycard/NFC token app
      This app can be used by hotel staff to check-in a guest at the front desk of the hotel (in the traditional way) or in the same way that the guest can do as above in Smartphone module app 1. Once the TS-code has been downloaded the hotel staff can use a button inside the app to send the TS-code to a NFC keycard, or a NFC sticker/token, and then give the keycard to the guest who can open their room doors for the length of their stay (with a corresponding NFC enabled smartlock – the NFC keycard/token sends the TS-code to the smartlock to open the door. This operates like a current RFID or mag-stripe keycard system, but without the need for any other infrastructure.

Android OS send code to open lock app
This app can be used by guests or hotel staff to simply enter the TS code into a field box, and then hit a button to send that code to the lock (via Android Beam) to open the lock (with NFC enabled smartlocks).

USE THIS APP FOR;
       Hotels that wish to not have a keypad on the locks. Hotels that would like to operate the system independent of PMS/Channel Manager. Hotels that would like to interface NFC door lock opening with other hotel functions such as Restaurant ordering/information booklets etc. 

   If you would like to learn more about our systems please contact steve@digitalkeys.co

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