The Plaza in New York Offers iPads in all Guest Rooms and Suites (with Video)
The Plaza is offering iPads in each of its guest rooms and suites. The program, which launched in January, makes the landmark hotel on Central Park South the first hotel in the world to provide guests services and room controls using iPads and Intelity's ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) software to all of its guests.
The Plaza's iPads feature a multimedia video welcome and provide guests easy, touch screen access to control their entire hotel experience. At the touch of a screen, guests are able to order room service, make restaurant reservations, communicate directly with the concierge, request wake-up calls, explore NYC destination guides, and even check airline schedules and print boarding passes (which are promptly delivered to their room). Guests can even use the iPad to control the lights in their room as well as the heat and air conditioning systems.
"Before in the guest rooms, we had another digital panel that controlled the lights, the temperature and some guest services," Shane Krige, general manager of The Plaza explained to Luxist. "But it wasn't sophisticated enough for what we wanted to do. So we teamed up with Intelity to devise the software for the program."
"We chose the iPad because it is a great piece of equipment that is here to stay and won't disappear tomorrow," adds Krige. "It brings another five star element to the hotel."
The iPads will not replace the human element at The Plaza.
"They are not meant to replace our concierge service and the personal touch we are known for," Krige says. "It is to provide more choice. At a five star hotel you should have choices---if you want to use the iPad, you can do so. If you want a butler service, that is available, too. If you want to be left alone, that is a choice, as well. By putting the iPads in the guest rooms, we are bringing a new technology to everyone's fingertips."
In addition to providing a service to guests, the system helps the hotel track how it responds to requests made by guests, such as how long it takes to deliver a requested toothbrush. "If you order a pair of slippers, the request will go directly to the slipper department with no intermediary," says Krige. "The requests go directly to the end producer, so that they can be very efficient.
The iPads will also help the hotel move away from the guest directory that is found in each room. "It will help us reduce our printing costs and make us a greener company," says Krige.
The devices are pre-loaded with both leisure and business friendly applications, and guests are able to use the iPads to browse the Web. The Plaza first started offering iPads for guests to use while dining in The Palm Court. Hotel managers quickly realized the popularity of the devices with guests, and decided to extend the program beyond the restaurant, into the guest room.
The Plaza will also offer ICE Mobile, allowing guests to download the hotel's Virtual Concierge Application on iTunes, with versions for iPhone, Blackberry and Android. Ideal for guests on the run or future guests who want to get a head start on trip plans, the application will offer the full array of services offered in-rooms on guests' mobile phones, whether it be setting up a wake-up call, pre-ordering room service, making a spa appointment or simply requesting an extra towel.
Guests booking a block of rooms at the hotel can even have a customized welcome message for their guests, that includes an itinerary of events.
In December, The St. Regis in New York launched its E-Butler application, allowing guests to interact with the luxury hotel's butler and concierge, as well as peruse exclusive content created for the application. Guests access the app by downloading it via their personal iPhone or iPad devices.