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Is Technology Getting in the Way of Service?

Posted by lucy fitri on November 5, 2014 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

November, 5 2014, Cornell Center For Hospitality Research

As the hotel industry ramps up its use of technology for guest service, a nagging question involves whether technology improves guest satisfaction, or whether technology gets in the way.

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As the hotel industry ramps up its use of technology for guest service, a nagging question involves whether technology improves guest satisfaction, or whether technology gets in the way. A new study from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) demonstrates how to combine technology with personal service to maintain guest satisfaction. The study, “Cyborg Service: The Unexpected Effect of Technology in the Employee–Guest Exchange,” by Michael Giebelhausen, is available at no charge from the CHR.

“My colleagues and I have conducted several studies intended to find when guests like interacting with technology, and when technology leaves hotel guests dissatisfied,” explained Giebelhausen, an assistant professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. “What we found is that technology can really improve the service experience, but guests don’t want to have their attention divided between technology and a frontline agent.”

 The report bases its findings on recent research conducted by Giebelhausen and colleagues, as well as two new experimental studies. “In one experiment, guests used a Monscierge Connect Lobby touchscreen that was located at a slight distance from a bell stand. This allowed enough distance between the two to create a ‘social space.’ The bell person was still nearby but the guest didn’t feel so awkward about not interacting.”

 The other study showed, though, that when guests had to divide their attention between a piece of technology and the frontline agent, satisfaction with the technology decreased. “One thing I’ve noticed is that guests don’t like it when technology comes between them and a frontline agent who has been interacting with them. The idea is that people feel awkward when technology prevents them from responding to an agent’s greeting, or if they feel that using the technology is making them appear rude to the agent.” The lesson here, says Giebelhausen, “is to make sure the guest, the employee, and the technology work together appropriately.

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Egypt hotel goes alcohol-free, creates women-only floor

Posted by Heru Nusantara on May 3, 2013 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)
Hotel at second largest Red Sea city takes a drier approach to tourism

By Qin Xie, for CNN Travel 2 May, 2013

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Locals flock to a public beach in Hughada in this 2010 file photo. The Red Sea city is a popular destination for local and domestic tourists.

Egypt's first 'dry' hotel has been unveiled in the popular Red Sea city of Hurghada, according to news site Al Bawaba.

Les Rois, a 183-room three-star hotel, has been voluntarily alcohol-free since Saturday when it held an official ceremony that involved pouring alcohol away and smashing bottles. A video posted on YouTube shows the event.

Earlier this year, the Egyptian government announced plans to curb alcohol licenses in parts of the country.

Hurghada, about 400 kilometers southeast of Cairo, is the second largest city on the Red Sea coast and is very popular with tourists.

In the wake of the proposed licensing restrictions, some tour operators have expressed concern a ban would negatively impact tourism in Egypt.

International tourism has long been a mainstay of the Egyptian economy, with United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) figures showing it generated $10.1 billion in 2012. Though UNWTO data showed a 17% increase in tourism arrivals to 11.2 million in 2012, the sector has been struggling to prove the country is still safe to visit in the wake of the 2011 revolution.

The Luxor balloon flight accident in February did not help tourism efforts.

More on CNN: Luxor balloon flights resume

Les Rois' management hopes the hotel's new alcohol-free status will draw international visitors that are more in keeping with Egypt's Islamic values. 

"The idea of launching a hotel without alcohol is not to adhere to any particular movement but rather to provide a new kind of tourism," Yasser Kamal, the owner of the hotel, told MENA (Middle Eastern New Agency).

Kamal added the hotel remains open to all visitors regardless of their religious affinity.

The hotel's website hasn't been updated to reflect the change, saying it still boasts two bars and an English pub.

In addition to the alcohol ban, the hotel has also designated the entire top floor, including a swimming pool, as a female-only area.

The top floor will be patrolled by female security officers.

The hotel has not responded to requests for additional comment.

Les Rois, El Hadaba El Shamaleya Road, Hurghada 84111, Egypt 

The evolution of airport hotels: From staid to stylish

Posted by Heru Nusantara on March 24, 2013 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (1)

By Jimmy Im

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Hilton Frankfurt Airport, connected to terminal one via skywalk,has a six-storey atrium lobby with panoramic glass elevators.

BBC - The reputation of airport hotels speaks for itself. Most people would agree that they're staid, soulless and lacking personality with little imagination to interior design and restaurant menus. There's usually more concrete than charm, beds are often uncomfortable, and let's not get started on that view of… a parking lot.

But with more travellers taking to the skies than ever before, airport hotels have started wooing fliers by throwing decades-old expectations out the window. Older hotels have gone through redefining facelifts while newer hotels come equipped with first-class gyms and spas, spacious workstations and swimming pools. In fact, airport hotels, which are generally cheaper than their city-centre counterparts, have been experiencing a major style evolution.

Hilton Hotels and Resorts pioneered the concept of airport hotels in 1959 at San Francisco International Airport. Since then, the brand has continued to reconceptualise the airport hotel model, infusing comfort and functionality with sleek design. The latest example is Hilton Frankfurt Airport, opened in December 2011 in the futuristic Squaire complex and connected via skywalk to the airport’s terminal one. The 249-room hotel, only 15 minutes from downtown, has a six-storey atrium lobby with panoramic glass elevators; its Fifth, Lounge and Bar is socially buzzing; the spa comes with a 24-hour fitness centre, steam room and sauna; and the business centre operates 24/7 with 10 meeting rooms. And you can leave your earplugs at home – the hotel is equipped with soundproof windows.

Hilton has continued breaking new ground with a 433-room hotel at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, designed by the prominent Dutch architects Mecanoo. The new building will replace the current Hilton property and is scheduled to open in 2015 with 23 meeting rooms, a restaurant and bar, a spa and fitness centre and an atrium lobby.

“New airport hotels have become destinations much like an urban downtown hotel or resort property by focusing on forward-thinking design, leisure amenities and outstanding culinary and beverage offerings,” said  Rob Palleschi, global head at Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

Perhaps the most groundbreaking airport hotel concept to recently make waves is Starwood Hotels and Resorts' Aloft brand. This "style-at-a-steal" concept launched its first hotel in Montreal in June 2008 and, due to its success, 11 others have popped up near airports around the world, from San Antonio, Texas to Bogota, Colombia. Repeat guests have become accustomed to Aloft’s signature amenities such as re:fuel, a 24-hour deli; re:mix, a social lounge; and w xyz; a cocktail bar. The brand also offers Arf, a dog-friendly programme, and Splash, an indoor or outdoor pool depending on the location. While the demographic skews toward younger travellers on a budget – rooms cost around $120 a night, depending on the location – business travellers consider it a convenient option thanks to the excellent amenities.

Quebec’s Groupe Germain Hospitalite, known for their boutique properties throughout Canada, opened their first airport hotel in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in July 2012. The 153-room modern lodging, connected to the airport via the regular LINK train, offers extra comfort amenities such as 100% Egyptian cotton and goose down bedding and work stations with ergonomic chairs. They’ve ditched a full-service restaurant for a self-serve commissary, and minimise superfluous services to keep prices down. And in another win for travellers, the nightly rate of 149 Canadian dollars is the same every day of the year.


Daytime hotel stays become respectable

Posted by Heru Nusantara on March 1, 2013 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)

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Business travellers are seeking respite for a few afternoon hours pre-meeting or post flight, and hotels are responding.(David H Lewis/Getty)

Hotels that rent rooms during the day were once considered the domain of red light district properties for illicit rendezvous. But now you’re just as likely to find an executive traveller checking in during these hours to freshen up before a meeting or relax after a long-haul flight and then leave.

Although airport hotels have offered this service for transiting passengers for more than a decade, it is only in the last few years that city hotels have jumped on the idea, hoping to maximise the use of rooms that would otherwise be sitting empty. Guests will usually be asked to leave before 6 pm or 7 pm so the rooms can be readied for overnight visitors, and the hotel will not normally offer an hourly rate, just a fixed price for the day.

“This gives executives a room to have a sleep, refresh, use the leisure facilities and catch up with some work in peace,” said Sophie Simpson, director of sales at De Vere Dunston Hall, a hotel in Norwich in the UK. “We provided this service in the last few years due to requests from travellers coming in on early flights or travelling overnight.”

However, despite this service being available from global chains such as Holiday Inn, Ibis, Novotel, Hilton and Sheraton, most hotels – including airport hotels – don’t promote the service on their websites. The best way to find out is to call ahead, ask if a day check in is possible and how early/late you can check in/check out.

To find out more, there are a few additional resources you can turn to. The most significant is the Belgium-based website Between9and5. Despite the name, you can book stays between 8 am and 7 pm in two to five star hotels around the world. It is partnered with many global hotel brands including Radisson, Hyatt, Best Western and Marriott, and rates are dependent on how busy the hotel is and what time rooms are needed for overnight guests. The site claims to offer up to 70% off the lowest overnight prices in some cases.

France-based website Dayuse-hotels has similar day rates at 400 hotels across nine countries from Italy to the US, and is growing. Rooms can be as low as £79 for the day in central London or $100 in Manhattan. The site suggests using the room to store luggage, as a second office or even – as the concept originally began – for lovers seeking discreet encounters.


Amsterdam hotel proud to be the world?s worst

Posted by Heru Nusantara on March 1, 2013 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

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Advertisements for the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam.

While another hotel might brag about its comfortable beds, spectacular views and excellent customer service, the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam promises a lift that rarely breaks down, a door that locks and comfort comparable to a minimum security prison.

Proclaiming itself as “The Worst Hotel in the World”, the Hans Brinker goes so far as to recommend a list of nicer places to stay in the Dutch capital, including the Hotel de L’Europe, Hotel Krasnapolsky and the Intercontinental Hotel — all luxury spots with the finest amenities. In fact, of the hotel’s 16 recommendations, the Hans Brinker clocks in at 15, just below an abandoned mine shaft and just above an unmarked grave.

The amenities are stark; the hostel-style rooms sleep up to eight in metal bunk beds with blue metal lockers to store valuables, and the ensuite bathrooms offer little more than simple white tile decor, no free shampoo or soap in sight.

Still, with beds available for only 22.50 to 53.50 euros per person per night (with private twin or three bed rooms available for the higher price), the 127-room hotel near the Keizersgracht tram stop manages to remain almost fully booked most of the year with students and backpackers looking for no-fuss accommodation within walking distance of the red light district and many of the city’s museums.

Those that take the plunge report back with mixed reviews, with the hotel ranking at 59th out of 130 similar lodgings in Amsterdam on the user review site TripAdvisor. “You get what you pay for,” said one reviewer. “It wins by its proximity. I was pretty happy we didn’t stay at the hotel all the time though.” Other reviewers found the hotel’s self-description on point “The rooms were like prison cells, with rickety old beds and metal lockers that didn’t close properly. Walking down the hallways was like walking through an abandoned old hospital… this is quite simply the worst hotel on Earth.”

As the Hans Brinker suggests (at number 11 on its list), a sleeping bag on the side of the motorway might be a better option.



Liburan di Hotel Penjara Het Arresthuis

Posted by Heru Nusantara on February 28, 2013 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)

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TEMPO.CO, Amsterdam-Het Arresthuis sempat menjadi tempat paling menyeramkan di Belanda. Tiap orang yang masuk ke sana, pasti ingin segera keluar. Berdiri pada 1862, bangunan ini langsung membangun reputasi sebagai penjara yang sangat menakutkan.

Tapi itu 150 tahun silam. Kini, setelah penutupan penjara dan renovasi, ratusan orang berbondong-bondong datang ke Het Arresthuis. Bahkan mereka rela membayarkan uangnya untuk mendapatkan sel di sana. "Sekarang, Het Arresthuis berubah menjadi hotel dengan 40 kamar nan luas," tulis Mail Online, Selasa, 26 Februari 2013. "Ada 24 kamar standar, 12 deluxe, dan empat suite yang tersebar ke tiga lantai."

Tiap sel Het Arresthuis memiliki mesin pendingin ruangan, televisi layar datar, mesin kopi serta teh, jaringan WiFi gratis, lengkap dengan kasur nan empuk. Bahkan para tamu dapat menikmati sauna; berkegiatan di pusat kebugaran; atau bersantai di teras dekat pohon zaitun, kebun organik, serta kolam kecil.

Pintu kamar Het Arresthuis mirip dengan sel isolasi. Warna hitam pekat, dengan kotak intip pada bagian tengah. Sedangkan di depan pintu kamar, hanya ada selasar selebar satu meter yang dibatasi dengan pagar besi. Dan di seberangnya, berderet puluhan pintu kamar lainnya. "Pada lantai dasar, terbentang selasar selebar 3,5 meter dengan jejeran sofa, meja, dan lampu."

Di hotel penjara ini, wisatawan juga dapat menyesap pelbagai minuman beralkohol yang tersaji di bar. Sedangkan untuk menyantap makan malam, pengelola hotel penjara menyediakan meja panjang berbalut taplak putih. Dengan hiasan lilin dan bunga di tengah meja, tiap tamu harus menyantap panganan sambil mengenakan serbet dan topi garis-garis. "Motif garis hitam-putih itu mirip dengan seragam napi."

Pada 2002, bagunan ini sempat kembali dibuka sebagai penjara. Namun ditutup permanen di pertengahan 2007. Setelah itu, barulah dilakukan pembangunan hotel. "Het Arresthuis penah dijuluki bolletjesbajes, artinya penjara stuffer."

Het Arresthuis sendiri bukan satu-satunya mantan penjara yang beralih menjadi hotel. Pada 1996, Penjara Oxford pun menjelma sebagai Hotel Malmaison. Ada pula Lowengraben Jailhotel di Lucerne. Dibangun pada 1862, bangunan itu berfungsi sebagai penjara hingga 1998. kemudian menjadi hotel. 



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