Smart self-catering accommodation: Modern or impersonal?

2015-07-15 13:01

Everything is becoming smart, from your mobile phone and television to your fridge and washing machine. Devices can be automated and controlled over the internet. Coffee machines follow your position on your mobile phone, to have a steaming cup of coffee ready for you just as you walk in the door. More and more devices are connected, forming what is now called the Internet of Things (IOT). Smart wearable gadgets, such as a heart rate monitor can be worn when exercising. The monitor in turn communicates the information via Bluetooth to your mobile device, which in turn uploads it to the internet. You can log in to a website and view your exercise history, routes followed, speed and heart rate all online.

This gamification of one’s life and living more and more online is fascinating, but does it remove valuable human aspects such as interpersonal connections and good old DIY problem solving?

One interesting application of smart devices and the Internet of Things are with self-check-in services at hotels and lodges. Some hotels have the front desk staff completely replaced with self-check-in counters, similar to what can be found at airports. The guest will choose a room, scan their ID or driver’s license, use a credit card for payment and receive instructions and a code to open and find their room. Locally, Umoya Cottages in Port Elizabeth have installed a system to allow self-check-ins at their self-catering cottages. The system displays CCTV footage to the owners’ mobile phones of the exterior and allows control of the electric motor gate to the secure parking area. The owners can thus watch and assist their guests to check in successfully, without a meet and greet in person.

Dorette, the owner of Umoya Cottages, said that they use it sparingly, only for late check-ins or when the owners might be out of town on occasion. “We have had great success with the self-check-in system, but we notice that most guests prefer a meet and greet in person. However, there are quite a few guests that prefer the self-check-in option.”

What is your opinion? Would you prefer an automated self-check-in system, or do you prefer to make that personal connection? You can take part of a poll on the link below or share your view in the comments.

Take part in the poll! Click here.

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