RFID in Hospitality
Who doesn’t like technology?!! Frankly, I think we all love innovative technologies that simplifies our lives beyond compare, especially when doing business. What was once costly and expensive, is now common and affordable. RFID technology has invaded every aspect of our lives reaching way far beyond all expectations. RFID (radio-frequency identification) uses electromagnetic waves to save and transmit data. RFID tags can be attached onto any surface—cards, wallets, keychain trinket, or a hand band for identification and tracking purposes. The uses for RFID are pretty simple where each unique RFID tag can be fixed to any item desired to track. With an RFID reader, you can scan the tag across a distance, even if those tags are concealed. The very essence of this procedure is to deliver an accurate inventory and reach a high level of visibility, where companies can keep track of exactly where its items are located in the distribution chain. This task usually involves a team of personnel, and is often accompanied with error, not to mention the misappropriation of stock. Moreover, RFID offers the opportunity for greater control over distribution logistics.
Perhaps one of the most technologically influenced industries in the business is the hospitality industry, where RFID applications are raising the bar so high even in the tiniest detail. As you all may know, few -if any- hotels are using keys nowadays, they are using plastic cards instead. However, integrating RFID technologies with those very plastic cards can offer a whole new level of luxury and ease to the guests granting them a unique and an unforgettable experience. Those features may permit guests to check in and out of their rooms, state their preferences and perform personal requests before arriving to the hotel, pay for their services, access the swimming pools or gym and even open doors with a slight swipe.
Imagine a world where you don’t need credit card while going on vacation or a business trip. You pass through the gates of a hotel and without even going to the reception, you are automatically checked in. You receive an sms with your room number, and as soon as you step a foot into the elevator and it knows which floor your room is in and as you get out the door of your room automatically opens for you. As you walk in the room is already preset to your ideal temperature and you find the type of pillows you favor. Room services are paid for upon order. Needless to say that checking out is as easy as walking out the front door. All of this and much more is possible with RFID technology. Since knowing all about your customer is the key to success in the hospitality industry, the use of RFID technology can raise the bar of the quality in a hotel, for instance or any other hospitality institute, and that’s simply by converting the customer experience into practical data.
Restaurants such as Blue Lemon in Utah use an RFID table tracker so customers can identify their seats. Another example would be one luxury hotel in the Lake Geneva area of Switzerland. It has integrated an RFID system, to identify guests as they approach the bar.
Furthermore, a recent study has shown that the number of water parks that are being established along with hotels and resorts are on the rise. Technologically wise, these new water parks have been adopting RFID as a method to track guest’s activities, as well as provide an easy way to conduct business. This way the management ensured a competitive edge and has at the same time enhanced the organization of operations along the way.
Here are a few ways in which RFID technology is enhancing the hospitality industry:
1) Accurate Inventory Management:
Every object in the inventory is tagged with a special code that enables the reader to activate a magnetic field and locate the object. With RFID, hotel employees can automatically and immediately identify, track, store and manage a vast amount of information. This also provides a better visibility of fixed assets, assist locate any object quickly, and notifies employees if any object is taken out of the organization without permission.
2) Intelligent Room Management:
Hotel managers know of all the vacant and occupied rooms across the world automatically and almost in real time due to the use of key cards and RFID-enabled rooms. Also, automated or online bookings become a lot easier as the information on when the rooms will be unoccupied and for how long .This organizes and automates the room booking management process.
3) Enhancing Key Standards:
New generation key card systems integrates RFID readers in the doors and RFID chips in the cards themselves. Rather than swiping the card into a slot, a guest only needs to wave the card over the door handle to unlock the door. This system permits guests to pay for their services or purchases and to access the multiple areas of the facility (pool, gym, spa or parking lot).The technology ensures a high level of safety and security to guest and even to the staff members.
4) Linen and Laundry Management:
Having a huge amount of fixed assets such as blankets, napkins, towels, bed sheets, cushion covers, pillowcases, tablecloths, guest robes and other linens
makes it even harder to track. But, with the use of washable RFID tags, the hospitality industry can keep a lot better track of linen inventory. This makes it simple to track, recover and replace linen all over the hotel, and across different branches saving time spent in finding any returning fixed assets and also saving money for maintenance or purchasing new items. In case any of those fixed assets are stolen, RFID can identify their whereabouts. RFID accelerates sending and receiving of fixed assets (to and from laundry vendors) and can minimize discrepancies bill as well as human error.
5) Vehicle Management:
Typically hospitality facilities welcome so many clients’ vehicles, and maintaining security of all these vehicles is rather difficult. By attaching a small RFID tag on the cars, you can automatically identify the cars and other vehicles that enter the premises. The system can be integrated with other software and you can stimulate the gate to open automatically after verifying the vehicle.
6) Tracking Personnel:
RFID is used to track personnel attendance as well as tracking the customers to provide a very high level of automatic services according to their preferences and unique and unforgettable experiences.
7) Enhancing the customer experience:
By placing RFID readers at the gateway, hotel staff is able to capture and use the information whenever guests enter the hotel. This means hotel staff can salute guests by their names, deliver messages, and follow up on special requests or any other preferences to deliver a more customized guest experience.