The use of technology at hotels to improve and enhance a guest’s experience continues to evolve with each passing day.
One of the latest entries into to the market is Porter24, an interactive digital concierge that’s begun popping up in hotel lobbies from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and now New York City.
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Using state-of-the-art touchscreen technology, the interactive concierge (which the company says poses no threat to the livelihood of living and breathing concierge staff) allows guests to access all sorts of useful destination-specific information ranging from local business deals to area restaurants and the hottest nightlife and attractions.
The Porter24 concierge stations, which vary in size from 50 to 65 inches, also allow users to check the weather, track flights and find out what’s going on in their hotel.
And in a nod to today’s social media obsessed travelers, the digital concierge can also snap a selfie of the user that is sent directly to social media channels – just in case you’d like to brag about your trip and the human concierge isn’t available to take the picture.
Selfies aside, the Porter24 concierge is poised to change the dynamics between hotels and the businesses in the communities where the hotel operates.
“Traditionally, local businesses would build relationships with hotel concierges to ensure that they are top of mind when a concierge is recommending places to eat, or shop or to go sightseeing,” Daniel Ramirez, vice president of Porter24, told TravelPulse during a recent interview. “Now we’re seeing an industry-wide shift to a system of digital concierge capabilities that offer hotel guests easier access to city recommendations via a touch screen.”
To ensure those digital concierge recommendations are up to a property’s standards, Ramirez said the Porter24 content is carefully vetted by both the hotels and Porter24’s own staff.
“The hotel’s main focus is to make the customer happy, safe and ensure that they have a memorable experience,” continued Ramirez. “We are partners with them and we take pride in what we put on there.”
The hotels, he said, also have the right to veto anything that’s on the Porter24 concierge if they don’t approve of it.
The machines first began rolling out in San Diego about four years ago and have since expanded rapidly. The first Porter24 came to Manhattan in 2017 and there are now more than 50. Brands that have signed on to use Porter24 include HIlton, Marriott and more.
Ramirez said the company now has its sights set on likely expanding down the east coast to such popular destinations as Washington D.C., Atlanta and Miami.
As for what the real concierges think about this new competition on their turf, Ramirez confirmed that there is, in fact, no competition at all.
“Our best performing hotels are those that have a live concierge onsite because they now have a tool to go up and show their guests,” he explained. “They can walk guests up to the screen and show them how to learn about the hotel, local restaurants that are cool and even take a selfie.”