I have heard of service with a smile, but now according to the Plaza Hotel of New York that is not enough. In their desire to stay ahead of the pack, their service now comes complete with an iPad in each of its guest rooms and suites. Is it just a gimmick or can the use of a tablet improve the service level offered by this hostelry?

The hotel partnered with ‘Intelity‘ to launch an Interactive Customer Experience (ICE) software application for the iPad, featuring a multimedia video welcome and providing guests with an easy, touch-screen controls to access their entire hotel experience. Guests are now able to order room service, make reservations, request wake-up calls, print boarding passes, and all the other facilities offered by a hotel. You are also able to control the lighting, heating and air-conditioning of your room.

“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. “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.”
“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.”
You are also able to control the TV in your room, although you may find that this feature is not fully utilized as the tablet comes pre-loaded with a number of leisure and business applications, and the ICE software even allows you to surf the Web. A gimmick maybe, but anything that improves your experience when staying a hotel can only be described as a great idea. To the rest of the hotels out there – please take note!