A hotel brand that pitches itself as an alternative to cookie-cutter properties with its slant on hyper-local experiences has introduced an interactive touchscreen service that helps guests find local gems off the beaten path.
Hotel Indigo, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, has launched a new guest service they call "Neighbourhood Guide," an interactive touch screen that will be installed in hotel lobbies across the system.
Much like a virtual concierge, the display allows guests to look up local attractions, restaurant recommendations and interact with guests from other properties around the world.
But what makes the service particularly interesting is that recommendations aren't carbon copied from guidebooks, but curated from hotel staff -- everyone from the bartender to the room attendant contributes addresses of their favourite hangout, like the best place in the city for a burger or late night jazz.
"Our guests want to experience something unique and different when they travel. For them, it's not about doing what's trendy or popular. They want to be with interesting people and make a meaningful connection to the neighbourhood," said Americas brand manager Mary Winslow in a statement.
"Every person who works in a Hotel Indigo hotel is an expert on their local neighbourhood...At our hotels, it's everyone's role to connect guests to the neighbourhood."
Integrated Google maps also allow guests to send directions from the Neighbourhood Guide directly to their mobile phone by email or by scanning a QR code, while photo-sharing features enable travellers to share their photos with the other 54 Hotel Indigo properties around the world as well as friends and family back home.
Virtual concierge services have become increasingly popular in the mainstream hotel industry. Marriott Hotels, for instance, launched a virtual mobile check-in service last year that allows guests to bypass the front desk and proceed directly to their room.
One of the pioneers in the virtual concierge service, however, is the Hyatt hotel brand, which launched a dedicated Twitter concierge service in 2009.