As part of my grad school thesis, I decided to showcase an end-to-end experience for a hotel system with IoT capabilities.

 

To showcase the experience, I considered the interaction from the guest and staff's points of view.

 

To arrive at this solution and design, I conducted primary and secondary research with travelers, hotel staff, and executives working in the hospitality industry. 

Overview

The Journey

1. Booking stage

Like most people, the couple looks at prices, comparing deals, etc. 

 

Once the payment is made, they are guided to download the InnPlus app to finish the booking and manage their trip.

Ravi sees a new booking generated and blocks the room as per requirement. 

 

 

 

Following which an email goes to Clive and Thelma with check-in instructions. The guests will be guided to download the app.

The start..

Around August 2020, with the pandemic fatigue setting in, I had to create an end-to-end experience for my thesis project.

 

Taking into account, that the research wireframing and the touchpoints all being done online.

Putting it simply

Have you ever visited a hotel and taken out your phone to post a room photo?
Yep me too.

Have you ever visited a hotel and wondered if you could use your phone for everything?

 

Like check-in room service etc.?
No? Just me, then?

At this point, I began brainstorming about design industries and it became impossible to address the elephant in the room...The Pandemic.

 

It disrupted several industries but also offered the opportunity to do things differently.

Where is this going? 

Hospitality faced so many disruptions.

 

Which is why, I subsequently, focussed my efforts on understanding and improving the hotel experience. I churned my interest in IOT to explore the automation of critical hotel functions

Let's get started..

To showcase the experience, I considered the interaction from the guest and staff's points of view.

To arrive at this solution and design, I conducted primary and secondary research with travelers, hotel staff, and executives working in the hospitality industry.

I worked for three months to prepare this case study.

I performed this project entirely alone, from research to wireframe to mockups.

The research consisted of...

Secondary research-
Tons of readings on sites such as Triopto, Skift, Phocuswright, and others to get background information on the concerns regarding hotel stays.

Primary Research-
Surveys: Short questions targeting travelers of different ages and understanding their needs and

Interviews-
Then I conducted interviews with stakeholders working in hotels chains such as OYO, boutique hotels such as White Swan Inn, and executives of Booking.com

To showcase my debrief, I could show you some illegible post-its. However, what would be more helpful is to show what people are saying. 

 

What is something that you would expect from a hotel post-COVID?

Mobile check-in on your phone, mobile card key, extra cleanliness!

I want to stay in a hotel where the attendees and customers also adhere to covid guidelines. I can trust hotels when I book them, and they say they adhere to guidelines, but I want to trust that the people who also use the hotel pay the same attention as I do.

Clean(disinfecting) procedures before and after check-in/out. I think cleanliness has always been a controversial topic for hotels because the procedures are not transparent. Customers don't know what is done and what is not. I think it will be great to see some improvements in the area.

What people are saying

Synergy between personal device and points of scan

Reduction in the number of touch points

Cleanliness is the foremost priority. 

Here's the top findings

Let's talk data

To arrive at a solution I even conducted a short survey (six questions)​​​​

Speaking of doing things differently...

I wondered

Smart homes are cool.
Smart hotels are cooler

Can we bring features of home automation to enhance a traveller’s hotel stay?

The idea:-

I conceptualized and designed a product-service ecosystem that provides end-to-end solutions to guests and hotel operators.

 

The ecosystem focuses on minimizing touchpoints and simplifying essential functions to make possible contactless delivery of services.

Experience-Final-InnPlus-images_edited.p

The story

I created a storyboard to illustrate the entire experience.

Clive Lloyd and his wife Thelma are planning a vacation at the Portola Hotel and Spa in Monterrey, a few hours away from their home in San Francisco. Working hard at the Portola Hotel is Ravi Patel.

2. Documentation

 

Once in the InnPlus app, Clive will be guided to initiate the check-in by uploading all the travelers’ documents.

 

Around hours before check-in, both will be required to upload a selfie so the images can be matched against the documents.

The service blueprint

To highlight the experience, in a nutshell, I created a product service ecosystem, and to illustrate my solution better, I created a detailed storyboard to map out the individual interactions through a storyboard.

As they upload the document and the selfie, Ravi will see all the three items on the dashboard and the email sent to the guest with the room number and code.

 

 

After the documents’ authentication, he will send the room details and key code to Clive and Thelma.

 

The key code will be unique to the guests. It gives them access in and out of the hotel.

3. Room entry

 

On travel day, the Lloyd’s arrive at their hotel reaching upstairs without complications.

 

 

To enter the room, they hold the phone near the scanner, and they are in.

Meanwhile, downstairs Ravi gets an immediate notification of check-in and room entry and initiates the confirmation call.

 

4. Room service

The fun thing about any hotel experience is room service. And now it’s a lot easier. 

 

Click on room service to start a chat. 

Ask for whatever you need, and have it come to your room.

The smart room features can be accessed using the app. 

An example of that here is the lights feature. 

5. Room interactions

If either Clive or Thelma prefers to talk to someone, simply call the front desk. 

If Clive and Thelma want to step out and access the public areas, they can find out the crowded areas in real-time by going through the crowd option.

6. Public spaces

Alternatively, guests can make a reservation to use an amenity.

 

For instance, here’s a screen flow of making a reservation on conference rooms.

7. Reserve Amenity

This is made possible with footfall meters being placed at all access points of the hotel.

 

Which can give real-time data of the number of people in an area. 

Since there are other staff members other than Ravi, the hotel is committed to ensuring smooth tracking and contact tracing. 

 

Smart I cards with a proximity sensor will be given to each employee that will have the ability to log an entry if someone has been close to the other for more than 30 seconds. The same entry will be time-stamped and saved on an external cloud.

8. Employee interactions

It’s now time for the couple to check out and leave. 

So the couple requests a baggage pickup and leaves their bags outside the room. 

 

The bags are picked up and dropped off at the lobby waiting area. The couple can retrieve the same by using their room key code.

Alternatively, through the app, by clicking special instructions, they can direct the staff to drop the bags at the cab.

9. Checkout

1) InnPlus aims to empower both guests and hotel staff with safely running a hotel without compromising the enjoyable elements

through a range of devices. 

 

2) Just like smart home kits, InnPlus can be considered as an intelligent hotel kit, with the elements of scalability. It can be retrofitted to suit a boutique hotel, a motel, or a huge resort. 

3) Rest rejuvenation and well-being are essential to our mental health and since ‘essential’ has been the watchword of the year, an ecosystem like InnPlus can hope to have a purpose in improving or redefining the travel experience.  

 

4) Every traveler is entitled to a safe and enjoyable stay. By integrating key elements we can work towards enhancing the post-pandemic hotel experience.

10. Next steps

Did you love the work that I did with InnPlus

Do you also have a complicated meaty problem to tackle?

Please do reach out. 

As always, just an email away-hello@ixdmk.com