Hotels Embracing Apps: WhatsApp & UberCENTRAL
During a recent stay at Keraton at The Plaza in Jakarta, I was presented with a business card at check-in listing the WhatsApp phone # to message for assistance during my stay. Instead of calling the front desk from your room, you can now message them through WhatsApp. WhatsApp is a free messaging app that is popular with Android users as they don’t have access to iMessage. Initially, I placed the card on my bedside table thinking I’d never use it. The following morning I was having trouble with the WiFi in my room so I tried it out. I sent them a message with the issue as well as a photo of the access point in the room. Just 10 minutes later the WiFi was operational again. Amazing service! I used it for booking the hotel car service for subsequent days and it was flawless. The only item they couldn’t help out with is picking up some over the counter medicine for me, but it was due to a hotel rule. It was convenient to be able to message the hotel when I was in the car from the airport to coordinate anything I needed done such as a massage appointment after sitting in 2 hours of traffic. Hotels need to adapt to the new generation of travelers and this is definitely a positive feature if executed well. W Seminyak in Bali had it as well but the response time was 4+ hours which was useless for most requests. I can’t wait to see more hotels implement WhatsApp or similar service.
Similarly, Uber is offering a new service called UberCENTRAL where hotel bellhops can call Uber’s for hotel guests and bill the charges to their room. In some cities, it’s faster and cheaper to take an Uber. This is a service that sets Hotel Angeleno apart from other LA hotels. International visitors don’t always have a phone that works in the country they are visiting so being able to have the hotel hail an Uber makes your experience seamless. They will only be able to hail it for you one-way but it’s better than nothing. It’s perfect for an airport ride and not having to hassle with taxi’s ripping you off as I’ve experienced in Bangkok, Thailand. I hope other hotels join soon!
What apps would you like to see integrated with hotels? Comment below.