Wearable Tech and Your Next Vacation

Written BY

Emily Friedman

August 27, 2015

While a newly released report says that consumer interest in wearable technology is declining fast, enterprise interest in the technology is not slowing down but rather rising (and spreading) fast across the industry spectrum. In this post, we will take a look at two examples of wearable tech in the hospitality industry that have recently come to light.

Whistler Blackcomb

This major ski resort near Vancouver, Canada recently launched a pilot program featuring wearable technology, with the end goals of increasing efficiency in the resort’s operations and improving the visitor experience. In order to realize the pilot project, WB partnered with Vandrico Solutions, a Vancouver-based software company.

So how exactly is wearable tech being utilized in this case? Actually, in a few ways. First of all, some of WB’s lift staff or “lifties” are going to be using smart glasses in order to really customize service at the resort. The smart glass technology will enable staff to recognize an individual getting off the lift and to know such things as whether it is that person’s first day on the mountain. Because the devices show staff real-time data about guests, lifties will be able to engage in a highly personal manner with resort-goers, ensuring they have the best experience possible.

The smart glasses will also be utilized to reduce lift maintenance times, with the technology – or more specifically, the software by Vandrico – directing the right person to the job as fast as possible.

As in most enterprise use cases – no matter the industry – wearable technology in the Whistler Blackcomb case comes down to arming the right person with the right information at the right time.

To read more about the Whistler Blackcomb wearable pilot project, click here.

Royal Caribbean International

Here’s another travel & hospitality case in which wearable tech is being employed in more than one way.

To start, Royal Caribbean – in partnership with a tech expert – “has created a new wearable technology” intended to train travel agents on all the offerings aboard RC’s newest Quantum and Anthem of the Seas cruise ships. Now, it’s not clear whether this is a proprietary wearable device or whether the hospitality brand has had special software customized for an existing model of smart glasses (I’d bet on the latter). What we do know is that the technology in this case is smart glasses that can show agents the facilities on board the new ships via built-in video, perhaps virtual reality-style. The wearable training technology will be used to ensure that Royal Caribbean’s trade partners are in the best position to sell the brand’s most advanced ships to date.

In addition, when Anthem of the Seas launches next year, passengers will use wearable technology in the form of multipurpose smart wristbands instead of keycards in a bid to upgrade the cruise experience for both guests and crew. Royal Caribbean partnered with Assa Abloy Hospitality to realize the wearable devices, which use flexible RFID technology.

How the technology works: As passengers approach the gangway, crew members will be able to quickly scan their smart bands containing all the necessary identification information. Not only will this simplify and speed up the process of guests’ embarking and disembarking from the ship but the bands will also act as a room key and pass to certain areas of the ship like the spa.

And that’s not all. A la Disney’s MagicBand, the Royal Caribbean wristbands are designed to keep track of passengers’ bar and restaurant tabs and as a means of payment for professional photos taken on the cruise along with the ship’s vending machines and casinos. It is not hard to imagine how the technology might lead to greater spending by those aboard Anthem of the Seas.

Along with constituting new and exciting use cases of wearable technology, both the Whistler Blackcomb and Royal Caribbean wearable tech schemes reveal a general trend in the hospitality industry of incorporating the latest technological advancements in order to improve customer service and the traveler/guest experience.

Further Reading