Brands working with startups in the hotel and hospitality industry dates back to the dotcom days, but it’s changed and evolved with the rise of mobile and startups like HotelTonight and Airbnb.
HotelTonight, the startup that lets you book same-day hotel rooms at a discount, has deals with hotels like Hyatt, InterContinental, Best Western and the owner of the high-end Fairmont hotels.
Hotels are also looking to tech to improve the guest experience. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. rolled out a keyless entry system at several of its hotels in Florida and South Florida last month, CNN reported. Its SPG Keyless room entry system for preferred guests lets people use the hotel’s smartphone app as their room key. In late April, Starwood began letting people use their Apple Watch to unlock hotel rooms.
As we’ve previously noted, robots from a startup called Savioke have made their way inside hotels to function as butlers to bring guests items they request from the front desk. After a successful six-month pilot in Starwood’s Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, Starwood decided to roll out a new version of the bots to its hotels nationwide.
And it’s not just established hotels brands working with startups — it’s also those that are related to travel.
Since many people prefer to experience a place as locals rather than tourists, Airbnb has become a hot startup for corporate partnerships with brands including American Express and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Now, AmEx cardholders can redeem Airbnb gift cards through the credit card company’s membership rewards program. KLM allows people booking flights through KLM to also search for places to stay via Airbnb without needing to leave the site.