While it may feel as if tablets have been around for a long time, it wasn't until April 3, 2010, that Apple released the iPad and 2 months later, on June 4, 2010, Samsung released the Galaxy. It didn't take long for other tablets to hit the market.
Initially, tablets became popular in the event and hospitality industry for presentations. Group sales departments in hotels and resorts found them particularly useful for showing prospective clients hotel accommodations, meeting rooms and amenities.
Tablets of various sizes are springing up everywhere and for a wider variety of uses. Here are some of the places that I have spotted organizations in the travel, hospitality and event industries using tablets.
A few months ago I reported that I had spotted iPad menus at a sushi restaurant in downtown Toronto
I recently spotted other tablet menus at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Travelers were able to view menu options and place their order directly on the tablet. I hope that I will soon be able to report that I have seen tablet menus at an event.
Transportation and Transfers
I first spotted a tablet in a Jumeirah Group limousine almost two years ago. It displayed videos and information about the various properties in the portfolio.
In January, 2013, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts reported that it fitted the limousines for its Singapore properties with iPads through which guests can access hotel and destination information.
Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore provides iPads in its chauffeur-driven Mercedes Benz limousines.
Tablets are also starting to appear in vehicles in North America. A few weeks ago, a number of taxis in Las Vegas had tablets at the back of the front passenger seat. They displayed promotional videos and text information about Aria and local attractions.
It's only a matter of time before hotels will make it possible for guests to check in via tablet during transfers, by-pass the front desk, and even order a meal or snack from room service and have it delivered to them by the time they arrive in the room. I have arrived many times on night flights and this will definitely be a welcome service enhancement.
At SITE night at IMEX America, the portable iLite Tablet camera, a camera that uses an iPad, sparked my interest. After the photographer snapped the photo (see left below), the guests could share the photo via email or on Facebook (see photo on the right below). The photos can be branded and bordered. Event Planners can also pre-load participant e-mail addresses for faster processing.
Front Desk & Concierge Information Tablets
Some hotels are starting to use tablets at the front desk to provide guests with information about the hotel and local attractions. I first saw this at Four Seasons Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. Aloft Hotels has been piloting Tablet-based concierges for about a year now.
Room Controls via iPad
Sheraton Dubai provides iPads for guests to regulate the temperature, control in-room amenities, and communicate with hotel departments.
The event and hospitality industries are experiencing an explosion in the use of tablets. It's just a matter of time before hotels and event planners discover even more ways to use tablets.
If you are an event planner or a representative from a hotel and you have found an innovative way to use tablets, please add a comment to let us know about it.
Photo Credits: Executive Oasis International