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Outrigger Hotel Lets Guests Leave Cash and Credit Cards Behind

The Waikiki facility is deploying AlohaPay, a system enabling guests to use their room keys as contactless payment cards at retail locations in and near the facility.
By Claire Swedberg
In addition, the guest is provided with a PIN number enabling him to operate the POS function. The card itself has only a chip with a unique ID number and a mag stripe on the back to allow access to a hotel room. The card is printed only with the hotel logo, and contains no personal information. If a guest were to lose a card, it could not be utilized to make a purchase unless the user knew the PIN.

Participating retailers will employ an Enrich Systems wireless POS interrogator to capture the card's unique ID number at the time of purchase. The device sends data to the Enrich Systems server via a Sprint wireless broadband connection, which confirms the unique RFID number and forwards the data to the hotel server, where the purchase can be approved. The approval is sent back to the POS device, which then completes the transaction, and the individual's account is modified to show the purchase on the hotel server.

Elizabeth Redding
At the end of the guest's stay, the total number of purchases is tallied using the SQL software, and that person then pays once for the total amount on his or her credit card. The retailer pays an initial fee to lease the device, then only a transaction fee thereafter. The cost of the lease is low, though Redding declines to reveal the exact amount. "It's enough to give them incentive not to let it walk away," she says.

For retailers, Redding says, there are several advantages to the system. The transaction fee they pay for AlohaPay is smaller than what they would pay to a credit card company, she notes. The system also encourages more purchases from hotel guests. For hotels, the advantage lies in allowing guests the convenience of shopping without a wallet. "For guests," she adds, "there is greater flexibility. They can walk to the beach, walk down the boardwalk, without bringing cash or a credit card."

"Eventually," White states, "this service will be one of those advantages that guests expect from a hotel." Thus far, he claims, hotel restaurant sales have increased since guests began using the AlohaPay system in that location.

Outrigger hopes to launch a full deployment of participating retailers by September of this year, Redding says, and other hotel companies in Las Vegas and South Beach, Fla., are also considering the system. The technology will be useful in any resort environment, she adds, including hotels that rent out kayaks, bikes, boats and other equipment for adventure sports, or accommodations located in wine country, where the cards could be used at wine tastings.

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