Are There Any RFID UHF Success Stories Involving Hospitality and Events?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsAre There Any RFID UHF Success Stories Involving Hospitality and Events?
RFID Journal Staff asked 11 years ago

If so, can you please outline a few examples?

—Name withheld


Yes, there are. The Starwood Hotels and Resorts offers an automatic check-in program designed to appeal to tech-savvy travelers. The first automatic check-in program, which works in conjunction with an RFID access-control system, was introduced in 2008 at the Aloft Lexington hotel, located in Lexington, Mass. Members of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program no longer need wait in line to check in, as their SPG member card serves double-duty as a contactless room key. Guests receive a text message on their mobile device containing their room number, along with information regarding when that room will be available. Upon arriving at the hotel, visitors can then go directly to their room and gain entry using their RFID-enabled member card (see Hotel Employs RFID to Woo Guests).

Great Wolf Resorts, a fast-growing chain of family resorts featuring indoor water slides, arcades, snack bars and other activities, designed three new facilities with an RFID infrastructure: one in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, one in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and one in Mason, Ohio. Guests at these resorts, who often venture around the water parks in their bathing suits, now don't have to find lockers for their room keys and wallets, or return to their rooms at the lodge when they want to buy food or play arcade games. Instead, they can use their RFID-enabled plastic wristbands to access their rooms and pay for food, game tokens or gift shop items. And adults can load certain dollar amounts on children's wristbands on a daily basis, so kids don't have to hit them up for cash to play games or get a snack (see As You Like It).

Hotels are also using RFID in their operations. The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel opened in Vancouver, B.C., just in time for that year's Winter Olympics. It had RFID technology in place for tracking 35,000 textile items, including bed sheets, uniforms, towels, tablecloths and bathrobes. The system consists of washable EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tags from Fujitsu, RFID interrogators provided by Impinj and software from Foundation Logic, a provider of RFID-enabled linen-management solutions. The hotel is employing the system to track more than 8,500 items weekly as they are laundered and returned (see Vancouver Hotel Tracks an Olympic Quantity of Washable Items).

Some hotels are using RFID in their bars to reduce overpouring. In 2008, for example, the Peabody Memphis hotel began using the Beverage Tracker solution from Capton, which uses RFID tags and sensors to monitor and record how much alcohol is poured each time a bottle is used. Managers receive a variety of reports they can use to monitor consistency of preparation, monitor inventory, prepare liquor orders and know about unbilled drinks. Each bottle monitored in the Capton system gets a plastic pour spout that has an integrated 418 MHz RFID tag and a flow sensor. An RFID reader connects to a point-of-sale terminal or PC. Each time the bottle is poured, the sensor records when and how much. The RFID reader, which can be located up to 100 feet away from the bottle, automatically captures the bottle ID and the sensor data. The system can reduce costs and improve profitability (see Hotel Finds RFID Just Ducky for Drinks Management).

RFID has been used at events for years to track who visits which booth and who attends which session. Some marketers are now using the technology to enhance marketing events. During the 2012 Summer Games in London, the Cadbury House held its own Olympic event in Hyde Park. It included RFID-enabled social-media sharing. Confectionary company Cadbury provided visitors with a tour of its chocolate-making history. The system also allowed visitors to easily link photographs of their visit with friends and family on their Facebook account, by means of a hands-free passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID system (see Cadbury Offers RFID-enabled Treats During Summer Olympics).

Coca-Cola Israel used RFID in a similar way in 2010. More than 6,500 Israeli teenagers attended a series of 10 festivals, known as Coca-Cola Village, and all used RFID technology to share a large percentage of their experiences with friends and family via Facebook. Digital marketing group E-dologic developed and installed the system for Coca-Cola Israel, and managed the entire event through what became the most popular Facebook page in that country, with 80,000 users and 652,700 daily post views (see RFID Helps Make Friends for Israeli Teens).

There are more examples like these, but I think these give you an idea of how RFID can be used in the hospitality and events sector.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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