One of Marriott's newest ventures is the amenities-rich AC Hotel in Sunnyvale Cupertino, located in lush Sunnyvale, California. The hotel opened in December of 2018 and from the beginning, the AC Hotel Sunnyvale Cupertino has found success utilizing the call-for-service technology, Kallpod.
Specifically designed to fit the unique needs of a given client, Kallpod is a customizable device that allows guests to call for service and utilizes a system that routes the request to the appropriate employee. AC Hotel Sunnyvalle Cupertino is using the newest version of the Kallpod technology, Kallpod Pro, which provides a two-way communication channel that not only allows guests to flag down hotel employees, but also allows staff to directly send messages to the smartwatches of individual staff or internal team members, using unique or pre-set messages. In addition, Kallpod Pro’s Data Dashboard provides a robust suite of operational data to improve efficiencies within the hotel, including average response times, calls per staff member, day-part trends and so on.
“AC Hotels by Marriott have a partnership with Kallpod,” Michael Lerman, manager of AC Hotel in Sunnyvale Cupertino, said of Kallpod being a part of the AC Hotel by Marriott brand standard. “The only difference with this [new] location was that we asked for the latest technology.”
Lerman, who has been in the hospitality business for the last 10 years, spoke to the pain points that have been resolved with the addition of Kallpod.
“What it feels like, for us, is that [Kallpod has] allowed the guest to have more control over their service style,” Lerman said.
“As a service professional, I’m always curious as to what the guests wants; when they want to see me more, when they want to see me less. Kallpod turns it over directly to the guest and supplements human experience. So we can engage as deeply as the guest wants us to, which is great,” Lerman explained.
Kallpod CEO Gabriel Weisz spoke directly to Lerman’s point about the capability of technology to elevate the guest experience.
“Guests should receive a seamless experience, no matter what part of the hotel they are enjoying. Technology should enhance this experience, and should serve as a partner for the unique human interaction that characterizes exceptional service,” Weisz said. “Kallpod not only allows for guests to customize the attention they receive from hotel staff to their needs, but it also lets the staff maximize their day—they no longer have to deal with ‘dead time’ or attempt to guess at clients’ needs.”
Lerman spoke to the particular intersection of technology and service at which the hospitality industry seems uniquely poised.
“We’re at this cool intersection where we have direct communications on text apps and chat rooms, and we’re also seeing it with robotic delivery with the first two [AC] properties in the Bay Area,” Lerman said. “Something we’re rolling out in April will be that linen and other heavy materials will be transferred with a robot, so employees can use their body and mind for something other than hauling a huge linen load. One day, all of this will be automated, but right now, we appreciate having robots supplementing that human experience,” Lerman explained.
Housekeepers at AC Hotel Cupertino can utilize their Kallpod smartwatches to alert robots to the rooms when linens need changed. Upon arrival, the robot alerts the housekeeper that it is outside the room, making the partnership between robot and human seamless.
Through the Kallpod smartwatch messaging capability, housekeepers can be alerted to which rooms need cleaning next--a major improvement to the previous practice of waiting for alerts on mobile phones or calling down on guest room phones for assignments. And, as an added safety feature, housekeepers wearing the Kallpod smart watches can press the crown of the watch which sends off a silent panic alarm and alerts hotel management of the housekeeper’s location.
Since its introduction, Kallpod has already made a difference at AC Hotel Cupertino.
“We have a new suite of reporting available, but we’re just scratching the surface,” Lerman said. “But it’s a great suite that we can use to see response time [and other variables]. We’re loving basic functionality already.”
When it comes to optimizing the guest experience, Lerman was clear: Kallpod is a critical asset.
“[Kallpod] lets the team know when the guests want service, when they want to engage. At first we were worried that it would be our service personnel waiting for a button to be pushed, but it’s actually been the opposite--employees can stand and talk with guests that want more engagement, and those that want a more passive dining experience, we can give them that. Ultimately, that leads to happier, more engaged teams, which makes for happier managers, and happier customers.”
Photo Courtesy of AC Hotel Sunnyvale Cupertino Facebook