Room Service by Robot and Other Ways Tech Is Changing the Hotel Stay

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can help to reduce labor costs—or at least redeploy employees away from rote tasks like bringing a guest a shaving kit because they forgot theirs at home. Also, all that ordering via Alexa or a hotel’s app results in valuable data that can be used to target guests with other services they might like.

“The hotel space is going through a pretty aggressive transformation,” says David Koretz, founder and CEO of Plum, a wine-appliance company. “The smartphone killed all of their in-room revenue. Now, it’s changing their fundamental interaction with guests.”

Koretz founded the Miami-area startup Plum three years ago, and sells a two-bottle appliance that has a motorized needle that is injected into the cork, simultaneously extracting wine while also injecting argon gas to prevent oxidation.

“Every one of us has had this moment when we wanted a glass of wine but we didn’t want to open the bottle,” he says. “Or you went ahead and had those two extra glasses and end up paying for it the next day, or you just go without and you waste the rest of the bottle. All of those experiences suck at some level.”

Plum says the wine stays fresh for up to 90 days. While Plum’s device is available to individual consumers to buy (for a price of about $2,000), Koretz says he decided last year to focus on the hotel market. Plum’s device can now be found at hotels such as the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley—establishments that cater to business travelers. “When you get off a five-hour flight, you don’t want to go sit at a bar,” he says. “You want to relax in your room and catch up on e-mail.”

But, typically in rooms, “you have a little dorm fridge; the same screw-cap … Next Page »

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