The Opus hotel in Vancouver made a somewhat shocking announcement last week. The hotel was ripping the landline phones out of its rooms and replacing them with iPhones. While that seems extravagant, it’s actually a rather brilliant plan.
The hotel, which already offers guests an iPad that can act as a concierge service, points out that offering guests, particularly international guests, an iPhone adds a lot of value. In addition to the value for customers, Apple’s free iOS management tools could make implementing such a program simple and relatively inexpensive – beyond the cost of the iPhones themselves anyway.
Offering an iPhone to each guest means that he or she can make calls while in the room, in the hotel, or anywhere they happen to go – that means guests who aren’t from Canada don’t need to worry about international roaming charges. It also means that they have quick and easy access to hotel services, which will be programmed into the phone along with a range of apps for entertainment and finding their way around Vancouver and surrounding areas. When a guest checks out, the iPhone is wiped.
Given the lending approach the Opus is striving for, this seems like an ideal situation for Apple Configurator. As we’ve noted since the initial release of Configurator earlier this year, the free utility seems tailor-made to situations where iOS devices are given to users for a specific use or timeframe and then returned and refreshed.
Configurator also makes the act of refreshing iPhones and iPads extremely simple. Once the needed configuration profiles are created and specific devices are prepared for use with Configurator, refreshing and updating can be as simple as connecting devices to the Mac where Configurator is installed. That process could easily work well in a hotel environment where front desk staff might not have a particularly strong IT background.
Although this is a single hotel, the practice definitely adds value and it could be replicated very easily. On a smaller scale, it would also make an excellent service for a bed and breakfast or smaller family run hotel.