Recently a number of new iOS features were introduced at the 2014 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. In addition to the big features everyone expected (“HealthKit” and “HomeKit”), there were also updates that could end up having big implications for hotels and guests.
What it is: When this feature was initially released, it was limited to unlocking your iPhone and paying for iTunes purchases. With the release of iOS 8, the Touch ID API will be available to third-party app developers. In other words, get ready for the fingerprint frenzy.
What it could mean for hotels: Booking a hotel room becomes as easy as scanning your fingerprint. It could even be the next evolution of keyless entry to a hotel room. It’s clear the modern hotel guest wants things to be easy and seamless, and simplifying the identification and validation process is a step in the right direction.
What it is: I think we can all agree that Apple needed to update the way notifications were handled. With Interactive Notifications, users can take common actions — respond to a text, “like” a Facebook post, etc. — without having to switch between apps.
What it could mean for hotels: Reaching your potential guest should always be on the top of your mind. Social networks have enabled hotels to be in continuous contact with guests, and Interactive Notifications make it even easier to connect. Beyond encouraging social sharing, Interactive Notifications may allow a hotel app to expedite things like room service and check-in.
Notification Center: Widgets
What it is: Apple is allowing developers to build “widgets” that can live in the notification center and provide real-time updates and intelligence to the user.
What it could mean for hotels: The “Today” view of notification center just got a lot more helpful for travelers on the move. Widgets could be used for everything from flight statuses and check-in times to daily restaurant specials. This could prove useful for meeting and event attendees, who need to quickly make informed scheduling decisions.
What it is: Spotlight was always pretty good at searching your phone, whether for a contact, email or an app. In iOS 8, Spotlight will now intelligently consider things like context and location when you are searching. Even more important, the update allows Spotlight to search beyond what’s stored on your iPhone.
What it could mean for hotels: Instead of trying to track down your hotel’s phone number in a confirmation email, guests will simply search and call. Additionally, hotel guests can use Spotlight to search for nearby restaurants and quickly receive distance and contact information. Much faster than a visit to the front desk or concierge — and particularly useful when out and about.