At Intelity, we’re very proud of the level of quality of our ICE (Interactive Customer Experience™) guest service technology. It’s the leading service-enabled platform for the global hospitality industry and has been almost since we introduced ICE as the first of its kind during the early years in the mobile revolution.

Aside from our platform itself, one of the reasons we’ve been selected as the exclusive guest service technology provider to so many hotels and brands worldwide is that client service and support are our company’s top priority. It’s important to us that we go above and beyond when ensuring client satisfaction.

“I just really thought ICE was a great way to send a message to guests that you’re a forward-thinking hotel.”

- Adam Sperling, General Manager

This was evidenced when we experienced several unique challenges at Boston’s Hotel Commonwealth. The luxury hotel is renowned in the area not only for its world-class hospitality, but also for its recent designation as the Official Hotel of the Boston Red Sox.

At the end of 2013, Hotel Commonwealth selected Intelity to assist with the enhancement of its in-room technology.

General Manager Adam Sperling said he chose to work with Intelity based on the company’s reputation in the industry. “If I take it back a couple of years, maybe two to three, I first read about Intelity’s product in an industry trade magazine. It was intriguing. I know the Eliot Hotel in Boston up the road from me had Intelity technology back when it was a laptop on the desk versus a tablet. I saw it there, and they liked it and were having success with it, and I just really thought it was a great way to send a message to guests that you’re a forward-thinking hotel.”

Planning began in early 2014 for the deployment of ICE Bedside, which is Intelity’s software for use on in-room tablets, and ICE Mobile, a version for use on guests’ personal devices as a mobile app. In total, the installation of Android tablets in all 149 of the property’s guestrooms and the creation of a mobile app were scheduled to be completed over the course of several weeks in three phases: Planning, Construction, and Implementation, followed by ongoing post-deployment support and monitoring. Android tablets were chosen instead of iPads by the hotel’s ownership for cost savings.

The original deployment took only a week to get the tablets ready for use. Adam said the overall process went smoothly, and it was not until after installation completed that he realized there was an issue. About half of the guests were reporting that the application for use on the in-room Android tablets was crashing.

“Some guests would leave saying everything was great, but the tablet didn’t work. Clearly, our people were frustrated because we aren’t IT professionals here, so we’re at a disadvantage to begin with when it comes to that issue.”

The hotel relied heavily on the expertise of the Intelity’s support and engineering team, who immediately began working to accurately identify and troubleshoot the technical problems being experienced by guests using the in-room tablets. After running through a list of potential factors, it was determined that the cause of the problem was a necessary upgrade to the tablets’ operating system, which was unable to support the ICE application on multiple levels, causing it to crash.

Members of Intelity’s Engineering and Client Services departments took the reins and successfully addressed the problem to get the tablets running smoothly within a short period of time. The team also reviewed other elements of the hotel’s digital infrastructure, including the property management system, Micros Opera, to ensure the entire system was running smoothly and integrated with Intelity’s ICE properly.

“People use their smartphones and tablets for everything, and they should be able to use them in a hotel environment.”

- Adam Sperling, General Manager

Adam said he was pleased and impressed with how the situation was handled. “I really appreciate that the Intelity team didn’t get frustrated and didn’t let it go. I appreciated that I got a response from Intelity’s CEO when I sent an email to the salesperson expressing my early frustrations. The response was from the top, and it was immediate. He checked in with me throughout the process.”

He added, “From a customer service perspective, I really respected how Intelity dealt with it. And now here we are with the product I originally thought I was going to get and guest satisfaction reflecting that, which I think is terrific.”

According to Adam, ICE Bedside on the in-room tablets is the “signature” piece of technology at the property. Hotel Commonwealth also features smart TVs in all of the guestrooms and recently completed an overhaul of the entire WiFi system to provide excellent bandwidth to guests looking to connect to the Internet. He said they also plan to introduce mobile-to-TV streaming capabilities in the near future.

The hotel’s short-term goals for ICE Bedside and ICE Mobile are to send the message to guests that the property is tech-savvy. He’s pleased that the Intelity technology has allowed the hotel to move toward completely removing “old-school paper” from the guestrooms and putting everything into electronic form.

“People use their smartphones and tablets for everything, and they should be able to use them in a hotel environment,” Adam said. “Whatever resources they need, they get it off their smartphone in their everyday life, and we felt it should be the same in the hotel room.”

Long-term goals include:

  • Replacing print newspapers by adding the digital newspaper feature to ICE Bedside on each guestroom tablet for cost savings
  • Replacing traditional in-room minibars with a virtual minibar feature on ICE Beside
  • Add videos to the ICE applications about the hotel, its restaurants, and the surrounding neighborhood to help guests make the most of their stay
  • Increase guest engagement with the hotel through the ICE technologies

One thing that the new technology will never be used for is to replace the human labor at the property. Adam clarified, “There’s still a concierge in the lobby if someone wants to come down and talk to a person. But like I said, people in their everyday life use a smartphone and tablet to get information, so I feel like they should have that at their fingertips here to do the same thing.”

Overall, the Hotel Commonwealth project has been successful, with guests enjoying use of the new digital amenities.

“Now people like it,” Adam said. “They like it for the reasons I thought they would like it, the fact that it’s a nice piece of technology. They can email themselves a bill; they can check out of the hotel; they can look at the room service menu. Feedback now is all good. And people are using it, we know that.”

Adam is also satisfied with how Intelity handled what could have been a negative situation by working tirelessly to make it a positive one. “It was a process, and we worked through it, but as I sit here today, it’s terrific.”