Cell Phones Make Purchases

The Ambassador Conference Resort in Kingston, Ontario, is now combining both mobile phone and cardkey technologies over a wireless network, allowing guests to use either a mobile phone or room keycards to purchase Coca-Cola products from vending machines. With a cell phone, a customer can dial the number listed on the vending machine and make a product selection. Hotel guests see the applicable charges appear on the hotel invoice at checkout. Bell Canada (bell.ca) is the wireless service provider and cStar Technologies (cstartech.com) is the vending and wireless technology enabler. The hotel initially rolled out the system as a test, which is now completed and results include increased sales, and improved guest satisfaction. The cashless system reduced the hotel staff's time on supporting coin exchanges and coin jam problems. Even with the trial stage over, the Ambassador Hotel continues to offer the cashless vending service to guests. Existing vending machines can be updated with cStar's processing module to handle cell phone and smart card transactions; there is no need to invest in new vending equipment. The vending machine does not require a wired online connection to process a cell phone transaction as the installed module can create a wireless link to forward transaction data.
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