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Realtime View of Hotel's Backbone Streamlines Guest Experience

The two most important trends in the today’s hospitality industry are sustainability and streamlining the guest’s stay experience. The Lam Group is making those concepts key components of its recently opened showpiece hotel, Aloft Brooklyn. The hotel is helping pilot the Smart Check-In initiative from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., in which select members of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program employ their SPG cards as reusable RFID keycards.
Lam Group was seeking a seamless, integrated technology platform that could provide real-time operational insight into the hotel’s RF-equipped locking system while also accommodating another of the group’s priorities — a comprehensive energy management system that would deliver green efficiencies without compromising the guest experience. Just such a pair of integrated solutions was found with VISIONLINE and Orion, both from VingCard Elsafe.
Before arriving at Aloft Brooklyn, guests participating in Smart Check-In receive a text message indicating their room number. Upon arrival, the guests can proceed straight to their guestroom, with the SPG card already activated as the keycard. This is possible thanks to the patented VISIONLINE wireless networking platform that connects the hotel’s standalone RF-enabled electronic locks and other guestroom devices and systems, including Orion, via central property server.
Meanwhile, VISIONLINE communicates with the Orion EMS — which is comprised of motion sensors, thermostats and other data collection devices — to give hotel management a real-time dashboard overview of conditions throughout each of the hotel’s 176 guestrooms. This provides valuable information such as occupancy status, temperature and total energy consumption, which collectively inform hotel staff about which guestrooms are the most energy-efficient and offers clues on how to improve the hotel’s utilities consumption for the sake of the environment and the property’s bottom line. In fact, utilities savings have been estimated at 25%, which means Orion saves The Lam Group many thousands of dollars a year.
Moreover, VISIONLINE can be programmed to automatically assume control of ambient temperature when guestrooms are unoccupied, resetting to the preset temperature upon guests' return. Orion then interfaces with the hotel's property management system to pre-condition the room upon guest check-in and automatically engages energy-saving mode upon check-out.
Aloft has experienced other benefits for operational efficiency, as well. Because hotel staff can communicate with individual locks from computers throughout the property, VISIONLINE eliminates the need to manually encode keycards, to cancel master cards or to manually monitor locks’ battery life. A remote audit trail and live card-tracking capabilities provide staff with crucial room access information in the event of a guest dispute over missing property. The system can be customized to automatically notify select managers via text or email in the event of a security situation, such as a door ajar or if someone attempts to access multiple guestrooms.
Not only has VISIONLINE added to the perception of Aloft Brooklyn as a hip and modern property, but it offers improved staff operations and sustainability. More importantly for The Lam Group, VISIONLINE gives amazing insight and control over the entire hotel’s security apparatus, all while contributing significantly to the company’s profit margin.
Hung Luk is the executive director of The Lam Group, which owns 10 hotels in New York City and Philadelphia, including the 176-room Aloft Brooklyn. Luk is responsible for daily operations of the portfolio and serves as the company’s head of franchise relations. He is also an executive committee member of the Association of Starwood Franchisees & Owners of North America (ASFONA).

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