The hotel as a hi-tech playground
How does a young, dynamic company with structures in Italy and China view the future of hospitality, especially with regard to the question of technology? We asked Piergiorgio Mangialardi, one of the founders of Allegroitalia.
“For our Allegroitalia-branded structures we have developed an app designed to encourage guests to socialise. When someone books, they are asked if they are travelling alone, as a family with children or even with a dog, and the app carries out a matching process. The idea is to bring together people with similar interests who might like to do things together, so opportunities for meeting are proposed: a drink at the bar maybe, a walk with the dog to a park or even a game of table tennis. The hotel is structured with various communal elements that encourage socialisation. We also offer other special services: every weekend from 10am to 10pm entertainment for children is organised, where kids are not simply ‘parked’ but involved in specific play activities and in what is known as ‘edutainment’. That is something the growing group of single parents appreciate in particular.
How is the service you offer guests going?
It has received a very positive welcome. Not everyone downloads the app, but that is only to be expected.
What technological amenities does the hotel have?
Tablets are made available free of charge to anyone who needs one, and of course there is free wi-fi. The rooms have smart TVs connected to the internet, so you can access your own Netflix account, say, or another streaming service.
Any new ideas?
We’re looking at chatbots (software designed to simulate a conversation with a human being) to take internal orders, through Messenger. The advantage here is that you get an immediate reply, because you don’t have to go through reception, which might be busy or need to put you through to someone else, for example the bar or restaurant. The time is ripe for this kind of thing: guests are used to chatting in this way on their smartphones in their daily lives.
What do guests expect from a hotel stay nowadays?
They want to play and have fun, and that is the principle we go by. We think of the hotel as a place to have a good time in, with games, driving simulators, with scooters and bikes also on offer.
If money were no object, what technology would you put in your hotels?
Advanced Zero Gravity movement games, with all their emotional appeal. We are also looking at other virtual reality experiences, such as a black room that takes guests into a parallel world. That will be starting soon in our Turin hotel.