Holograms for Hospitality

The service and hospitality industry is struggling to overcome the bottleneck of staff shortages that has severely limited its bounce back from COVID restrictions. One innovative hotel operator, BWH Hotel Group, is planning to use holographic technology to lend a hand.

The company is expected to double the number of sites for its boutique brand Aiden over the next five years, but is concerned that it will not be able to hire the quality of staff it will need.

This is where the Holobox from Holoconnects can assist, as co-founder Marnix Lock explained. ‘Staffing is notoriously difficult in industries like hospitality, education, and healthcare – especially after the pandemic. The Holobox helps offset some of the operational demand placed on front desk staff and allows hotel brands to maximize talent better.

‘Each staff member has a unique set of skills, which may be best utilised across more than one property,’ Marnix said. ‘For example, some staff members may speak languages other personnel aren’t fluent in. Using our technology, customers can select their preferred language, and the team member that is fluent in that language will get a notification to serve the client.’ The technology behind the Holobox deploys a 2.18m transparent LCD screen with anti-reflection coating to create life-size projections with minimal ambient light reflection, 20-point IR Multitouch to allow touch operation and the option for 4k video conferencing to support real-time holopresence.

Holobox allows users to ‘beam in’ from anywhere in the world and can be used as an addition to a self-check-in or as extra support during high-traffic times when traditional hotel teams would otherwise be stretched thin across guest touchpoints.

Before entering the hospitality sector, the initial concept from Marnix and co-founder Andre Smith was named ‘Hololasting– a platform creating ‘everlasting memories’ in hologram form for future generations, such as for children and grandchildren.

‘We received a great deal of media interest and coverage on this concept, but we didn’t receive enough interest from the people that would leave a message behind in hologram form. But thankfully, due to the early buzz we had generated, we were able to contact corporations and marketing agencies that wanted to use the box for marketing purposes,’ said Smith.

On the question of improving productivity for hotel front-of-house service Smith had this to say: ‘one employee could serve between 30–60 hotels (with an average of 45 rooms) during the night shift via the Holobox. Based on our findings from a hotel client in Scandinavia, the ROI of one Holobox at one location can be achieved within 14 months.’ As for future plans, Holoconnects predicts that ‘beyond our rapid expansion into 7,000-10,000 hotel properties over the next five years, we plan to continuously improve the quality of our software with the feedback from our customer. We are also developing a Holobox that can champion the entire check-in journey, including a payment portal, digital key generator, and passport scanner.’ Marnix also notes that the Holoconnects team plans to open a US showroom very soon, which will allow prospective clients to interact with the technology in-person and kick off efforts to establish a partner network with designated resellers and distributors in different regions.