According to L2’s Intelligence Report: Wearables, wearable devices must become more design friendly and aspirational before appealing to mainstream consumers. That hasn’t stopped brands (Virgin Atlantic, Kenneth Cole, and others) from getting a head start designing apps for Google Glass. Starwood Hotels is also beta testing the device in beta at its design-led brands St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element.
Google Glass is a natural fit for travel brands because of Google Now, which accesses itineraries, gives travel updates and notificiations about road conditions. With the Starwood Hotels’ app, guests can view photos and nearby attractions of more than 1,100 properties and pull up reservation details. They can request location-based turn-by-turn directions for exploring hotel properties and call hotel staff. The headset is “state aware” and detects when guests arrive on premises and customizes their experience.
The app looks promising, as other mega travel brand Virgin Atlantic’s two-month foray in wearables was a success. A survey determined that travelers had no negative reaction to staff members wearing the device, because it sped up curbside check-in by eliminating several questions asked from passengers. Starwood Hotel’s Glass app – designed by Starwood staff and featured as a Flash of Genius in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Prestige Hotels – can also be a hit if it creates a more seamless experience for guests.