Accorhotels UK and Ireland has introduced the ability for guests to chat with hotel staff using popular messaging service Whatsapp.

Instead of using their in-room phone to contact reception or other hotel facilities, guests can send a Whatsapp message to a mobile phone number given to them with their room key card on arrival. A member of staff monitors the requests and can respond to them immediately.

Guests can use the app to order room service (where available), housekeeping, or make a restaurant reservation.

Accorhotels says that because the service is available on their own mobile phones, guests can make requests whether they’re in the property or not, either before, during or after their stay.

The service is now available at around 90 per cent of the properties that are run from a mobile operating system introduced last year. It will be rolled out at further hotels in the future.

Thomas Dubaere, COO of Accorhotels Northern Europe, commented: “Guests want to communicate using the methods they are most familiar with. The use of Whatsapp has increased exponentially over the past few years and is a platform most of our guests tell us they feel very comfortable using, so enabling them to use it to order room service or ask reception a question is a logical step to ensuring they have the best possible experience in our hotels.”

Accorhotels has been moving toward mobile technology over the past couple of years, migrating its Ibis UK network to mobile devices, which allows employees to manage their schedules and offer guests assistants using an app.

Guests can also use the same platform to order food and drink, process payments and be sent receipts.

Carla Milovanov, senior vice president of digital and technology at Accorhotels Europe and Northern Europe, added: “Traditionally guests have to read the directory in their rooms with one number for housekeeping, another for the gym, another for the restaurant and so on. This process simplifies communication for guests so they have just one number for all their requests. Because we have already introduced mobile technology to allow staff to run the hotel from smartphones or tablets, staff monitoring Whatsapp requests can action them across all the hotel’s services, wherever they are in the building. It is a much more guest-friendly and a much more efficient way of managing requests.”

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