With the official announcement of iBeacon by Apple as part of their iOS 7 release, and countless subsequent Bluetooth proximity beacon manufacturers entering the market, BLE beacons are not only becoming lower cost, but enterprises world-wide are beginning to roll out the technology in great scale. The newest of which includes hotel conglomerate Marriott, as well as American Airlines and EasyJet.
Marriott recently unveiled their new LocalPerks feature as part of their expansive rewards program for visitors, hoping to capture the attention of the tech-savvy millennial generation by offering proximity based rewards depending on location within a Marriott property. By placing BLE beacons discretely around Marriott locations, any visitor with the Marriott iOS app and Bluetooth enabled can benefit from location rich rewards, such as a push notification coupon for a massage as they wander past the spa, or discounted dinner at an on-site restaurant. As it stands, only a few locations, including the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, are offering the program, but the technology will slowly roll out at additional Marriott locations world-wide. In addition, currently the location based rewards only apply to on-location perks, but eventually Marriott aims to push relevant offers to visitors for surrounding neighborhoods in conjunction with local partners, adding even greater benefit for hotel guests.
AMERICAN AIRLINES & EASY JET
Virgin Atlantic may have been the first airline to trial run iBeacon Technology in London Heathrow’s Terminal 3, but other airlines are following closely in toe, and at much greater scale. American Airlines recently announced the industry’s largest iBeacon deployment in conjunction with industry technology provider SITA, aiming to roll out iBeacon in 10 airports by the end of the year. American Airlines is currently piloting the program in their Dallas/Fort Worth location before large scale implementation takes root. The updated American Airlines app will initially feature mostly way-finder based features, sending relevant information to visitors such as walking times and routes to gates, as well as real time flight status updates. Eventually they will extend the use of the technology to include airport vendors and other points of interest. Similarly to American Airlines, EasyJet, Europe’s notoriously low cost carrier, has also announced implementation of iBeacon in select airports, including London’s Gatwick and Charles De Gaulle in Paris, starting this summer. For now, EasyJet will focus on more utilitarian functions, such as push notification reminders to pull out boarding passes as flyers approach their gates, but will likely add continued functionality and features as time progresses.
There is no doubt that iBeacon technology has extraordinary potential in both the hospitality and travel sector, not only aiding in directional cues, but delivering highly relevant content that is likely to revolutionize the way we experience these industries as we know it. The Marriott and Airline deployments announced above are in sync with some enterprise developments currently under way utilizing our Apsima proximity awareness platform, signaling industry-wide initiative by iBeacon developers to utilize proximity technology to enhance visitor experiences in similar ways. Stay tuned with us as we continue to follow large-scale iBeacon deployments world-wide.