Apple may be planning a Hotel app for the iPhone and Apple Watch that would compete with apps such as Mobile Passport.
The company has filed for a patent (number 20200302345) for “systems and methods for accessing hotel services using a portable electronic device.”
About the patent filing
In the patent filing, Apple notes that, as travelers stay in hotels or locations other than their homes, many interactions between the travelers and the hotels can take place. For example, a traveler can interact with a hotel to make a reservation, check-in, order room service, control room settings, use a concierge to identify attractions of interest in the vicinity, purchase entertainment options, check-out, and schedule subsequent aspects of a trip (e.g., order a taxi, reserve a rental car, or check-in to a flight).
All of these interactions can require distinct actions from the user from different devices or elements. For example, a user can call to make a reservation, check-in in-person upon reaching the hotel, order entertainment using a menu available from a television screen, identify attractions from a telephone or through an in-person conversation with a concierge, and check-out by receiving a receipt slipped underneath the user’s door.
Although this combination of approaches for interacting with the hotel and with the available hotel services can be serviceable, it remains cumbersome and requires the hotel to accommodate all of the possible forms of interaction, notes Apple. From a user’s perspective, the lack of centralization of interactions with the hotel and with the available hotel services can require more effort from the user wishing to take advantage of hotel services, and perhaps even dissuade the user from using available hotel services.
Apple wants to overcome such obstacles with an app for the iPhone and/or Apple Watch that can interface with one or more servers associated with the hotel. For example, the electronic device can connect with distinct servers associated with ordering services or goods from the hotel (e.g., room service), and with distinct servers associated with attractions, shops or stores to allow a user to make reservations, make purchases, or access information.
As another example, the electronic device can connect with the controls of a hotel room in which the user is staying to configure aspects of the room such as lighting, temperature, audio settings, video settings, bathtub settings, any other suitable room settings, or any combination of the above.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “This is directed to systems and methods for integrating hotel services in a single application available to a portable electronic device. Using the single application, a user can access and control hotel services before arriving at the hotel, upon arriving at the hotel, in the hotel room, in the local vicinity, and after leaving the hotel.
“Such services can include, for example, checking-in and checking out, purchasing in-room dining or in-room entertainment, making reservations at local restaurants or local attractions, scheduling hotel guest reminders, and controlling room setting either within the room or outside of the room.”