NFC chips are everywhere nowadays. From travelers tracking down their lost luggage at the airport with Apple Tags to checking out at the grocery store, NFCs are now commonplace. So how did we get here? And where are hotel NFCs going?
“Near Field Communication,” or NFC for short, are tiny chips you can stick on anything or embed inside almost any product. They have a microchip and an antenna that can communicate with NFC-enabled devices (think phones, tablets, and warehouse scanner guns). When you bring your phone close to an NFC tag, you can read and write data wirelessly. Essentially, it's magic!
Where did NFC come from?
While these little guys have been around for a while, only recently have they become widespread. Two technology titans, Sony and Philips, were the first to invent NFC technology back in 2002, yet it took off when Apple Pay launched in 2014.
Almost ten years later, Apple Pay has been steadily gaining popularity. As of 2020, Apple Pay had over 507 million users worldwide, and the transaction volume reached an impressive $282 billion! Furthermore, Apple Pay accounted for 5% of all global card transactions last year, and that’s quite an impressive feat! NFC chips have become a reliable and convenient option for millions of customers worldwide.
What is NFC used for in hotels?
One of the most popular things you can do with NFC tags is to make mobile payments, but that’s only one of the countless applications for this wireless technology. With NFC technology built into many smartphones, you can communicate by tapping your phone on any NFC-enabled object to unlock countless actions.
NFC-enabled business cards
Launch a website
Lock and unlock doors
Share photos and videos
Connect to your car
Gain access to hotspots at hotels
Track your luggage or purse
Make wireless payments
Power on nearby lights
The use case for NFC tags is endless, which is true with NFC technology and the hospitality industry. Hotel and resort management has enjoyed the benefits of NFC-embedded devices for years due to revenue savings, and it’s more environmentally friendly. Best of all, guests love it.
Chexology and NFC
Take our company, Chexology, as an example. We produce software that ties to NFC technology, allowing our clients to ditch paper claim tickets in nightclub coat checks and with luggage at bell desks at popular hotels and resorts. Yet companies come to us every year with new ideas on how they’d like to apply our flexible software to their big challenges.
We’ve helped silent disco companies lend out more wireless headphones to dancers. We’ve worked with ski resorts to make it more convenient for their guests to check their skis and snowboards when returning to the hotel. We’ve advised museums on ways they can cut long lines in their lobby. We’ve enabled holiday gift-wrapping services to keep track of presents, and Nike used the platform to lend out new running shoes. We’ve tracked packages during conventions; enabled unique gift bags to be handed out to departing guests during immersive events. And we're excited to see how clients will use us next!
But that's not all! You can also use NFC tags for marketing and advertising. Stick them on posters, billboards, or other ads, and customers can access more information about your products or services just by tapping their phone on the tag. It's fun to engage with your customers through personalized experiences.
There are many other uses for NFC tags, like tracking inventory, managing supply chains, and even controlling smart home devices. It's exciting to think about all the possibilities!
If you have ideas on how Chexology can help you take advantage of NFC technology through our simple yet powerful iOS app within your business, please get in touch! We’re here to make your ideas thrive.
Here are some quick answers to a few of our frequently asked questions.
The future of NFC in hotels
IHS Technology estimates that there are now 2.2 billion NFC-enabled devices in circulation as of 2020. That’s a lot of compatible customers waiting to interact with brands!
Over the past few years, the adoption rate of NFC chips in hotels has steadily become the norm, with 64% of branded and independent hotels offering mobile room keys to guests while checking in (survey by New York University). We can only expect a future where travelers interact with multiple NFC-tagged experiences daily while visiting hotels, leading to higher guest satisfaction and savings in revenue.
Hotel managers can expect fewer and fewer paper luggage tickets, paper receipts, and physical room keys. NFC’s ability to completely replace paper is already a reality for trendier boutique hotels, and analysts predict the majority of hotel brands will make the leap to going fully paperless in the next five years.
NFC hospitality technology will allow hotels to be more environmentally friendly due to its diminished consumption of paper, plus the ability to cut costs on multiple. With a hotel staff shortage that has lingered for years, NFC technology like Chexology allows resorts to operate on a leaner team without running into the risk of employee burnout.
NFC technology is popular, reliable, cost-effective, and improves the guest experience. Expect NFC technology to accelerate growth among flagship hotel brands and trickle down to everyday life. It’s an exciting piece of gadgetry that’s magical qualities has yet to wear off on hotel guests.