On opening my Schani App, I'm greeted by "Welcome to Hotel Schani Wien! We are the SMART Hotel in Vienna for modern tourists from around the world." Sounds good. Can't wait to go. A trip report.

The mission: taking a look at a newly-opened next-generation hotel. Booked a flight and, to be precise, room 220. Because, that's something that Hotel Schani at Vienna central station also allows you to do: To book the exact room you want online, which, in my case and by preference, is one that will have morning sun☺. One click, and its mine for the night.

A media magnet

Hotel Schani, which claims to uniquely combine Viennese tradition and the modern, has already received a lot of media attention. However, now that the hotel is up and running, journalists are even more excited and curious about what exactly the hotelier family Komarek means by that. There are a number of good reasons why Hotel Schani was selected as the partner for the 'hotel of the future' research project conducted by the Fraunhofer IAO Institute even before its construction had actually started. As such, it was also purposely given a lot of PR coverage well in advance of its opening. How did Anita Komarek, the hotel's PR manager, describe it again in a recent interview? "Everything in the hotel is multi-functional."

Meaning primarily the equipment and furniture in the lobby, which doubles up as a co-working space. However, it also referred to the fact that, when it comes to designing a modern hotel, its not so much ideas that are crucial to success, but how they are used, and: technology. And this is where Apps and hetras come into it.

Every precious minute counts – no reception time, more living time

Buchen im SchaniLooking back at the website again, it says "Here at Hotel Schani, we have broken new ground so you have more time to enjoy your stay." Schani's innovative technologies make booking, selecting and checking into a room extremely easy and quick." These technologies and associated cloud technology are produced by partner companies like Zaplox from Lund/Sweden and hetras from Munich. It is also these technologies that make sure that Schani's guests get maximum time for the actual purpose of their visits, such as visiting the trendiest hotspots in Vienna, as opposed to being stuck at reception feeding the same old data into yet another computer again.

By which I mean that I simply checked into the hotel in advance from my home in Düsseldorf in Germany. To do so, all I needed to do was download the (free) App, from which you can also book a room in a matter of minutes. Or, if you prefer, you can also click 'Book now' on your laptop or tablet. What's novel: you can also select the room you want when you make your booking. An optional extra equivalent to the ability to select a seat when booking a flight. Remember the days when people didn't care what seat they would get? Which is very different from now, where passengers check in as soon as they can in order to avoid ending up in a middle seat.

Choosing your room in advance – just as you would a seat on a plane

Which you can now also do with your hotel. And as Hotel Schani clearly demonstrates: it works. You simply look at the hotel online, select the floor you want and then a room. 'Smart Street' rooms, for example, are described as offering 'maximum sleeping comfort in our luxury bed. Large windows with an invitingly padded window seat for maximum relaxation.' Read: putting your feet up. Gotcha! Not sure whether I'll get round to lounging on the window seat, but the room with its 'king-size double or twin bed with luxury pocket spring mattress', 'XL shower with raindance showerhead' and '40" HD flatscreen' sounds pretty good.

And then, of course, there is the 'ultra-high-speed WLAN', which is available for free throughout the hotel. About which Anita Komarek has the following to say: "If people like to and actually do a lot of things from their mobile devices, they should obviously also be able to do so when staying at a hotel. Although smaller family-run hotels might beg to differ on this, high-speed wireless Internet access is an absolutely must for a modern hotel."

hetras Room Key, running Hetras Cloud Based Hotel Management SoftwareLast but not least, the only thing left to try now is my Schani Mobile Key. I have verified my identity through the App and by email and have been told that I can check in at 14:00. At the moment, all my phone says is: "You do not currently have any keys." Which, it strikes me looking at my bunch of keys, isn't quite true, but this time the keys in questions are also quite different,☺and so the message on the App continues: "When a key has been generated or shared with you, it will be shown here." Can't wait to get mine!


More from Elke Tonscheidt on www.ohfamoos.com




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