The Handy mobile device that will be installed in 70 South African hotels this year will revolutionise the way travellers connect both inside and outside the hotel.
With Handy one can make free calls, browse the internet and explore with the device while touring a particular city.
Some of the features include room to room dialing, up to four speed dials, travel alerts that allow guest to know about issues or delays in a particular city and a built in city guide. The best part: it is free of charge to a guests at the hotel.
Barry Clemens, the Sales Director in South Africa, says the idea came from the founder named Terence Kwok.
As an avid traveler himself, Kwok found it hard using his mobile device in foreign countries. Seeing the battle other travellers also faced, he started renting out cellphones at a Hong Kong airport in 2012. With the growing demand, he decided that he wanted to take the idea to hotels.
By 2015, the Handy was launched in Hong Kong, Singapore and later in London. With the success of that project, having targeted 100 000 hotel rooms in 3 key cities, Handy received a 125 million dollar funding to roll out globally, including countries like Brazil, parts of Asia and Europe, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.
Clemens said the President Hotel in Cape Town has already launched and hotels like One and Only, the Belmond and Riverside will be launched soon.
"The idea of Handy is for convenience. Travellers can take the device wherever they want to and its serves as their personal guide as they wander the city they in. The devices also benefit hotels as it strengthens guest and hotel interactions as well as brand their other hotel happenings," he said.
The device also comes in "handy" should guests be in a country where a natural disaster or terrorist attack would happen.
Clemens said those hotels using the devices will send out an alert to all hotel guests, advising them how best to handle the matter and will allow them to get to safety.
Made by the same makers of iPhone, Foxconn, the device cannot be stolen, so those wanting to pinch the phone from their hotel rooms after they check out would be billed accordingly.
Future developments include incorporating hotel key cards and remote to the device.
"We are constantly changing the device to enhance the experience of users. We will work with hotels to make sure that we provide a great service for all travellers," he said.