SINGAPORE - From next year, hotel guests here will be getting more tools to discover and experience Singapore on the go through a beefed up smartphone loan service.
The service will allow tourists to use loan smartphones to, for instance, find out more about destinations in the country and access services, such as directions to places and nearby food recommendations.
This is made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Hong Kong-based technology company Tink Labs and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Monday (Oct 17).
Tink Labs and STB will also jointly roll out marketing efforts to raise the profile of Singapore as a destination to users of the loan service in overseas cities.
The smartphone loan service by Tink Labs, called Handy, is already available to visitors who check in to more than 22,000 hotel rooms in Singapore, including those at Carlton City Hotel. The service allows hotel users to loan a smartphone, for free, with unlimited mobile data and talk time.
Under the new agreement, the Handy loan service will be beefed up to include new features, such as a chat concierge, on the loan phones from 2017.
The chat concierge will allow users to get help through a chat service, including asking for directions, getting food recommendations in the area, booking tickets or making reservations.
Users of the Handy loan smartphone will also be able to get customised tourism-related information based on their preferences and location, such as suggestions on tours, walking trails, deals and promotions.
Content from STB's YourSingapore website - featuring things to do, events and festivals and places to see - will also be made available on the Handy smartphones.
Another feature tourists can expect using the loan smartphones is augmented reality, which allows digital content to be displayed over what a user sees on the phone's screen through the device's camera.
This could include playing video clips that re-enact scenes from the past when the user is at a historical site and viewing the area through the Handy phone.
This collaboration with Tink Labs Limited is the latest in a series of partnerships STB has inked recently with major mobile chat services such as Kakao and WeChat.
Mr Philip Yuen, Tink Labs' chief technology officer and head of special projects, said that Singapore has been a priority market for the company from the outset, noting that the firm's "emphasis on connectivity, discovery, and efficiency resonate with Singapore's rich culture and history".
On the enhanced Handy service, Mr Quek Choon Yang, STB's chief technology officer, said that by enabling visitors to access relevant content and convenient services at their fingertips, "we are providing a truly seamless and in-depth experience for our visitors' stay in Singapore".
"This is in line with our ongoing Quality Tourism efforts to engage our visitors in more innovative ways," he added.
Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated incorrectly that the Ritz-Carlton is one of the partner hotels for the Handy service. STB made an error in its media release. The Ritz-Carlton is not one of the partner hotels for the Handy service.