Enterprise IT departments have been tasked with securing their networks for end-user devices, payment systems (PCI compliance), and IoT devices. In the hospitality industry, they must also be ready for guest access when it comes to work and entertainment purposes. Over the past few years, guests have gone from needing a wired internet connection for their corporate laptop to requiring fast Wi-Fi access for laptops, tablets, smartphones and wearables. Not to mention, guests also want the flexibility to choose their own experience, like accessing streaming services on their in-room TV from their personal accounts.
From an end-user perspective, these needs seem minor. For IT departments tasked with handling a 6x increase in device capacity on top of the additional bandwidth requirements, it’s not an easy task. In addition to increasing capacity of their Wi-Fi network, they also have to be able to securely authenticate, on-board, and manage these devices. For streaming devices connected to their TV, they must auto log out users upon checkout. AI and machine learning will enable hospitality to better service their guests and make overall operations more efficient.
As hotels move towards greater energy efficiency with cloud-based software, smart energy management platforms supported by IoT devices will be able to gather real-time information on energy usage, temperature, humidity, air pressure, and air quality inside the rooms and lobby areas.
Energy management software can also track weather data and utility rates, while monitoring occupancy to adjust HVAC and lighting systems. As a result, these systems provide property owners with energy use patterns. Some hotels are now offering reward points for opting out of house cleaning during multi-night stays. With the usage of machine learning, hotel managers can offer guests discounts, a free drink, or bonus reward points by showing how their savings can impact the environment. AI technology can automatically optimize temperatures across the hotel when demand (and prices) spikes.
Another area that AI technology can impact hospitality is through the usage of a customized guest experience. For frequent travelers, they likely follow the same patterns. From a 6 a.m. wake-up call, to a certain breakfast meal, or automatic device connection, AI technology will allow hotel operators to know their customers and be able to better serve them. They’ll be able to automatically learn their preferences for a more personalized stay. As they learn what their guests preferences are, they’ll be able to recommend additional things based on the data learned from other guests’ behavior. They will also be better equipped to prepare for guest arrival, such as having the temperature preset, the TV turned to a certain channel, curtains at a particular spot, or ready to recommend a local running route, or popular brewery.
AI and machine learning technology will enable hotel operators to provide experience for their guests, which will drive repeat stays and, in turn, provide a great return on investment. As travelers desire better in-room technology along with a customized experience, cloud-managed networks will be an essential component for IT departments.
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