These four emerging (and in some cases surprising) trends are reshaping hospitality. Here are the metrics you’ll need to track for success.
Trend #1: Wi-Fi Infrastructure Overhaul
What It All Means: It isn’t surprising to see high prioritization of Wi-Fi access among guests. Today, guests travel with 2 to 3 personal devices (whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or laptop) and anticipate access to a high-quality Wi-Fi network. Availability of quality, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity is no longer a perk, it’s an expectation.
Wi-Fi connectivity must be robust, allowing guests to use the Internet in the same way they do at home, but furthermore access needs to be seamless and intuitive. Convenience is key for guests, and any bottlenecks will impact the experience, the brand, and of course those guest satisfaction scores.
The goal? Create a frictionless experience.
A philosophical shift in how guests view the availability of Wi-Fi has also caused hotels to reevaluate the service offering. Historically hotels could charge significantly for Internet access. That’s changing as guest expectations have shifted as well.
Trend #2: Enhanced Guest Room Technologies
What It Means: As it relates to technology, guest rooms were predominately known for flat screen televisions and on-demand content for purchase. These are still available today, but guest room amenities are evolving: the hospitality industry is focusing more intently on supporting the habits and demands of their guests, or delivering an “at-home experience.”
First and foremost, hotels are enhancing the availability and distribution of bandwidth to more effectively support consumption of high-quality content and the devices that guests carry with them (see Wi-Fi infrastructure overhauls above).
The industry’s mobile-centric strategy has extended to providing guests with ‘smart controls’ to configure their rooms and access amenities in the hotel property with their smart phones. As major hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood adopt this functionality it will surely emerge as a standard hotel amenity across the industry.
In the future, smart controls will allow guests to personalize their rooms in advance through the central hotel app, like pre-setting room temperatures, light preferences, even selecting mini-bar choices. Personalized, value-add services similar to smart controls is the way of the future for hospitality.
Trend #3: Harnessing Contextual Data
What It Means: Data gathered from mobile engagements are invaluable assets for a property and brand.
Wi-Fi analytics provides visibility into network and application performance, allowing properties to easily identify and mitigate potential inferences that would negatively impact the mobile experience onsite for guest.
Analytics also delivers detailed, actionable intelligence related to guests and their mobile engagement behaviors back to the business. Tapping this data is imperative for the brand to better understand their guests, and improve and personalize their guests’ experience.
Location-based analytical data provides a means to create an integrated experience for guests. Though still a developing technology, location-based data is certainly becoming a valuable tool for hospitality in the future. The opportunities are endless and still unexplored: from having an understanding of where guests are in a property, to being able to deliver promotions and services to guests based on their location, to augmenting operational efficiency in the hotel and beyond.
Trend #4: Increased Security Measures
What It Means: Cyber security, defending against hackers and cyberattacks, is a critical consideration for every company. Attitudes toward the investment in IT security are shifting, and will receive more and more funding in the future. This isn’t any different in the hospitality industry; in fact, considering hospitality businesses typically provide open and public-facing Wi-Fi networks for guest usage, security is a critical priority.
Not to mention, as payments become increasingly mobile-based, enabling secure transactions and protecting data privacy are in higher demand. In general, guest privacy and the security of guest information are growing challenges – especially over Wi-Fi.
Additional Hospitality Resources: