Tech That Takes Guest Experiences Up a Notch
You arrive at your hotel, strolling through the front entrance, or perhaps, the casino. You may be tired after a long flight, or after an even longer day of meetings. Maybe you’re at the start of a brief getaway, a little adventure in a new spot.
You pull out your wallet as you approach reception to check in. Then it hits you: a lobby replete with a video wall, lots of digital signage, and engaging content to let you know where everything is at your destination—from the pool to the bistro, to the surrounding properties. You relax.
“What we see is that a lot of hotels are putting in the ‘wow’ factor tech in the lobby area, behind the check-in desk; a video wall displaying various aspects of the property from the pool or bar, with more displays in the bar featuring sporting events and other entertainment,” said Joseph Yost, director of integration, CCS Presentation Systems. “This hospitality market is growing as the tech becomes more affordable and mainstream.”
This is evident, he said, particularly with larger hotel brands. The goal is to reflect the brand’s particular style by way of creative art walls. “I’ve seen art walls that reflect the environment or region as well as those that reinforce tribal lore for Native American properties. Some are crazy ambitious, over-the-top walls that are thought provoking.”
Layouts, too, have become more elaborate. “They’re not all your square or rectangular walls anymore,” Hoffert said. “These are designed to be much more eye-catching.”
In hotel rooms themselves, the higher-end suites are also being treated to the newer AV experiences, such as professional displays Hotel TV from Samsung.
Not surprisingly, employee age plays a role in operating hospitality AV, Yost said. “Millennials are coming into the hospitality workforce, and in contrast to a lot of older, upper management staff, have been brought up with technology, and they want and expect to implement it. Hotels and the whole hospitality industry are catching onto this. With digital signage and networking costs coming down, it’s more affordable to install more technology in a property. From one central location, I can promote a property to several different areas by using one marketing employee to create content and push it out.”
It’s Not Just the Lobby
In brand-name hotels, the AV technology is not only in lobby digital signage but behind hotel bars with refrigerators that are themselves clear displays, promoting a favorite beverage or a certain drink, or menu offerings. “And if a vendor wants to place a product in a hotel, they may be asked to pay for advertising it, the way a grocery store is paid for endcap product placement,” Yost said. “A restaurant can be advertised on the hotel’s digital signage for a monthly fee.”
There’s no city that capitalizes better on product placement advertising than Las Vegas, which also happens to be a world leader in high-end hospitality. “If you walk into any of the hotel malls you see the digital signage all over the place with ads for products sold in their shops.”
Don’t Forget to Upsell
Like other markets, hospitality includes opportunities for upgrades.
As more and more properties implement large-format touchscreens, try offering virtual concierge experiences to help those businesses become more guest friendly, Hoffert said. “In the hotel convention centers, clients are looking for additional automation. You can walk through a hotel and see a piece of paper with a schedule of events and meetings; this requires labor. Now, we’re seeing small-format displays of 32 inches or smaller that auto read the data and keep information relevant. And integration of digital menu boards, touch or non-touch, allows for easier updates.”
This can all be tied into the point-of-sales system living in the hotel’s restaurant, for example, with descriptions of what’s offered. “A full option is touch, interactive systems,” he said. “And there’s more coming. I’ve been told that when you go to a McDonald’s in Japan they know who you are. It’s crazy; we’re playing with some fun stuff.”