At its heart, hospitality is a people business that specializes in comfort, service, and memorable experiences. At the same time, more and more of the business of hospitality is taking place online, on mobile devices, and across social networks—from browsing to booking, check-in to checkout.
As a result, today’s owners and operators are leveraging technology to better market their properties, enhance operational performance, improve their guest experiences, and much more.
How today’s digital technologies are being used
Technology for the guestrooms—WiFi, TV, the phone, tablets, electronic locks, energy management and more—is a major focus for hospitality along with property management systems (PMS), and reservation, check-in, and point-of-sale (POS) systems. Lodging establishments of all kinds are also investing in new digital touchpoints that are shaping the “intelligent hotel” of tomorrow: mobile POS, digital signs, digital security, and more.
What can the right solution do?
Revenues: To maintain revenues in a market that is increasingly competitive, hoteliers must invest in solutions that help set their properties apart and drive the loyalty that enhances their bottom line. For example, tracking loyal customers through the POS helps deliver the service that drives repeat business.
Guest experience: Today’s hospitality managers are concerned over "rising pressure from consumer expectations1." It is increasingly important to provide amenities and ambience that appeal to a new category of travelers it referred to as the Digital Elite. These travelers take more trips, plan them more often at the last minute, and end up spending substantially more on them than their less digitally savvy travelers2.
Given tight operating margins, high staff turnover, and the need to manage seasonal demand for staff, hotels need to keep costly overtime under control and prevent staff shortages from impacting service levels. The right technology solutions can address these challenges:
- Reducing errors and speeding processes, such as order taking and inventory management, through more integrated information management
- Increasing the size of orders by using mobile devices and self-service kiosks
- Driving optimal staffing schedules by using data from the POS
Outfitting guestrooms accounts for nearly a fifth of all IT expenditures in hospitality1: WiFi, TV, phone, tablets, electronic locks, energy management, and more. Property management systems and customer relationship management (CRM) technologies follow close behind. Spending on these three categories together accounts for almost half of hotel technology spending.
The balance of reported IT budgets are dedicated to support technologies, with PCI compliance, point of sale systems, workforce management, security, and digital signage accounting for a significant part of the overall IT spending.
The services opportunity
As you explore solutions, keep in mind that there are numerous opportunities for taking advantage of Intel® technologies to deliver ongoing services in the areas of content development and management via Intel® Retail Client Manager (Intel® RCM), with the ability to gather analytics on customer demographics and business patterns via Intel® Audience Impression Metrics Suite (Intel® AIM Suite), and remote management and maintenance via Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT).
What type of integrated hospitality technology solution is right for you?
Profile: Typically getting started with a small system or upgrading an existing system, an entry-level user is likely to be completely new to digital signage and or digital security with a neutral, indifferent, or possibly negative perception of its value in their establishment. With this customer, it is important to probe to understand the different ways these solutions can deliver value and educate the customer on the different roles it can play in his or her business.
Approach: Check-in and POS systems are their entry into technology applications. They may need more education about integrating the POS with the property management and CRM systems. Mobile POS and check-in should be discussed, if for no other reason than mobile POS can offer cost and flexibility advantages.
Driving Factors: Simplicity, reliability, and cost.
Profile: Mainstream users will typically have more familiarity with the value of integrating check-in, property management, and CRM technology, and may already be utilizing digital signage and digital security (with content management capabilities), but may be unsure as to how to make it all work together. With these customers, there may be dissatisfaction with existing solutions, perhaps because they may not have achieved the increase in occupancy rates or guest engagement that was expected, or are frustrated over ongoing maintenance or content management issues.
Approach: In contrast to an entry-level user, a mainstream sales prospect is likely to get more quickly focused on how to take advantage of specific features and capabilities to streamline processes that are unique to their property, such as appealing to a specific category of guest or providing a specific kind of service (e.g., business meetings, banquets, etc.). With this customer, it is important to probe to understand the underlying cause of the problems as to why the customer is not achieving his or her goals.
Driving Factors: Cost-benefit analysis, reliable performance, and simplicity.
High-end or advanced users
Profile: High-end or advanced users will adopt a more strategic view of the role that today’s digital solutions can play in their hotel. This business will look beyond the basics—check-in, property management, and CRM technology—and will want to take a comprehensive look at issues such as back office integration, multi-location networking, support for enhanced and personalized guest services, and integration with advanced systems, such as digital signage, security, and mobility.
Approach: This customer will likely be looking to expand or evolve their digital signage (with CMS) and digital security and surveillance solutions. This could be the result of a needed upgrade or update, a business change or expansion, or the customer may be interested in some specific feature or capability.
As this is potentially an up-sell situation, you will also want to take the opportunity to position the new capabilities that the customer may not be aware of, such as the easy and effective campaign management tools in Intel® Retail Client Manager (Intel® RCM) with Intel® Audience Impression Metrics Suite (Intel® AIM Suite) for audience metrics and analytics as well as out-of-band remote management capabilities via Intel® AMT.
Driving Factors: Advanced users will want to know that they are investing in a flexible, scalable solution that can grow as they grow.