The Hospitality Industry Needs to Revolutionise the Entire Customer Experience
Think about what you enjoy when you check into a hotel. The important things used to be whether the bed and pillows were comfortable, and whether the room's TV had enough cable TV options to satisfy your entertainment needs. Today? Those expectations have a far higher ceiling.
Many hotel guests already have smart technology at home. The hotel experience needs to be at least on par; surely, it can't be a step down. Smart room technologies that control room temperatures, lights, curtains, video, and audio all need to be easily accessible and controlled via a guest's mobile app, if not by voice assisted technology.
But more than those in-room facilities, hoteliers looking to build better facilities need to ensure that the technology they invest in provides the foundation needed to support all aspects of their business, across the digital touchpoints that include hotel operations, guest services and communications, events, and more.
Bringing exceptional contactless experience to the hospitality industry
One of the most obvious aspects of digital adoption is around contactless solutions. In a world where reduced human interaction is generally favoured, contactless technology has transitioned to become the new lever for improving guest experience and safety.
While there's no question that guest experiences remain a top priority, adapting to the new normal to ensure human interactions are kept to a minimum for safety reasons requires rethinking what it means to be touch-less. And hotels have to do this while ensuring comfort and convenience are not compromised as part of their guests' stay.
The creation and adoption of touch-less technologies add a touch of personalisation without the risks associated with interactive surfaces.
A report from Skift revealed that COVID-19 has driven hoteliers across the world to adopt contactless payment (43 per cent), digital messaging for guest requests (28 per cent), self-service check-ins (27 per cent), and smartphone-activated room keys (17 per cent). This study tallies with the conversations we're having with our customers in the hospitality sector in Asia, where we learnt that mobile check-in/out, mobile ordering, mobile payment and mobile room control are some of the technologies they have either embarked on or are in the process of accelerating to achieve a contactless experience.
This is part and parcel of figuring out how best to serve hotel guests. As such, understanding and responding to their needs is critical to the post-pandemic recovery for the sector.
Harnessing the power of connectivity and garnering insights from your data flow
Poor online connectivity—once practically expected in hotel rooms across Asia—is no longer acceptable, given that the average traveller today carries up to three or more devices. And catalysed by the pandemic, hotel guests will have outsized expectations that they can continue to access the services they use at home.
In this hyperconnected age, hoteliers can't afford to slow their adoption of digital tools and solutions. A unified network infrastructure will be crucial for businesses to not only maintain the performance of their network but to harness the power of data to provide personalised offers and services to guests. In fact, though the ability to harness data is critical to the performance of hoteliers, in a survey conducted by Aruba in 2021, 25 per cent of hospitality IT decision makers said there was simply too much data for their systems to handle. They could not process the data they collected to act in a timely manner.
The good news is that hotels can look to solutions like Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP), which unifies network operations with AI-powered features to not only monitor the network and application performance round the clock but provide real-time visibility on network failures before they impact the business.
What's more, Aruba's cloud-based network architecture helps established hoteliers like IHG to follow and enhance a guest's entire journey, including arrival, check-in and stay. Guests, meanwhile, can access wireless networks easily, see a personalised display of their name on the TV, order room service or experience late check-out on the device if they so chose.
The network infrastructure also enables IHG to roll out more value-added services, such as high-definition video conferencing service for guests in the future.
Transforming the hospitality industry without breaking the bank
On the other hand, many of today's hotels still deploy multiple networks. These are often siloed and distributed, which creates greater complexity for IT teams in these organisations. From multiple cloud providers to network systems, organisations use these different platforms to run different applications and tasks on the ground.
This is where having a high-performance WLAN combined with Wi-Fi access will ensure seamless connectivity for both staff and guests. In fact, a Wi-Fi’s reliability can severely impact customer loyalty.
Aruba’s latest Wi-Fi 6/6E access points, when deployed as an IoT platform, can enable network convergence by supporting multiple protocols. With network convergence, hoteliers now do not require separate cabling and infrastructure devices such as switches and access points. This not only enables seamless and simple integration but can help save approximately 60 per cent of the overall infrastructure costs.
The hospitality industry was in a healthy place before the pandemic. COVID-19 changed all that, but the situation also represented opportunities for the sector to transform, to embark on projects to bring in new technologies and develop a hospitality experience commensurate with the times in which we live--the digital, hyperconnected era.
If for no other reason, it's a time for hospitality organisations to build trust and loyalty when people are looking to get outside, travel and discover new horizons. Hotels will be remiss if they think they could offer the same old experiences--bad connectivity that can't even get emails with attachments out of an outbox, never mind Netflix.
If you need Opinion or Consultation to support your Wireless Infrastructure, reach out to our Networking Experts at (65) 6978 3502 / 6978 3505 or Chat us now!