There is a changing perception among hoteliers. The industry has realized that consumers are placing equal value on whether they can grab a latte to go in the lobby vs. whether the hotel offers the ability to order room service via an iPad (rather than the old-fashioned way of calling room service on the phone). The hotel guest experience has changed. Vacations are no longer a time to disconnect from technology. For many consumers, vacations are a time when these digital connections run the way we travel and enhance the experience. Whether for check-in, dining, and even opening up a suite door— there is now an app for that.

Early adopters of IoT technology in the travel and hospitality market will be able to truly provide “all the comforts of home

Developing the Digital Guest Experience

Forward-thinking hoteliers must now consider the “digital guest experience” as part of their customer engagement and capital investment strategies. Apps such as keyless entry and digital check-in are only the beginning. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what wearable technology and augmented reality apps will allow travelers to do. The digital guest experience is already moving towards the mainstream as an integral part of the hospitality industry. Early adopting hoteliers who are beginning to leverage the full spectrum of available assets, including reviews, social media, mobile devices and wearables are seeing improvements in customer satisfaction and retention, and increased revenue.

There are dozens of solutions available that expedite a hospitality provider’s ability to address each of the new opportunities. Hoteliers are considering a vastly expanded world of apps, devices and backend systems that are the building blocks, that when integrated, create this digital guest experience while introducing new complexities into an already complex hospitality software landscape. Along this path, CIOs and product management leaders find themselves walking a fine line balancing:

• Desired functionality that guests will find engaging and actually use. This is likely to vary widely given the different types of guests that hotels cater to and what services the hotel offers. Frequently, these needs might be different based on whether the guest is traveling for leisure or business.
• Flexibility of the platform to “play nicely” with existing software platforms already deployed in hotels– hospitality management systems (housekeeping, maintenance & engineering, etc.), food & beverage systems, invoicing/accounting systems, TV/video-on-demand/internet systems, etc.