2021 brought on a travel boom, and last year, Destination Analysts projected reported that more than 83% of Americans had plans to once again venture beyond their backyards, either for work or play, during the 12 months. While evolving public health circumstances have caused a relapse in travel hesitancy for many, it has not halted journeys with the same strength as the onset of the pandemic. This means the hospitality sector is still on the hook to offer an outstanding guest experience that both wows and prioritizes health and safety guidelines.
For today’s technology-savvy guests, the right technology solutions are essential for the lux experience they expect from a hotel stay. Digital signage and interactive wayfinding are fast-growing communication channels for the hospitality sector because they can help guests embrace travel opportunities with confidence, pointing to all the amenities and services the hotel has to offer while being mindful of health requirements. Let’s dive into the most fruitful digital signage software integration options that can enhance comfort, convenience, and satisfaction for customers in each part of their stay.
Taking the Stress Out of Check-In
A guest’s first impression of a hotel begins at the entryway, and while there are new requirements to ensure guest and worker safety, there are technologies that can help make checking in seamless and simple. Beginning with access, kiosks equipped with virtual receptionists offer a way to monitor when guests enter the lobby to check-in, check out, or navigate the facility. A guest can simply enter a hotel, approach a check-in screen, and be greeted by a guest relations employee who can walk through the check-in process or answer questions without breaking social distancing guidelines. Screens that can populate surveys to confirm negative COVID tests, vaccination status, or symptoms are becoming increasingly common to ensure that guests remain at low risk during their stay.
On top of a warm welcome and streamlined check-in experience, the kiosk setup can include additional integrations to make it a one-stop spot for venue and travel details – with integrated wayfinding maps on a screen, travel information for nearby transportation hubs, details on upcoming events, and venue information in real-time, the kiosk can deliver all the information a guest needs for the duration of their stay in just a few minutes. An integrated content management solution throughout the hotel can also connect the kiosks with all other signage in the facility to ensure the information guests need is always consistent and available on demand.
Especially with high-interaction technologies like a check-in kiosk, touch-free software can increase guests’ comfort and improve hygiene. There are several options to choose from. With voice control prompts and QR code integrations, guests can simply speak or scan a code on their mobile device, provide their reservation details, and complete check-in without the need for touching a shared surface. The QR code option adds additional convenience, as it brings information on the screen directly to the guest’s device for the entirety of the journey throughout the facility, from the lobby to their rooms and everywhere in between. It’s worth noting that QR code-based interactivity can be added to any existing screen, whether it’s equipped with a microphone or touchscreen surface.
Point A to Point B with Wayfinding and Interactive Concierge Services
The role of technology in modern travel doesn’t stop at the concierge: Hotels need to implement next-generation solutions that can engage guests throughout the facility. Luckily, the latest developments in plug-and-play content management software make it easy for screens throughout a hotel to be updated in real-time, and like check-in kiosks, can include options or mobile control to remove the need for surface touches. High-resolution, QR code-controlled digital signage throughout a facility, especially in common areas like lobbies and elevators, enables guests to feel more immersed and connected throughout the duration of their stay while also promoting touch-free interaction for public health initiatives.
Navigating a hotel or resort can be confusing and frustrating at times, especially when routes change to accommodate social distancing and one-way traffic. Wayfinding solutions are specially curated to ease this customer pain point: Easy to update, a guest-favorite use for the QR code scan brings live indoor positioning pop-ups and turn-by-turn directions to your hotel’s restaurants, conference rooms, amenities, front desks, and parking lots – putting everything they need to get around right at their fingertips. The QR code scan is a valuable tool as it brings not only wayfinding directions to the guest’s phone, but can also detail available amenities, event and meeting space directories, key public safety notes, POS integrations, menus, and mobile wayfinding from any screen on the go.
Meeting space and event scheduling integrations with leading hospitality software providers – like DELPHI, EMS, Micros, Envision, Tripleseat, Ungerboeck, Google Suite and Microsoft Office –prove to be incredibly valuable to guests as professional conferences, parties, and other types of gatherings return to the hospitality sector. By integrating the wayfinding apps and kiosks with event management software, hotels can offer guests step-by-step instructions on how to find their destination within the facility while ensuring that conference room schedules are up-to-date and displaying the most essential information for guests’ stay. When integrated with event and conference room booking technology, the sales operations team no longer must update every single digital sign daily. Instead, meeting room signs and reader boards are dynamically updated with the latest room schedules. With the right content management software, many of these solutions can be automatically added to existing kiosks, video walls, and web browser integrations, further reducing upgrade and operational costs for hoteliers.
Content Matters: Choose the Right Partner
Technology is changing fast, and it’s everywhere. Now, your guests will not only expect that signage will be on-demand for information and wayfinding, but also that it will be responsive and convenient. To remain competitive, hotel brands must provide digital applications with dazzling visuals, stimulating infotainment, and functionality for easy use and guest enjoyment. With evolving public safety measures, integrated technologies like access control and interactive wayfinding solutions have transitioned from a luxury to a necessity. But content upkeep can be a challenge for teams whose dedicated IT staff is already spread thin – and on top of this, not all hotels have the same needs. To be limited to only one interface layout or to vendor content control on a digital signage system would be a travesty – boring for guests and a headache for administrators.
Content management software with plug-and-play templates has made these solutions more accessible. The right CMS allows administrators to manage their kiosks and wayfinding apps and incorporate their information into digital solutions that communicate established routes, promote guidelines and rules based on local health recommendations, advertise upcoming events and deals, and provide real-time feedback to ensure that each user’s experience is 5-star, all without the need for extensive custom programming. Drag and drop layouts and visual filter capabilities harness the power of digital signage in a simplified way and allow brands to communicate, entertain, and streamline navigation and information details into one convenient interface, while also allowing hoteliers to customize the look and feel of every sign, kiosk, and video wall.
Digital signage content management is no longer a novelty; instead, it offers guests a dynamic medium for entertainment, communication, and direction that optimizes the customer experience. Effective signage and guest engagement bring a competitive edge to hotels in high-traffic travel destinations, and with a trusted CMS platform, this technology can truly support the needs of guests in 2022 while enhancing the pleasure of hotel living.
About the Author
Tomer Mann is EVP at 22Miles. As a veteran in the digital signage industry with more than ten years, Tomer strives to enhance visual communication consulting services for higher education, hospitality, retail, transportation, government, corporate, venues, healthcare, and other large organizations.