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Executive Insight Q&A: Digital Signage, Mobile Marketing, and Automated Retail Are Transforming Hotels

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How can technology help drive a personalized guest experience?

As travel picks up from the historic low levels during the peak of COVID-19, hospitality brands are seeking ways to respond to new guest behaviors and preferences that shifted significantly during the pandemic. Guests increasingly expect more contactless, yet personalized and meaningful experiences from hotels.

Hotels are leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver real-time personalized recommendations for dining, excursions, and vacation packages based on guests’ personal profile and travel history. Imagine a guest’s delight when the hotel chain remembers their favorite cuisine and before their visit recommends restaurants that align with their tastes and when they enter their room, the thermostat is preset to their desired temperature.

What are some opportunities for digital signage and mobile marketing to enhance both the guest experience and revenue?

As loyal guests opt-in for enhanced marketing communications from hotel chains, it creates a plethora of opportunities to offer personalized messages to guests. When a guest approaches the hotel, geolocation technology can alert the hotel bellman to greet the guest by name as they arrive and assist with their luggage. As guests approach a digital display or kiosk, the message can be personalized and relevant based on their profile and preferences. Personalized promotions on mobile devices and digital displays around the hotel and in guest rooms can be more compelling – driving increased revenues for the hotel.

As hospitality operators learn to think more like retailers, how can automated retail play a role?

For several years, retailers have embraced a mantra of “mobile first” with an emphasis on contactless experiences. A mobile, contactless strategy is becoming more common with hotel chains as they leverage enhanced mobile technology to enable guests to control room temperature, lights, shades, TV, and other in-room amenities. Using guests’ mobile phones as a room key is becoming common, as well as voice assistant technology to order room service and book other hotel activities and services through voice-recognition. And technologies like augmented reality can give hotels a range of tools to illustrate their services and convey information, while providing new interactive experiences.

Privacy and data security remain top of mind for guests. How is technology evolving to ensure secure transactions?

Point-of-sale intrusions and crimeware (both forms of malware), stolen credentials and exploiting security gaps contribute to the majority of data breaches in the hospitality industry. Managed software-defined networking solutions can provide a secure, cloud-based environment that enables more visibility into and control over the devices and applications that connect to your network. Hospitality companies must also continuously improve security around payment card information with end-to-end data encryption, PCI security, next-gen firewalls and advanced intrusion-detection systems to guard against threats like malware. They should also include security for 5G and MEC capabilities, traffic-filtering and network-monitoring tools for a more proactive defense.

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