Strategic objectives for hospitality technology in 2019 puts a hyper-focus on improving digital customer engagement. Delivering on the mobile-driven and constantly connected needs of today’s guests will require robust bandwidth and uninterrupted connectivity. In this executive roundtable, three executives from hotel and technology companies offer advice and predictions on what trends are shaping the network needs for hotels and restaurants. These plugged-in experts also discuss new technology and capabilities that were not available just a few years ago and what they believe is vital to providing a foundation for the digital economy.
Mark Holzberg, CEO & President, Cloud5 Communications
Justin Jabara, VP Development and Acquisitions, Meyer Jabara Hotels
Richard Wagner, Network Architecture & Emerging Technologies, Marriott International
According to Hospitality Technology research (2019 Lodging Technology Study) enhancing bandwidth is not high on the list of strategic technology objectives, however all of the higher goals are dependent upon strong bandwidth. What would you offer as a word of advice (or warning) to operators that try to build up digital without a proper network infrastructure?
MARK HOLZBERG: Bandwidth is the foundation of a positive guest connectivity experience. Adding high-consumption applications, such as screen casting or voice-based engagement, to an over-utilized network will result in disaster for guest satisfaction. As capacity hog applications reduce the performance across the network, guest satisfaction declines, and guest scores suffer. The result of poor network infrastructure planning is ultimately less bookings and lower revenue as potential future guests bypass your hotel to book other local properties that have better online guest ratings and reviews.
JUSTIN JABARA: With today’s pervasiveness of technology, guests have adopted BYOD (Bring your own Device) into the world of hospitality. Whether a guest is attending a conference with a laptop, or a teenager is watching Netflix in their hotel room on their iPad, both events require robust Wi-Fi access. Fifty percent of that Wi-Fi solution depends on having plenty of bandwidth. Without that, the guest experience will become just as negative as an uncomfortable bed.
RICHARD WAGNER: Hotels need to plan to replace on-property networking equipment in stages. That is, plan to replace edge switches in phases and consider where they will be needed in the future (e.g. the need to support higher bandwidth with Wi-Fi6).