With the rapid rise of hybrid work arrangements, and the increasing importance of various wireless and video conferencing tools for daily business operations, hotels now have an opportunity to become a favored destination for hosting business meetings, presentations, panel discussions and conferences. Combined with the shift away from large offices where such meetings were traditionally held, these trends often necessitate the use of rental spaces on an as-needed basis. To capitalize on these new business realities, hotels should aim to provide seamless meeting and conference room experiences that offer easy-to-use technologies across platforms and encourage repeat bookings.
Wireless Conferencing Isn’t the Future, It’s the Present
The American Hospitality and Lodging Association’s 2023 State of the Hotel Industry report revealed that meeting space layout and technology are driving venue selection. As in-person events continue to increase beyond pre-pandemic levels, roughly 20 percent of planned meetings involve a hybrid element that must be satisfied upon site visits to secure bookings1. It also found one of the biggest struggles venues currently face is shorter customer lead times, making it even more critical to advertise the investments made to improve meeting experiences.
Many hotels have already integrated digital displays and presentation systems to accommodate business activities, but the specific technologies deployed often introduce difficulties and delays if they are not optimized for the meeting host’s preferred device or virtual collaboration platform. As a result, hotel staff and guests can incur negative experiences that deter future bookings. To remedy this, hotels can adopt new room solutions that adhere to Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) principles – allowing guests to easily start meetings or presentations using their personal devices and ensuring excellent experiences for all users. BYOM solutions eliminate the need for bulky built-in equipment that often confuse and limit users.
Wireless conferencing solutions, for instance, can simplify and expedite meeting setup while improving room aesthetics and enabling hosts to present from anywhere in the room, free from the constraints of a podium or wall outlet. The latest wireless screen sharing solutions can be integrated with existing audio and video systems in just minutes to offer complete compatibility with all user devices without requiring any new construction or infrastructure. These screen sharing solutions can be extremely discrete and plug directly into a display’s HDMI port, offering power and capabilities that used to require an entire rack of equipment.
Seamless collaboration experiences for guests can be taken a step further with tools that enable screen sharing and videoconferencing without the need to download an application, removing barriers to entry to newcomers or one-time users. With modern solutions currently available, guests can also easily join the hotel’s guest network with connection information displayed directly on screen. Hybrid collaboration is only as seamless as the tools used to execute it, and it’s essential that guests be able to easily join meetings without the use of extra wires and devices that sacrifice the hotel’s design and waste participant’s time.
Small Businesses Are Leading The Charge
At the same time leading luxury hotels are reporting reduced guest room bookings and rates, they are simultaneously seeing record-setting conference room bookings. According to the latest research from CoStar, a commercial real estate information and analytics firm, major hotel chains have reported up to 25 percent increases in conference room bookings from smaller companies in 2023 compared to 2019, while larger corporations have reduced bookings2. This points to a significant opportunity to increase profitability through business travel events and local small business meetings that can develop into long-term relationships.
Price, availability and experience are top concerns for all meeting planners, and once price and availability are satisfied, the host and attendee experience becomes the deciding factor for whether a company will become a repeat customer. As technology integrators and hoteliers are well aware, even a single complication or meeting interruption can cause customers to seek alternative venues. Whether an event involves a video call on a proprietary platform or a digital presentation to in-person participants, every host now expects 100 percent clarity, connection reliability and compatibility with their hardware and software. Subsequently, delivering cross-platform capabilities is no longer optional for hotels that wish to develop reliable relationships and receive positive reviews.
New Solutions Combine Meeting Tools and Digital Signage
When integrating a new technology, return on investment is always a top concern. While increasing bookings is the most obvious benefit of upgrading to simple wireless and video meeting tools, some products also offer additional capabilities that can further enhance revenues. For hotels that include public-area digital displays or wish to utilize meeting room displays during non-booked hours, there are presentation solutions that also offer the ability to fill screens with branded overlays, customized images, room schedules or advertisements for other hotel services such as restaurants.
In order to satisfy every possible customer and need without breaking the bank, hotel managers, technology staff and outside technology vendors must all consider how to maximize performance and reliability. Using the latest wireless screen sharing and digital signage devices, they can offer simple, virtually foolproof solutions that make meeting setup a breeze and enhance meeting experiences for both hosts and attendees. When these solutions also provide compatibility with any user device, software or online platform, prospective customers can be assured that their event will go off without a hitch.
As bookings continue to increase and market trends push businesses to seek new venues for in-person and hybrid meetings, hotels that provide seamless technology experiences will attract greater revenues that can increase return on investment and overall profitability.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonas Gyalokay leads strategic alliances and sits on the board of Airtame which he co-founded in 2013. Throughout his tenure, Jonas has played an instrumental role in bringing the company into its current role as a leading hybrid conferencing, wireless screen sharing and digital signage platform for businesses and schools.