Pandemic-imposed lockdown measures worldwide in 2020 meant traveling became restricted and only necessary trips were advised. This gravely impacted the hospitality sector across the globe as numbers of guests that were able to travel for work or vacation dramatically decreased then ground to a halt. Now, after several lockdowns, we’re seeing vaccination programs roll out with 39.3 percent of the world’s population already receiving at least one dose, according to Our World in Data. With some semblance of normalcy on the horizon and traveling picking up again – despite the need for COVID testing, vaccination requirements, and in some cases quarantine, to cross borders – hospitality management teams are now looking to entice guests back through their doors.
Personalization During a Pandemic
Personalization is an essential tool to attract guests during this period of intense competition within the hospitality sector as we emerge from the global pandemic. Travelers are requesting greater levels of personalization in guest-facing technology applications, such as an in-room interactive IPTV portal. Interactive IPTV portals can be deployed so guests can easily request extra items, order in-room purchases such as food and laundry service, as well as book reservations at hotel restaurants, taxis or luxuries such as spa treatments. Beyond the guest room, thanks to integration with Property Management Systems (PMS), the hotel also knows, for example, what type of wine the guest ordered the last time they visited one of their hotel restaurants. Providing this information to staff via the booking system enables them to recommend the same wine as the guest had last time, a personal touch that makes the guest feel welcomed. IPTV innovations allow curated services that will be critical to the comfort and confidence of guests moving forward.
Another crucial element to intriguing guests to travel is by integrating hotel databases. Along with the comfort of personalization, databases can enable a unique and fully customized experience – e.g., providing select premium channels and movies or Gold-member only special promotions – and tailored further based on personal preferences. Personalization of data provides hotels with greater upselling opportunities through revenue-driving dynamic adverts and content via the in-room TV and mobile apps. For example, offering a special offer for a repeat order: “Since you liked this menu item on your last visit, here are some recommendations for you.”
ClubMulwala, a Sydney Australia-based leisure resort, is a great example of the importance of personalization and utilizing the database. The establishment provides self-booking dining, resort accommodation, day spa and beauty services, sport and social activities, all integrated an IPTV and digital signage system. This allows the resort to engage and communicate with travelers all while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions. Guests can book their own services that are tailored to their wants and needs. For example, families travelling with children will be targeted with appropriate promotions for the kids club, water activities, hotel toy shops, fun family excursions and so on.
Communicating COVID Safety Protocols
To allow guests a ‘safer than home’ experience, it is essential hoteliers put COVID safety protocols in place. Using IP video technologies across a hotel site is a useful method of sharing information with staff and visitors. Not only can digital signage display maps of the hotels, remind guests of social distancing, proper hand washing techniques and to wear a mask when needed, but it allows staff to avoid physical interaction during check in and check out. Guests are able to check themselves in and out with the advanced technology, decreasing contact and the chance of spreading the virus.
The Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC is an example of an IPTV system that can be used to remind guests about important safety measures. The resort offers 70 satellite TV channels and YouTube channels with full HD capability to support key 24/7 entertainment requirements while also using screens to display requirements such as reminders to wear a mask, handwashing and keeping a respectful distance apart. Since the is IPTV system is integrated into the resort-wide Wi-Fi network to allow streaming of TV shows onto mobile devices, guests can rely on their own streaming platforms, such as Netflix®, to provide extra entertainment across the resort, not just in their rooms.
Keeping frontline workers informed as they perform their daily tasks remains critical. Not only can IPTV systems tap into news feeds and broadcast programming that will allow them to see the latest news in real-time in hotels, but this can also be extended to the ocean, as evidenced by AIDA Cruises. The fleet of 5-star cruise ships is able to access high-definition international TV channels with interactive cruise services in each cabin. Public digital screens are installed throughout the ship to display directions and COVID updates to guests. Safety measures are also taken into consideration with the ability to automatically mute all TVs when emergency signals, announcements and COVID breaking news are in progress. Tech-savvy guests can enjoy all the amenities while knowing the ship has taken every safety precaution.
The latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that vaccinated people still take the extra precautions when traveling. But hoteliers that are deploying IP technologies to promote safety protocols for staff and guests are helping to relieve some of the concerns that travelers may have. The combination of the vaccination rollout across the world and hotels installing cutting-edge technology that enables excellent in-room infotainment experiences that’s equal or superior to what guests have at home, minds can be eased when beginning to plan trips in 2021 and beyond.