After months of shutdowns and restricted capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels, casinos, cruise lines, and other hospitality venues must now adjust for an influx of guests as travel picks back up again. The challenge is to create an enjoyable guest experience that encourages return visits, while meeting the highest standards of health and safety and, ultimately, turning a profit.
Video content analytics technology can help.
Most hotels already leverage video surveillance for security; complementary video analytics software goes a step further by making that video content searchable, actionable, and quantifiable based on AI-driven identification, recognition, and classification of objects in video. For hospitality management, this means video content can be reviewed on demand, acted upon in real-time, or analyzed in the long term to uncover trends - even across multiple locations. This is critical for hotels and hospitality chains as they seek to optimize operations, drive revenue, and enhance guest experience.
Health and Safety
In today’s climate, a key focus of hotels is restoring and maintaining guest confidence in the safety of a venue. Video analytics can help hotel staff measure and comply with key requirements – both to increase safety and build trust – such as managing occupancy levels, monitoring mask wearing and physical distancing compliance, and – in some scenarios – conducting contact tracing when an employee tests positive.
Video analytics enables operators to trigger real-time alerts when certain pre-defined conditions are met and allows for immediate assessment, decision-making, and intervention to developing situations. For instance, alerting when the number of inhabitants exceeds an occupancy threshold helps drive situational awareness and real-time response in COVID-19-related health and safety scenarios, as well as ongoing fire safety and general overcrowding scenarios.
In addition to proactive alerting, following trends based on visualized video data enables hospitality venues and chains to leverage heatmaps and BI dashboards to understand where overcrowding tends to occur, develop plans to prevent it, and configure alerting logic to respond proactively when overcrowding or physical distancing violations occur. This provides value for operations teams, enabling them to manage facility cleaning and maintenance by providing intelligence on visitor traffic and usage, such as how frequently guests are using the public restrooms, the pool, or the gym and alert employees in real-time when a facility is due for a clean-up.
Similarly, proximity identification filters can be used both for monitoring long term compliance with mandates as well as facilitating contact tracing, in the short term. If a staff member or guest contracts COVID-19, managers can use video analytics to determine whether the infected person was within a six-foot radius of other people for more than 15 minutes during the contagious period, and whether he or she was wearing a face mask at that time.
Customer Experience & Operational Efficiency
Health and safety are paramount, but hospitality venues must also ensure an enjoyable guest experience and efficient operations. Video analytics can shed light on guest demographics so hotels can better understand who their guests are, whether they are appealing to their target audience, and how best to target them and expand their reach moving forward. Reviewing traffic data and demographics also helps determine which customer segments tend to participate in planned events or attractions, to help hotels make data-driven decisions about which events and services to provide to encourage return visitors.
Video analytics can also assist with planning more inviting floor layouts by providing insight into visitor activity, such as dwell times and common navigation paths. This enables users to determine which parts of the facility are drawing crowds and which could benefit from more customer-friendly amenities. By processing and visualizing guest activity data, hotel staff can uncover where guests congregate, determine how to optimize their experiences, and understand which amenities and services most successfully boost customer satisfaction.
Customer service teams can leverage sophisticated video analytics, such as license plate recognition (LPR) capabilities, to enhance engagement with consenting VIP customers. Face matching and LPR enable operators to receive notifications whenever VIP visitors or their vehicles are detected and identified on the premises, for driving immediate and personalized guest engagement. These technologies can also facilitate staff management, by identifying staff to make sure they are effectively dispersed throughout the venue to drive optimal customer engagement.
Awareness of traffic and crowding patterns is key for queue control and bottleneck prevention at check-in or waiting areas. By aggregating and analyzing data, managers can determine the days and times when lines are typically busiest and staff accordingly. Furthermore, for hotel gift shops or retailers on the premises, video analytics can provide insights into customer behavior, including peak shopping hours and busiest pathways, so that stores can be properly staffed, and merchandise laid out accordingly.
Video analysis is a powerful resource for driving operational efficiencies at individual hotels, but – because the same capabilities can also be applied to a hotel chain with multiple sites – there are additional benefits to leveraging video analytic capabilities for analyzing trends, enhancing experiences, and streamlining operations across locations. By comparing trends over time and across locations, chains can gain a better understanding of why certain locations are more successful, efficient, or secure than others.
Behind a positive guest experience is the expectation of reliable security. Video analytics maximize the security applications of surveillance video with real-time alerting, accelerated video review, and trend analysis. By alerting hotel staff of incidents in real-time, video analytics technology enables security personnel to respond immediately (and contact law enforcement, if necessary). If a child goes missing, for instance, security can productively review video surveillance data as well as trigger real-time alerts by focusing the search and alerting criteria based on known characteristics, such as color of clothing or whether they were wearing a hat or backpack.
As travel resumes, it is critical that hospitality venues find ways to enhance guest experience, operational efficiency, safety and security. By more effectively and broadly leveraging technology such as intelligent video surveillance, they can provide an entertaining and safe experience for their guests and ultimately increase their business.