What's Driving IT Investment in 2011?

A recent Motorola Solutions, Inc. study uncovered that information technology (IT) spending in the hospitality industry is expected to increase in 2011, with guest experience cited as the top driver for investment. Fifty-six percent of hospitality organizations plan to raise mobile investments to better equip their workforces, improve operational efficiencies and enhance the customer experience.

The Motorola Solutions 2011 Hospitality Market Barometer reveals that 91 percent of hospitality decision makers realize the increasing importance of mobile and wireless technology, while 78 percent recognize the role mobility plays in ensuring a competitive advantage for their business. As a result, hospitality venues are investing in new technology, as well as powerful wireless networks to handle greater data volumes and increasing demands for high-speed access from the customer and mobile workforce.

Key facts from the survey include:

Elevating the guest experience
  • Improved guest experience is the top driver for mobility investments, cited by 76 percent of hospitality venues surveyed.
  • Hospitality decision makers are investing in mobile technologies to support customer-facing applications that improve guest services by handling wireless email, guest/attendee check-in, table-side order/payment or event ticketing, among others.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents plan to deploy some form of video capabilities, including video surveillance, video conferencing and streaming video, in public access areas such as lobbies.
  • Fifty-eight percent of surveyed hospitality organizations deploying mobile technology today see improved customer satisfaction. 
Empowering the mobile worker
  • Fifty-nine percent of respondents currently deploying mobile and wireless technology witnessed an increase in employee productivity and efficiency, while 55 percent saw improved sales results.
  • Managers, security personnel and customer service associates are the primary users of mobile and wireless devices in the hospitality companies surveyed – 71 percent of supervisors use smartphones, 52 percent of security use radios, 19 percent of ticketing agents are equipped with voice-over-IP (VoIP), and 26 percent of property managers have tablets.
  • Currently, the most popular applications on two-way radios are project management (51 percent) and collaboration (41 percent). Unified messaging and remote management/monitoring have the highest rate of planned deployments into 2012.
  • Among survey respondents, tablets and VoIP handsets are the top two mobile devices planned for new deployments by 2012.
Enabling operational efficiency
  • Seventy-five percent of hospitality organizations surveyed already have wireless LAN (WLAN) installed in their facilities. In North America, approximately one third of these venues have 802.11n, while European venues predominately have 802.11b/g.
  • Forty-two percent of respondents with existing WLAN expect to be fully upgraded to 802.11n by the end of 2012.
  • Improving throughput and reliability, and extending range of current wireless data networks are the top three drivers behind 802.11n WLAN adoption – all critical network features to meet greater data volumes and increasing demands for access from the customer and mobile workforce.
“Advances in wireless and mobile technologies, products and services are changing the landscape of the hospitality industry and how it operates,” says Craig Mathias, principal, Farpoint Group. “With a demanding client base equipped with increasing numbers of smartphones, tablet computers, notebook PCs and even rugged devices, successful hospitality IT organizations recognize the need to upgrade their existing WLANs to improve network reliability, capacity and coverage to support customer-facing applications, as well as internal services that enable their own mobile workforce and improve the guest experience.”

Survey methodology
Motorola Solutions regularly conducts independent market research to better understand emerging trends in enterprise and government mobility markets. The 2011 Hospitality Market Barometer provides indicators of the opportunities and challenges that mobility poses to hospitality enterprises by gathering direct feedback from the organizations investing in and deploying these solutions.
Conducted in Q4 2010, 161 qualifying respondents across North America and Europe completed the online survey via invitation sponsored by Research Now, a third-party panel provider of business and IT decision-makers.
Respondents represent a wide variety of hospitality enterprises including hotels, tourist attractions, casinos and restaurants. Approximately 70 percent represent mid-size to large companies with at least 2,000 employees.
More than one third of survey respondents represent companies exceeding $1 billion in revenues. Responses came from the executive suite, IT functions and managers closest to the day-to-day implementation of mobile solutions.
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