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Is Your Digital Signage System Impacting Sales?

Digital signage has been a hot topic in the hospitality world for quite a while. If you look at any market research—or if you simply visit a lot of hotels and restaurants—you see it everywhere.
While digital signs unquestionably have a huge role to play in hospitality, if you view them as simply a “digital poster”—a faster, flashier way of distributing information—you may be missing a major opportunity.
Digital signage is changing. The underlying technology is enabling it to become more engaging, more interactive and more intelligent. Touch screens, interaction with smartphones and new ways to measure audiences are coming together to transform digital signage. This is a new era of “intelligent” digital signage and there are lots of positive implications for the hospitality industry, for both property owners and guests.
Digital Signage Field Trial in Las Vegas
To get a greater understanding of the role digital signs can play in hospitality, The Venetian and The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas conducted a field trial with Intel. The goal was to measure the effectiveness of digital signage in driving traffic and sales for retailers, restaurants, clubs at the casino, as well as the entertainment shows taking place there. The trial involved signs using Intel processors and software that were capable of high-definition graphics as well as Anonymous Video Analytics (AVA). AVA involves attaching a sensor to the sign to capture viewer data, such as age, gender, how long they viewed the sign, etc. As its name suggests, AVA is completely anonymous; it cannot identify an individual, no actual images are stored, and no personal information is collected.
While the signs themselves exceeded expectations in driving sales, the trial established the role of AVA in delivering targeted messaging and advertising. In the three month trial, the AVA sensors captured more than 300,000 images of viewers and revealed the following:
  • Age of the viewers: In the field trial, the AVA technology identified nearly two-thirds of the audience as being in the young adult segment (ages 16 – 35). Young adults outnumbered adults (36-65) by a 2-1 margin. This was no surprise given the venue.
  • Gender: The gender breakdown roughly matched what is found in the population as a whole, but with a greater proportion of men on weekdays than on weekends.
  • Performance of different creative options: It was particularly important to determine how well AVA technology would help to evaluate which signs were more effective at attracting viewers. For the trial, The Venetian focused on comparing signs using animated/moving graphics versus ones with static images. The experiment showed that animated signs were the clear winners, but what was surprising was the scale of the differential: animated signs consistently attracted four to six times the number of viewers. In addition, viewers spent a longer time looking at the animated signs, consistently slowing down to take in the dynamic screens and spending 50 percent longer than for the static screens.
  • Impact on sales: During a specific segment of the trial, The Venetian looked at the impact of the signs on actual sales on-property. Static and dynamic posters featuring promotions for a bar and restaurant in the complex were tested and matched with the uptake for that promotion. Again, the animated signs outperformed, resulting in twice the uptake per viewer than the static signs.
“The adoption of this new high-definition digital signage has greatly exceeded our expectations in terms of driving awareness and sales for our retailers, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment shows,” says Scott Messinger, vice president, brand marketing, The Venetian & Palazzo Resorts. “More importantly, our guests have told us that the combination of highly creative selling messages and the overall resort lifestyle messaging actually enhances their on-property experience.”
Possible Applications
A key role for a technology such as AVA is to measure the effectiveness of the advertising for the purposes of establishing pricing, however the implications go well beyond that. A digital sign or self-serve kiosk equipped with AVA can automatically take on a different personality with different offers and options based on information gathered in real-time through AVA. Viewers can interact with these offers via a touchscreen, opt to download them to their smartphones, and take off on a guided shopping excursion.
This creates a new way for property owners to provide an engaging experience that, if intelligently and tastefully done, is welcomed by guests. It creates a way to take some of the convenience and personalization that guests experience when they shop online and recreate it in the off-line environs of a hotel or shopping mall. With smartphones and other mobile devices, the online and offline worlds are already merging. Today’s new intelligent digital signs have a tremendous role to play it bringing them together in ways that benefit everyone.
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