Tag Archives: Hotel WiFi

Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “DIY Not the Answer with Hotel Technology”

For the first time, technology has become a real point of differentiation for hotel companies. As owners and asset managers become more involved and focus onDIY Hotel Tech technology and distribution, the pressure will grow for brand companies. It’s great the entire industry recognizes the problem, but the question becomes, how does it get solved? Or worse, what happens if it doesn’t?

After attending the summer season of hotel industry events, I was surprised to see a new found recognition from hotel brand companies that technology has become an urgent priority. It is refreshing to hear executives admitting that they have fallen behind the curve and are desperate for new solutions.

It wasn’t that long ago that technology and distribution were barely mentioned at these events, but now they are often the focus of general sessions at even the biggest investment conferences like NYU. And now we even have newer events like the Revenue Strategy Summit and the Hotel Data Conference where distribution is a main topic on the agenda.

It’s remarkable to see such a transformation, but that’s where my excitement stops. In the next breath, many of the same hotel brand leaders talk about a renewed commitment to building better technology. They want to compete with Expedia, Priceline, and Google by creating their own in-house platforms.

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Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “The Present and Future of In-Room Tech”

“Hotels should focus on making room technology easy to understand, accessible and relevant. Do not focus the efforts only on creating ‘fun’technology such as mood lighting and such.Roundtable-Feature It’s important to pay attention to the devices used by guests and add tech features, which can assist in an improved hotel experience.”

From cathode-ray tubes to flat-screen televisions to smart screens. From dial-up Web access to Wi-Fi.

In-room technology in hotels has evolved over the years, and it will only continue to do so. But what are the changes hoteliers can expect next? And in an industry often accused of being behind the curve when it comes to technology, what do hoteliers need to keep top of mind to add to the guestroom experience?

Five leaders responded to these questions in this Hotel News Now virtual roundtable. This is what they had to say.

From where it stands today, where do you see in-room technology headed in the next few years?

Mehul Patel, chairman and CEO of NewcrestImage
“Technology, notably Bluetooth, will increasingly make rooms more ‘open’—both literally and virtually. For example, mobile technology will allow guests to unlock and enter their rooms. And after they are in their room, guests will open their room to the virtual world with customized entertainment content and room management. Because today’s travelers have their own mobile devices, it enables us as hoteliers to provide them with technology that makes their stay with us smarter and simpler—‘smarter’ thanks to Bluetooth and ‘simpler’ by facilitating their use of personalized content in movies, television and music.”
Joachim Högefjord, managing director, and Gül Heper, commercial manager at HTL Hotels
“We believe it’s most important to stay relevant to the guests and their needs. In-room technology is not about filling a hotel room with all possible gadgets; it is about enhancing the guest experience and especially simplifying the stay at the hotel.“We need to continue looking at existing behaviors and identify the right needs, what devices are the guests bringing with them and review how to incorporate this in the room in order to provide a better guest experience. One given area, where we already supply device independent solutions is in terms of in-room entertainment. Why equip the hotels with expensive hotel TV systems with on-demand movies when most guests today can and will be using their own devices to stream and mirror everything from movies to HBO and Netflix for free with their existing subscriptions?“Mobile access to the room is of course also an area that will continue to develop and be more and more standardized. Today there are few hotels and chains that are fully offering this to all guests independent of distribution channel. From the start we decided that this should be one of our standard features, and already in spring of 2014 we launched our own app with mobile key.“Of course there is a lot of talk about in-room control systems for lighting, heating, shades, entertainment controls, etc. They might grow in the future, but at the same time it is generally a learning curve to handle them, and with guests staying in general 1.5 days in a room, it might add more complexity to your stay than added value.”
Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels
“In-room technology will focus on connectivity for the traveler’s personal phone, tablets and computer. Guest-provided media will stream to TVs, USB outlets will be within an arm’s length away from the bed and desk in every guestroom. Personal technology has surpassed in-room hotel technology to the point of no return. With annual upgrade cycles for consumer technology devices, hotels can no longer spend enough to catch up. Hoteliers, stop implementing technology of the day and just let travelers have power outlets, free, fast Wi-Fi and access to their own media.”
Anna Blount, market research manager of MMGY Global
“When asked which device they are most likely to watch television or cable movies on during a hotel stay, 86% of travelers chose the in-room television, while 13% chose their personal laptop, 6% their tablet and 4% their smartphone.“Similarly, 84% of travelers said they were most likely to watch pay-per-view movies on the in-room television during a hotel room stay, while 9% chose their personal laptop, 9% their tablet and 3% their smartphone. Although in-room television is still dominate, we expect usage of personal laptops and tablets to consume in-room entertainment to increase considerably over the next five years.”
Euan McGlashan, co-founder and managing partner of Valor Hospitality Partners
“Technology will soon control the entire guestroom, and that’s a good thing. A guest will be connected to every element of the in-room experience—for example, entry locks, television, music, lighting, temperature, roomservice and in-room deliveries or services—through simple switches, remote controls and hand-held devices, which are either theirs or provided by the hotel.”

For more: http://bit.ly/1YzEVea

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Technology

Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “The Present and Future of In-Room Tech”

“Hotels should focus on making room technology easy to understand, accessible and relevant. Do not focus the efforts only on creating ‘fun’technology such as mood lighting and such.Roundtable-Feature It’s important to pay attention to the devices used by guests and add tech features, which can assist in an improved hotel experience.”

From cathode-ray tubes to flat-screen televisions to smart screens. From dial-up Web access to Wi-Fi.

In-room technology in hotels has evolved over the years, and it will only continue to do so. But what are the changes hoteliers can expect next? And in an industry often accused of being behind the curve when it comes to technology, what do hoteliers need to keep top of mind to add to the guestroom experience?

Five leaders responded to these questions in this Hotel News Now virtual roundtable. This is what they had to say.

From where it stands today, where do you see in-room technology headed in the next few years?

Mehul Patel, chairman and CEO of NewcrestImage
“Technology, notably Bluetooth, will increasingly make rooms more ‘open’—both literally and virtually. For example, mobile technology will allow guests to unlock and enter their rooms. And after they are in their room, guests will open their room to the virtual world with customized entertainment content and room management. Because today’s travelers have their own mobile devices, it enables us as hoteliers to provide them with technology that makes their stay with us smarter and simpler—‘smarter’ thanks to Bluetooth and ‘simpler’ by facilitating their use of personalized content in movies, television and music.”
Joachim Högefjord, managing director, and Gül Heper, commercial manager at HTL Hotels
“We believe it’s most important to stay relevant to the guests and their needs. In-room technology is not about filling a hotel room with all possible gadgets; it is about enhancing the guest experience and especially simplifying the stay at the hotel.“We need to continue looking at existing behaviors and identify the right needs, what devices are the guests bringing with them and review how to incorporate this in the room in order to provide a better guest experience. One given area, where we already supply device independent solutions is in terms of in-room entertainment. Why equip the hotels with expensive hotel TV systems with on-demand movies when most guests today can and will be using their own devices to stream and mirror everything from movies to HBO and Netflix for free with their existing subscriptions?“Mobile access to the room is of course also an area that will continue to develop and be more and more standardized. Today there are few hotels and chains that are fully offering this to all guests independent of distribution channel. From the start we decided that this should be one of our standard features, and already in spring of 2014 we launched our own app with mobile key.“Of course there is a lot of talk about in-room control systems for lighting, heating, shades, entertainment controls, etc. They might grow in the future, but at the same time it is generally a learning curve to handle them, and with guests staying in general 1.5 days in a room, it might add more complexity to your stay than added value.”
Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels
“In-room technology will focus on connectivity for the traveler’s personal phone, tablets and computer. Guest-provided media will stream to TVs, USB outlets will be within an arm’s length away from the bed and desk in every guestroom. Personal technology has surpassed in-room hotel technology to the point of no return. With annual upgrade cycles for consumer technology devices, hotels can no longer spend enough to catch up. Hoteliers, stop implementing technology of the day and just let travelers have power outlets, free, fast Wi-Fi and access to their own media.”
Anna Blount, market research manager of MMGY Global
“When asked which device they are most likely to watch television or cable movies on during a hotel stay, 86% of travelers chose the in-room television, while 13% chose their personal laptop, 6% their tablet and 4% their smartphone.“Similarly, 84% of travelers said they were most likely to watch pay-per-view movies on the in-room television during a hotel room stay, while 9% chose their personal laptop, 9% their tablet and 3% their smartphone. Although in-room television is still dominate, we expect usage of personal laptops and tablets to consume in-room entertainment to increase considerably over the next five years.”
Euan McGlashan, co-founder and managing partner of Valor Hospitality Partners
“Technology will soon control the entire guestroom, and that’s a good thing. A guest will be connected to every element of the in-room experience—for example, entry locks, television, music, lighting, temperature, roomservice and in-room deliveries or services—through simple switches, remote controls and hand-held devices, which are either theirs or provided by the hotel.”

For more: http://bit.ly/1YzEVea

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Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “Best Tips for Creating Fast, Reliable and Secure Wi-Fi Networks”

Wi-Fi is a business driver that enables a comprehensive guest experience. Soon, hotels will leverage the power of Wi-Fi to expand on loyalty programs,Hotel wifi integrate with the in-room TV, and take part in other customer-engagement strategies such as location-based promotions and time-based offers.

Yaroslav Goncharov, CEO of Hotel Wi-Fi Test, has had a front row seat to the rise of Wi-Fi in the hotel industry. “It’s become a key amenity,” he says. “Some studies even claim it is second only to a comfortable bed.” At a time when basically every handheld device features Internet connectivity, guests place immense value on reliable wireless networks. This means that top-notch Wi-Fi services have changed from a nicety to a necessity.

When it comes to best practices, nothing trumps capacity. “While bandwidth growth has always been an issue for hospitality IT departments, the additional demands of Wi-Fi have accelerated the urgency,” says Alexandra Sewell, executive director, emerging markets, Comcast Business. She notes that many hotel guests carry two or three mobile devices, and they expect to be constantly connected when they travel. “And without the proper network capacity, Wi-Fi will be slow and frustrating,” she says. Kirk Hylan, owner of INsite Networks, a San Francisco IT company, says there’s no rule of thumb when it comes to determining how much bandwidth a hotel property needs. “With bandwidth, it’s really a matter of how much your pocket can afford because guests will use it all.”

“Technology is evolving faster than most of us ever imagined,” says Doug Gehret, general manager at Hilton Orlando. “We must be proactive to remain relevant.” Gehret’s hotel recently upgraded to the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard and now touts its high-speed data rates (up to 10 times standard Wi-Fi) as a key selling point in promotion material. With the AC Wi-Fi standard now over a year old, hotels that haven’t upgraded may find themselves falling behind the competition. And a property’s Wi-Fi speed isn’t a secret anymore, as third-party reviewers like Hotel Wi-Fi Test provide free, easily accessible ratings of wireless services that potential guests may use when choosing hotels for their next stay or event.

For more: http://bit.ly/1K5JHXO

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Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “Security Flaw In Hotel Wi-Fi Routers Could Put Devices At Risk”

“This is the second time in recent months that security researchers have warned of hotel Wi-Fi networks being a potential vectorWireless data security of attack for cybercriminals, providing a not-so-subtle reminder that individuals must be ever-vigilant regarding the security of their devices and access points.”

Cylance, a security vendor, says that its security researchers at the Sophisticated Penetration Exploitation and Research team (SPEAR) have uncovered a flaw in the InnGate Wi-Fi router commonly used by many hotels that could be placing the devices of guests at risk. According to Wired, the Cylance team reports, the vulnerability could threaten not just guests, but could also spread to the hotels themselves if hackers are able to compromise the router to allow them to access other parts of the hotel network. Cylance says this could potentially impact reservations and billing.

The vulnerability, dubbed CVE-2015-0932 gives an attacker full read and write access to the file system of an ANTLabs’ InnGate device, Cylance reports.  Cyber thieves gain remote access through an unauthenticated rsync daemon running on TCP 873, which then allows them to read and write unrestricted to the file system of the Linux based operating system.

For more: http://bit.ly/1yYJZK7

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Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “FCC Rules Hotel Wi-Fi Blocking Is Illegal and Subject to Penalties”

“No hotel, convention center, or other commercial establishment or the network operator providing services at such establishments may intentionally block or disrupt personal Wi-Fi hot spots on such premises, includinghotelwifi as part of an effort to force consumers to purchase access to the property owner’s Wi‑Fi network,” The FCC states. “Such action is illegal and violations could lead to the assessment of substantial monetary penalties.”

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission forcefully came down on the “disturbing trend” of hotels and other commercial entities blocking consumers’ personal Wi-Fi hot spots and declared such practices “illegal.”

The enforcement advisory directly rebuffs efforts by Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and the rest of the U.S. hotel industry to get the authority to block attendees’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots at meetings and conventions.

Although the FCC hasn’t directly ruled on the Marriott and American Hotel & Lodging Association petition, filed in August, to seek clarification of the law as it pertains to Wi-Fi blocking, the FCC did note: “While the Enforcement Bureau recognizes that the Petition questions our position, the Bureau will continue to enforce the law as it understands it unless and until the Commission determines otherwise.”

For more: http://bit.ly/1EqnSm1

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Hospitality Industry Management Update: “Reviews Increasingly Drive Booking Decisions”

The next step for the industry is taking those positive and negative reviews into account when setting rates. ratesreviews_featureMolinari said Las Vegas Sands isn’t quite there yet but noticed software developers are innovating in the space…Davis said she has developed her own metrics and is taking ratings and reviews into account when determining her price positioning, although she admits her process is a bit subjective and does not rely on a specific algorithm, such as a software program might.

Online reviews increasingly are affecting booking decisions, although not all traveler segments behave the same way, according to research and various industry sources.

Multiple studies recently have highlighted the importance of guest reviews and ratings in the booking funnel.

A study conducted by TrustYou and Donna Quadri-Felitti, clinical associate professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, concluded that guest reviews have a significant impact on hotel conversion rates as well as the rates that travelers are willing to pay. Given equal prices, travelers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with higher review scores, the study showed. And when hotel prices are increased for hotels with better review scores, travelers are more likely to book the hotel with the higher score despite the higher rate.

For more: http://bit.ly/1wHkOuy

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