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 on 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.
For more: http://bit.ly/1P4k8Lw
Most obviously, hotels would have a monopoly over Internet access and could charge guests with exorbitant Wi-Fi fees; much like Marriott did with its $1,000 access rates at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel…Worse yet, hotels and other enterprises could also easily censor access to content deemed undesirable to the business via the Wi-Fi access contract terms. For example, Hilton could block all access to travel booking websites that list hotels with lower rates.
As the battle for Net Neutrality rages on, Federal regulators may soon be ruling in another dispute between consumer access and business control of the Internet.
In a petition to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission made public last week, the American Hospitality & Lodging Association and Marriott International asked the FCC to declare that a hotel operate can deploy equipment that “may result in ‘interference with or cause interference’ to a Part 15 [Wi-Fi] device being used by a guest on the operator’s property.”
“Wi-Fi network operators should be able to manage their networks in order to provide a secure and reliable Wi-Fi service to guests on their premises,” Marriott argued.
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“…Marquand is currently serving a five year prison sentence for attempted rape and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor….Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Brett Kyker is the task force Director and warns, ‘We aren’t sitting waiting for crime to be committed, we’re going out, actively trying to identify predators living among us.’…”
An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation reveals a sex predator caught on tape during an undercover operation by the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
James Marquand, 31, traveled from his home in Flint, Michigan to a Cleveland area hotel where he believed he had arranged to have sex with two young girls ages 12 and 14.
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“…major hotel companies that have offered free Wi-Fi for several years at limited- and select-service brands have recognized that free basic Wi-Fi is indeed now a consumer expectation. In response, they have begun developing tiered offerings that satisfy customer demands while also leaving open the possibility of revenue for premium service….”
After seeing complimentary Wi-Fi service become ubiquitous at limited- and select-service hotels, owner-operators of full-service properties are now facing growing pressures from consumers and brands to provide a tiered program that features free, property-wide basic service while charging for premium broadband access.
“What we’re seeing now is more brands responding to consumer demand, because there has been a clear indication from consumers that basic connectivity is something they now expect us to provide (at no cost),” said Bill DeForrest, president and CEO of Chicago-based Spire Hospitality, which manages 22 properties including two full-service hotels under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand.
For more: https://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Article/13509/Tiered-Wi-Fi-emerges-as-new-industry-model
“…The straight-to-room idea is the big nut to crack, but this is the way the 3D customer wants to work with us now,” he said. “We can lament that we’re losing touch points with the customer, but the customer is speaking: ‘We’re into speed; we’re into convenience. We want to knock down barriers. … We don’t want to stand in line anymore.’…”
Jim Holthouser has seen plenty of change during his 35 years in the hotel business. He told 125 attendees of last week’s 16th Annual Lodging Industry Update in Memphis that even he hasn’t seen anything yet.
The speed and scope of change is more prevalent than ever, said Holthouser, Hilton Worldwide Holdings’ executive VP of global brands. Neither of those components is going to slow any time soon, he added before outlining five changes coming soon to hotels.
“You better have a pretty good idea of what’s around the corner,” he said. “The solution can take 10 years in this business. Sometimes that’s too long for the customer.”
For more: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Article/13227/Holthouser-5-big-changes-coming-for-hotels
“People will see ‘free Wi-Fi’ and click on it, and when they do that they open themselves up to great exposure…the best approach is to be wary and steer clear of Wi-Fi hotspots that do not seem legitimate — something (that) looks like it’s not quite right, not the proper name they might expect,”
Gary Davis, McAfee’s director of global consumer marketing, said there was a growing trend of hackers setting up mock Wi-Fi hotspots in public places, which appear at the top of the list of available Wi-Fi connections.
Once compromised, hackers can take total control of a device, including removing all the data contained on it. Android devices are currently the devices most targeted by hackers, Davis said.
“We saw a 1,200% increase in malware targeting Android devices just in the first quarter of this year,” he said.
John said the best approach for business travelers when using public Wi-Fi is to remotely log into their employer’s virtual private network, or VPN, which ensures all data received and sent from a device is encrypted.
For more: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/12/business/cyber-hackers-data-security-travel/index.html