Is Your Hotel Network Infrastructure Fit to Embrace Your Mobile Strategy?

By Tony Heung Senior Director Global Product Management, Exceptional Innovation | January 10, 2016

Whether it's guest facing or hotel internal operations, mobile strategy is happening amongst all the major brands and quite rightly so. Whether it's mobile booking, mobile check-in and mobile key access, or check in via a tablet and reporting room clean status via tablet and mobile PoS device, surround mobile becomes key to the hotel industry.

It is predominantly the "during" experience that becomes the key differentiator between brands. In order to facilitate an excellent stay experience, the key foundation is a purpose-built and consistent wireless/wired network that allows all different applications to effectively and securely operate on a single converged network.

Guests are also expecting a home-from-home experience or even a better-than-home experience, which can be a huge technological challenge for the hotelier to fulfill. TripAdvisor and other review websites become the key differentiating factor for the guest to select which hotel to spend money on after the first criteria of location and second criteria of cost. The quality of Wi-Fi becomes the third most important criteria. Having a true digital experience requires true digital excellence, which can be fulfilled by a fully converged network in a cost efficient model. The majority of hotels have multiple networks, whether it's just for the guest Wi-Fi or a separate network for processing credit card payments, and one for access to the reservation system and PMS. This type of separated network means higher overall cost, less efficiency and more importantly, there is no application-level integration possible due to the lack of inter-connect between each system. The first key to success is to define the brand standard on the converged network. However, more importantly, the second key is how to enforce and induce the hoteliers to follow and implement the brand network standard.

What is a Fully Converged Network?

A fully converged network is a single infrastructure across both wired and wireless domains to provide network connectivity to any applications. Depending on whether the hotel is a new build or going through major/minor refurbishment, there are six major areas, which would apply to the principle of a fully converged network.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.