APAC: Pipeline of New Hotel Developments

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October 15, 2015
Tech Updates from Around the World
Ted Horner

Asia Pacific has the largest hotel pipeline of new hotel developments in the world and the adoption of new technology is exciting. Concerns include getting fundamentals correct from the outset and ensuring that owners are willing to make the necessary investment in ITC to keep pace with the changes in consumer technology. This is a great challenge as the lifecycle of technology is diminishing, but with the arrival of cloud-based technology built around a SaaS model instead of large upfront capital expenditure, the ability of owners/operators to keep up to date with the latest technology will become easier.

/////// Cabling Topology
For new hotels, cabling infrastructure must be designed in a way that the hotel is future-proofed. This means being able to peer review electrical drawings done by specialist consultants who are not necessarily up to date with the latest cabling technology such as fiber to the room and GPON, as opposed to traditional coaxial cable or multiple Cat 6 cables. If hotels want to run converged networks and technology services on a single network, then the choice of cabling used is critical. 

/////////// Guests’ Viewing Habits
With the arrival of Netflix in Australia this year, and the launch of two other streaming services, hotels must provide guests access to OTT content from smartphones or tablets. As these services require greater bandwidth, hotels must increase the size of the pipe and invest in better networks to meet this requirement. The hotel industry in this region has moved to offering a free basic Internet service, but to accommodate guests who wish to download content, many hotels are offering a tiered service where guests pay for higher speed Internet access. This is still proving problematic because guests do not want to pay for this service either.

/////// Cloud-based Technology
A number of PMS vendors are now coming to the marketplace with cloud-based systems that are hosted offsite and have a monthly software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model. Some smaller independent hotels are looking at this technology as it offers advantages over the traditional premise-based systems. As more hotels adopt this technology it will become mainstream, provided the Internet in the particular region or country will support it. Australia is seeing the arrival of hosted PBX, with one major hotel chain adopting this technology as the commercial model is attractive. In several new small boutique hotels, I am mandating to my clients that major systems be hosted off premise.

/////// Data Security
The security of all the data collected continues to be an issue and many hotels are not investing sufficiently to stay ahead of professional hackers. Security breaches are occurring where hotels’ databases are compromised.

////// Keyless Entry
This technology is getting a great deal of press globally with both Starwood and Hilton adopting aggressive rollouts of the technology in the United States and then globally. As both of these chains do so, everyone else is now looking at technology for guests to use smartphones to go directly to the room.

One hotel which opened in the last six months has attracted a great deal of press, being the first hotel to deploy this technology in Australia. The hotel has experienced some issues with the technology, but this technology is a game changer for guests who want to avoid check-in queues at the front desk. In time, all the major hotel chains (if they are not already) will be adopting this technology in one form or another.
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