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IoT is Coming, Jon Snow…
Posted: 05/21/2019

Hospitality is prime for the coming advent of the various devices that make up the Internet of Things. Estimates show the industry now represents 17.5 million rooms worldwide and savvy guests are demanding more personalization and an overall improved guest experience along their connected travel journey and belief is that IoT can bring this to reality. 

The forces driving local search rankings are constantly changing. But recent studies suggest that in 2019, four key factors make up the local search algorithm. 
 
The most significant factor is Google My Business (GMB). If you’re not on it, get on it now.

The robotic revolution in the hospitality industry might seem to have taken a step back. This January, the famously quirky Henn-Na Hotel in Japan fired half of its 243 robot staff. The robotic workforce reportedly irritated guests and frequently broke down.

Think about the moment when you first enter your hotel room. Look around: Does the room tell you anything unique about the hotel where you are staying? Or is it all beige walls and double beds with white covers, and you have to walk back outside and look at the sign on the hotel’s facade to even remember where you are?

Hotel guests commonly bring multiple devices with them during their stay. However, many hotel environments don’t provide easy access to charging outlets. This situation can lead to a guest feeling more than inconvenienced. A recent survey found almost 90 percent of people "felt panic" when their phone battery dropped to 20 percent or below.



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A Beacon in the Dark

04/26/2016

As a beacon of light guides a ship to safe waters, beacon technology guides the consumer to something they may need or want. This revolutionizing technology uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal to communicate with a guest's phone when it is within 230 feet, or 70 meters, from one of the devices. The technology opens up the concept of proximity marketing and target marketing to only individuals that are near or in your facility.

If you think this sounds a bit “big brother,” do not get too concerned, yet. This technology currently only communicates to a phone if it has installed an app for that company. It is not an open communication that anyone can be targeted by. The most practical application is using it as part of the loyalty program app.

Will this enhance or hinder the guest experience? By signing up to the loyalty program and using the loyalty app, how much latitude do guests give the resort to store information about them and market to them at every corner? When they selected to opt in to receiving information about specials at the resort, as most jurisdictions require, did they also agree to let the resort track their every movement within the property? Was this covered in the terms of use policy that was so long and confusing that they did not actually read? Where does access to information end and privacy begin?

Beacon technology has opened a new world in the concept of guest service. The ability to let a loyal customer know of a special based on his or her location within your property capitalizes on the impulse buy. As with most adoption of new technology, the technology itself is not the problem. It is the human element. In this case, the customer’s expectation of privacy is going to be a major concern. No matter what the law may dictate, the customer is going to expect the ability to choose from a list of options to opt in to. The consumer already has to download the company app, turn on Bluetooth and turn on location services. Within that process, we need to inform the guest how this technology is going to be used and how it pertains to personal information. Are we ready for that? We need to be ready in order to guide our customers to use this technology and not be afraid to opt in.
 
About The Author
Terry Price, CPA, CHAE, CHTP
Principle Owner
HFT Consulting Group


Terry Price, CPA, CHAE, CHTP is a principle at HFT Consulting Group and is part of the DANNI Enterprise team. He can be reached at Terry@hftcgroup.com.

 
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