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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 
 



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2017 HITEC Report: The Wi-Fi Edition

08/02/2017

I went to this year’s HITEC in Toronto in search of three main things: Wi-Fi providers offering personal area networks (PAN), TV providers showcasing casting capabilities, and vendors working in the guest experience and personalization space. On all three accounts, this HITEC delivered.

There were more than 68 vendors touting Wi-Fi on the floor and pretty much all of them have some form of PAN solution. Of all of the companies I visited I would say that the folks at Ruckus continue to lead the industry. The company has a very wide array of product sets that can meet most any brand requirements and owner’s budgets and always work hard on new developments.
 
Interactive TV boasted over 45 exhibitors, and, pretty much all of them tout a method for casting. I found InnSpire to have one of the more seamless solutions, and a neat new way to replace the set top box. Another interesting development in casting was provided by TeleAdapt.
 
For the last few years, my passion has been guest experience and personalization. From my perspective, HITEC this year might have been a coming-out party for experience as every vendor was screaming “experience” in every marketing slick at their disposal. Leveraging off of another of my passions, Lord of the Rings, I’d like to steal the outline: Nine rings for men, seven rings for dwarves, three rings for elves and one ring to rule them all.
 
My nine rings go to newcomers in this space, many of which were in E20X. Though these might be thought of lesser entities at this point in time – just like men – one or more of these vendors might eventually rule the industry. This list includes Angie Hospitality, Arrivedo, GEMtouch, GuestFolder, iPalapa Corporation, Kognitiv, OnceThere Inc., Stay Wanderful and Zootle Inc.
 
The seven rings title goes to companies that have been around for a while, and have begun to make their reputations in this niche. This group is made up of ALICE, Cendyn, Crave Interactive, Guestware, HeBS Digital, Listrak and NAVIS.
 
To be in the three-ring category a company must have established itself as an industry leader, and therefore, Agilysys, Infor and Springer-Miller Systems are recognized.
 
But for me, the one ring that rules them all, is Protel hotelsoftware GmbH. What the industry is sorely lacking is an agnostic service bus. Not only does Protel have this, but the solution also has a very feature rich PMS that it may work with. Protel can be a one-stop shop, but they also sell components, meaning you can buy some of the tools and add them to what you already have. If you haven’t looked at Protel yet, I strongly urge you to set up a demo. I think that they have a strong chance to replace many of the “top” vendors in the PMS space.

About The Author
Dan Phillips
Owner
Dare to Imagine


Dan Phillips is the owner of the consulting firm, Dare to Imagine (www.dare2i.com). He started behind the front desk of a Holiday Inn in 1987 and has been consulting to hotel companies since 1991. Dare to Imagine enlists hotel experts with decades of C-level experience at many of the major hotel companies in the world. He can be reached at dphillips@dare2i.com or by phone at 678-852-5913.

 
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