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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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Forging New Guest Connections

05/20/2014
As connected, mobile, always-on travelers become the norm, hotels and other travel providers are increasingly using wireless communications to improve services, to enhance guest satisfaction – and to drive bottom-line business performance.

Guests, staff, and partners now carry a dazzling array of mobile devices. Wireless networks are more ubiquitous. Machine-to-machine (M2M) software applications are driving a growing number of everyday transactions and guest service activities. To fully appreciate the importance of IT and networked communications, consider how a highly-connected Millennial now expect to interact with a hospitality provider.

Web-based technology often comes into play before a room is booked, when tech-savvy consumers consults social media to assess brands or shop properties. Premier loyalty members, for example, typically book a stay via the hotelier’s own website or through a discount booking channel. 

Once they reach the property, advanced capabilities allow premier members to bypass the check-in process and go directly to their room. Near-field communications (NFC) technologies are used to send hotel room key, along with welcome messages and other details, directly to a guest’s mobile device. 

A virtual concierge service may be displayed, with personalized information addressing the loyalty member’s unique preferences. The hotel may also offer an augmented reality capability that allows the guest to view hotel amenities, local attractions, and nearby services. Properties are also using these technologies to deliver coordinated loyalty program and partner affinity offers to guests before, during, and after their visit. 

Leveraging past history, forward-looking hotels recognize a premium guest, and automatically set the room’s temperature control to the guest’s specifications. If there is an issue with the climate control, maintenance is automatically notified to address the issue, and if the issue cannot be resolved quickly, the guest is automatically re-assigned to a new room. 

Those same systems can be used to stock the mini bar and pre-configure the in-room television to suit the member’s preferences. The connected property provides robust business services, including convenient cloud-based access to personal and work information – so travelers can stay connected and productive while on the move. 

Busy travelers can then check out from the room or from their smartphone. Checkout is fully automated, and once checkout is confirmed, housekeeping is notified.

Next-gen technologies also simplify the billing process. Bills can be forwarded via email or to a mobile phone, and for business travelers invoices can be forwarded to corporate travel expense accounting, along with the details needed to support managed corporate travel. 

By fully leveraging the Internet of Things, hospitality firms can streamline operations, drive innovation, and deliver a more customized, satisfying guest experience.

About The Author
Eric Harte
Vice President, Travel and Transportation Industry
HP Enterprise Services


 
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