In the lodging business, if it’s November, it’s time for what’s called “the New York shows.” That is, the annual HX: Hotel Experience and Boutique Design New York trade shows, as well as the American Hotel Lodging Association’s Fall Conference.
They’re all intertwined, and are a major reckoning force on the convention calendar. And with the gravitational pull of the hospitality universe centered here, these events are a showplace for smart idea exchanges.
In that spirit, we collected the top five tech issues people were abuzz about on the tradeshow floor.
Getting information off the hotel property level and into “The Cloud” was being bandied about as long ago as the late 1990s. But revolutionary ideas typically lead technology’s ability to deliver. Those sky-high dreams finally became reality with the rise of the high-speed internet and other technologies in during the last five or so years.
Now, cloud-based products, such as the SkyTouch PMS, are changing the way hotels operate at the most basic level. By taking the technology out of the hotel, the PMS always features the very latest version, is simpler to learn and use, and has nearly no downtime.
The days of room pricing are over. Because of the internet, the subsequent proliferation of OTAs, as well as branded websites, setting the perfect mix of rates is a constantly shifting target. To set rates more intelligently, hoteliers are more often relying on technology to help them achieve perfect pricing. SkyTouch, for example, utilizes automated techniques as part of its hospitality management software to help hoteliers achieve better revenue. Plus, the system changes pricing across all distribution channels at once, simplifying the process through the hotel PMS.
Recent credit card security breaches are making operators and CIOs significantly more concerned about how to protect guest financial data. PCI compliance is a system designed to ensure the correct protocols are in place to minimize security breaches. While mostly effective, hoteliers still need to be vigilant. Plus, new payment systems are being introduced beyond the typical credit card. Now, people can make payments through their smartphones with technology such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and more. They are reshaping the way people transact money, and hoteliers are still trying to assess how they’ll integrate into the daily life of hotel operations.
Ease of Use
It’s the era of the user interface. The hotel industry has a , so it’s paramount to create easy to learn and use systems. That notion becomes more apparent as hotel technology providers like SkyTouch work to incorporate more features and benefits into product lines. For example, the cloud-based SkyTouch PMS system can track individual guest preferences, and to be able to effectively leverage them, the system must be designed properly so even a novice user can find, then enact the appropriate information.
Whether we like it or not, the hotel guest is bringing more technology with them than ever before. In fact, the average is now 3 devices per hotel guest and they’re consuming 26GB/month in mobile data. That means Wi-Fi is a utility like water and electricity. The industry is still grappling with how to make sure there is enough Wi-Fi for everyone. Oh, yeah, and more often, guests are demanding true high speed internet for free. According to Bloomberg, it’s the number one most desired hotel amenity, even amongst the highest end traveler. This is an issue that will continue to be present as people stream more video in hotels and the emergence of 4K technology ups the need for even more bandwidth.