32 BUSINESS FEATURE: HOSPITALITY
Engaging opportunities The hospitality sector is starting to place greater emphasis on customer engagement – in much the same way that retail has shifted over the last few years, reports Duncan Proctor
ospitality is a broad market that encompasses a range of venues and environments including hotels, bars and restaurants, as well as resorts, casinos and even cruise ships. A combination of the advances in customerfocused AV technology and the increased expectations of those customers has prompted a step change in the solutions being integrated into hospitality environments as venues search for the right formula to increase engagement. The purpose is not only to improve the customer experience, but also to generate repeat visits and recommendations in what is a very competitive sector with an abundance of choice.
‘Increasing customer engagement is probably one of the top priorities for our clients within the hospitality sector.’ Andy Truswell, Pure AV
Key areas The key areas where hospitality venues are looking to invest include: the introduction of dynamic digital
signage in communal spaces; upgrading conference and meeting spaces; and for hotels, in-bedroom AV facilities. These solutions are not only used to support wayﬁnding and information transfer, but also as an interactive gateway to access venue services. Additionally, there has been an increase in app-driven content on screens, similar to retail environments, but on a smaller scale. “In hotel meeting and conference rooms, we see a lot of demand for upgrades to infrastructure to cope with digital signals and the introduction of high deﬁnition displays,” says Andy Truswell, systems integration manager at Pure AV. “In smaller hotel venues, investment in their meeting and conference facilities is about ﬂexible systems that are easy for the customer to use and straightforward for the venue to manage.” Truswell also sees the inﬂuence of mobile and home-based technology on the development of AV within hotel rooms. “Within the hotel bedroom environment, we see continued demand for the ability to connect personal mobile devices to the in-room system. To some extent, this is driven by the technology that we surround ourselves with at home, and many of the hotels now have to introduce bigger, better quality in-room AV just to meet guest’s expectations. “It is very early days, but there is also developing interest in the deployment of virtual assistants using voice control such as the Harman solution that embeds the IBM Watson
Key Points There is a twin focus on maximising ad revenue and providing information to guests to improve their experience It is important that venues are able to offer guests the ability to connect personal devices to the in-room system Cost is still a barrier to a large number of hospitality businesses with budgets tightly controlled cognitive technology into Harman soundbars and alarm clocks, or Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo.” James Keen, marketing manager at Tripleplay, believes the sheer size and scope of the hospitality industry presents a number of opportunities for integrators and installers. “Take a hotel for example: not only do they generally have 100-plus rooms all requiring a TV, maybe a set-top box, network; they also have a reception area; they have restaurants, bars and ﬁtness and wellbeing centres and, importantly, meeting rooms and conference facilities. A hotel is its own ecosystem; it has to be as the industry is incredibly competitive. As such, they look to engage their clients through providing a wide variety of television services, digital signage, projectors, control panels, great audio systems and, of course, WiFi. Many are looking to embrace