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How is Technology Innovation Addressing Real World Hospitality Challenges?

Love them or hate them, panic buttons are here to stay. And as it turns out, these state of the art associate alert devices are undoubtedly the most innovative everyday use technology to hit the hospitality industry in decades. But as hotels brace for what many experts predict will be an extremely busy year, it’s important to address some challenges and tech solutions. 

Your guests expect top-notch technology to drive their stay

It’s not just because of the nationwide mandates requiring that hotels provide panic buttons for worker safety. Guests at hotels expect the technology that’s visible on staff to be updated, upgraded and state of the art. And that’s just part of the ways your guests will expect more from the way you operate your property. 

In today’s hotel tech race, you can’t just add cool walkie talkies or a single new element to your offerings and assume you’ll be lauded as an innovative property. With digital hotels the expectation and not the exception to the rule, smart hoteliers will embrace tech innovations to remain relevant. And as daunting as it may seem, your property will have to keep upgrading as new products become available. 

Expectations vs. reality

To properly address the challenges of running a digital hotel, casino, or golf  club, you have to first assess your guests’ preconceived notions. That might involve fine-tuning your  marketing to determine who your brand appeals to right now. Will you be courting the expected onslaught of overseas travelers (with a higher than ever expectation of visitors from the Far East) or will business travelers be your focus now? Or maybe you’ll move from the classic room model to long-stay suites for digital nomads looking for a home (office) away from home in your hotel. 

As you work through that targeting, you’ll also have to determine which upgrades are critical vs. those that are affordable, easy to roll out and use vs. what might be considered more of a vanity or unnecessary upgrade. 

Your CTO will likely create a multi-pronged approach to create an updated tech plan. They’ll also be challenged with finding ways to support your bottom line while surpassing guests’ expectations for a connected state of the art experience. Or at least that should be the plan. 

At Relay, we’re proud that our devices connect distanced workers and empower them through the use of a panic button and a completely connected cellular network. Contact us to find out how to empower your staff and clientele through connectivity with a device that alerts anyone to potential danger.

Having the latest widget or software is all well and good in theory; in practice every new bit of tech innovation has to improve the guest experience to validate your investment.

Use technology to help create a more meaningful guest experience

Having the latest widget or software is all well and good in theory; in practice every new bit of tech innovation has to improve the guest experience to validate your investment. And no pressure here, it should also be good enough for them to share on social media or with friends, families and colleagues. And if it isn’t, you should be working on a drastic makeover.

While many properties were shuttered during the worst of the pandemic, the Kimpton Surfcomber in South Beach underwent a massive makeover. Most interesting is the fact that instead of improving the business center, they eliminated it entirely. They anticipated that in an effort to social distance, more guests would work from their rooms or even poolside. 

As reported in Skift, the Surfcomber also boosted wi-fi in the backyard area and cabanas. Tech, furniture and fixtures were updated with the understanding that guests would be using these former lounge spaces as their personal offices.

Improve cyber security

It will be impossible to ignore the fact that the return of travel — and remote work at hotels  will likely result in an increase in physical and cyber crimes. With most hotels having leaner staffs, it will be critical to create state of the art systems that monitor every element of guest and staff experiences.

In March 2021 the FBI released their 2020 Internet Crime Report which was incredibly sobering. The report included 791,790 instances of suspected internet crime, an increase of more than 300,000 complaints from the previous report. 

As you take your hotel more fully into the digital realm, it’s urgent to prioritize your cyber strategy to boost guest confidence. As you create and implement cyber deterrence plans, you should also create ways to share that information with guests, even as you reassure them that their personal information is protected. 

Improve personal security

We started this post by talking about panic buttons, and it seems appropriate to end off by discussing panic buttons as well. 

High tech/high touch has always been a desired outcome, even more so in the hospitality industry. And as your property moves to fully tech driven details including keyless door locks and self-serve check-in and check-out, your housekeeping staff may find themselves feeling more isolated than ever. 

Outfitting your frontline workers and housekeeping staff with panic buttons should be as painless a process as possible. It also empowers staff and reassures guests that you both value and protect your staff and guests. 

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