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GUEST VIEW: The host with the most

Wilson Lai | Sept. 3, 2013
Hospitality organisations need to deploy well-designed and tested network infrastructure to provide robust, high-speed Internet access and meet demands for world-class service from guests.

A shift has been seen in the hospitality industry. The need to focus on the consumer has led to a 'back-to-basics' approach amongst players in the hospitality sector in order to further differentiate themselves. Increasingly, the hospitality industry will be looking to develop better integrated systems and shared services by replacing creaking core legacy systems with 'self-healing' technology. Building a strong and versatile network foundation in order to create a safe and friendly environment where guests feel 'home-away-from-home' is imperative in maintaining customer loyalty.

In order to do this, hospitality professionals need to pay attention to what guests want. According to an amenities survey conducted by Hotels.com, only 11 percent of guests were willing to pay for wireless access. Another 34 percent stated that free Wi-Fi access is their biggest priority when choosing a hotel, whether travelling for business or leisure.[1]

It is undeniable that mobile technologies have now taken a huge leap, causing major disruptions for many organisations within the hospitality industry. In fact, the legacy network system has been stressed beyond the limit to support the implementation of 'bring your own device' (BYOD) programmes, stemming from the proliferation of end-user devices, and the need for data access over the public network.

To compound the problem, different regions around the world have diverse preferences and needs with regards to BYOD programmes.  According to a BYOD white paper published by Ovum, 44 percent of users in mature economies prefer separate devices for work and personal use, while 75 percent of users in emerging economies embrace flexibility in using personal devices for work and play[2].

The network - backbone of hospitality operations

The network is a key component of operations within the hospitality sector, which is often overlooked and underfunded, especially in recent years. Unsurprisingly, most organisations assume their network works well, and therefore do not even consider looking at new technologies to overcome any future challenges. However, they fail to realise the big role wireless networks play, as it permeates every aspect of hospitality operations.

The hospitality industry is one of the most challenging sectors to keep up to date with the latest technologies. Imagine walking into Galaxy MacauTM, a premier Asia-centric resort, entertainment and gaming destination.  Almost everything you see and hear is connected to the network, such as the light and sign controllers, background music, cash registers, and surveillance systems.

Additionally, Wi-Fi and data services offered in hotel rooms, as well as the connection to the Internet Protocol television (IPTV), are all reliant on the same network. The variety and complexity of network services are already daunting to even the most senior network engineers. The mobility and cloud computing evolution only makes the network more complex. Automated software simplified configuration, troubleshooting and status monitoring enable the resort to handle similar tasks for all switches simultaneously, saving time and resources. All of these point to a singular goal, spending precious time where it is most important - keeping hotel guests happy. That being said, the hospitality industry needs to go one step further.

Aim to over-deliver - good service will always be a differentiator
Technology needs of guests are quickly surpassing the capabilities of many of today's hospitality organisations. Here's why:

  • Multiple devices

 

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