How businesses in the hospitality industry can benefit from a connected guest experience

Connectivity has emerged as a basic necessity in the hospitality industry. We expect to be able to browse the internet, send messages and make calls whether we’re walking in or in between shopping centres, hotels, bars or restaurants. There’s also a growing expectation that cellular connectivity in spaces such as these will enhance our time spent within them, with visitors using their smartphones to access a range of connected services. We can term this the ‘connected guest experience’ – part of a global movement toward smart cities and citizens.

However, improvements in connectivity made by many in the sector (including both business and venue owners) have been relatively slow, and consumers and stakeholders are missing out as a result.

An untapped opportunity

Delivering a connected hospitality experience is an untapped opportunity for businesses. Events organisers, tourism boards, leisure facilities (and many others in the hospitality ecosystem) can use the provision of high-quality, next-generation connected services as a USP and competitive differentiator.

Overcoming challenges

When trying to roll out improved connectivity, challenges facing the hospitality industry include:

  • Regional requirements: legislation governing frequency differs from country to country, which makes it difficult for multi-national businesses with numerous venues (such as hotel chains) to implement a global, joined-up approach to connectivity.
  • Signal degradation: many venues receive patchy coverage from outside. A connectivity solution must therefore be able to deliver signal strong enough to overpower this, and which can also pass through modern building materials.
  • Funding: an increase in mobile data consumption doesn’t necessarily equate to a growth in profit for operators. Financing in-building coverage is therefore unlikely to be a business-wise move for telcos, especially considering the limited square footage of some of the venues in question.

Despite these challenges, the idea of the connected guest experience as a real business opportunity for the hospitality industry is taking hold. The technology – digital DAS – is there, and the willingness to invest in high-quality, high-capacity coverage is growing. We conducted a recent survey of around 140 hotels based in a European capital and found that almost half of these were unhappy with the current quality of in-building coverage and would be willing to invest in better infrastructure.

‘Better’ means connectivity infrastructure that delivers return on investment, reduces OPEX, and offers a cost-effective solution for the long-term. This can be achieved with digital DAS, which can be adapted and upgraded easily via software, and, by supporting multi-operator and multi-band use in a single system, cuts power consumption and costs.

A view of the future

It’s in its capacity-shifting capabilities, though, that idDAS will really help to drive the evolution of the guest experience. If one of the 140 hotels in the aforementioned European capital was to invest in better connectivity, for instance, it could benefit not only its own business, but also those in the surrounding area. Expanding coverage areas, and directing and scaling capacity where and when it’s needed, could result in seamless connectivity from the hotel to a restaurant next door to a public square in between and a train station in close proximity.

This opens up opportunities for geo-located marketing by businesses across a connected site. For example, a guest checking into their hotel could receive a pop-up notification for a restaurant deal next door, while a downloadable app could help visitors to find out about services in a business park.

Being able to use your phone at a venue like a hotel or restaurant will soon be the seen as the most basic requirement from visitors. This isn’t an impossible demand: the technology is there to deliver this, and the opportunity for generating new revenue streams from connected services is clear. Get in touch to discover how to unlock the benefits of the connected guest experience.

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