All the Comforts of the Digital Home

By Fred Crespo, Director of Technology & Business Development, Samsung | May 19, 2017

Crespo_head_shot_00941-(1).jpgGuests are increasingly expecting and demanding frictionless experiences from all touchpoints in their lives and this extends to hotel stays. In this exclusive Q&A, Fred Crespo, Director of Technology & Business Development, Samsung, offers insight into how hotels must address this evolution of experience and how hotels must innovate for today's digital guests.


Looking at guestroom technology as digital touchpoints for guests, what would you say are top functionalities for in-room technology to provide frictionless, relevant experiences for guests?     
CRESPO: Today’s guests are likely to bring multiple devices into the room. They already use these to power their day-to-day habits. With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, it’s important for hotels to utilize in-room technology in a way that will either seamlessly integrate with the devices the guests already have or offer a unique benefit that their personal devices cannot provide. This can be solved in a cost-efficient way with the right technology and the right content. In-room technology can provide a great benefit in the simplest way such as ensuring the guest has ample ways to power devices or providing the best picture quality with a 4K TV. Additionally, the in-room TV can be turned into a concierge to provide easy access to weather, billing, local attractions, and more with a smart content management solution. The content has to be tailored to provide immediate information relevant to their stay in the hotel in order to provide more value than their smartphones or tablets.

How has streaming content transformed the guest experience and what do hotels need to do to enable this?  
CRESPO: “Watching TV” no longer means viewing linear content – it represents all types of video content viewed on any screen/device. With the proliferation of OTT services like Netflix and HULU, guests want the flexibility of BYOD – bring your own device. Hotels need to provide the ability for guests to easily and safely stream personal content to the in-room TV. System integrators are now providing easy solutions for guests to stream 1000+ apps without having to login to the TV itself, providing a more secure way to access their own entertainment. This also helps hotels keep up with the rapid pace of technology to meet guest expectations.

How can, and should, location-based technology be used to create seamless, personalized experiences?            
CRESPO: Location-based technology can help facilitate a more personalized experience without intruding on the privacy or security of the guests. For example, if a hotel has a branded app, they can have notifications sent to a guest about on-site dining options or spa promotions as soon as they enter the property. The notifications can be tailored to a time of day to make the message more relevant – such as happy hour deals at the local bar or alerts on when the fitness center will be closing. As long as the content and message are relevant and useful, location-based technology can be a powerful tool to help the guest maximize their stay.

Considering automation technologies, what areas do you think should be low-hanging fruit to enhance the hotel experience and improve service?
CRESPO: With the rise of IoT (internet of things), guests have greater access to technology that allows them to automate their homes for a more comfortable and convenience lifestyle. Why not bring that to the hotel room so that they can feel right at home? In-room automation is an easy way to make the guest stay more comfortable when the need for human interaction isn’t expected or required. Tasks such as turning off the lights or alerting the staff to hold off on cleaning the room should be low hanging fruit for automated tech options. These are areas where guests want simple and immediate results without having to interact with another human. Hoteliers can keep the live interaction outside the room such as in the lobby where the verbal communication is expected and often needed.

For more information on innovating for the guest experience, download HT's Research Brief, "Enabling the Smart Hotel Experience."
 

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