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Rob Jones
Written by Rob Jones
July 03, 2017

Vivonet at HITEC: 3 Big Hospitality and Technology Takeaways

Coming together for HITEC Toronto was a valuable experience for us on more than one level. For one thing, we came even closer together as a group inter-departmentally and formed a stronger bond as a team. That’s valuable alone.

On another level when it comes to emerging technology, we could see a whole spectrum of applications and functionality converging on a common goal to enhance the guest experience. We talked a lot about that earlier during our day 3 re-cap. We also talked a lot about the fact that the hotel industry is changing as expectations of what makes for a great stay have shifted and continue to shift.HITEC 2017 ceiling banner.jpeg

No matter what the application or product, the themes of this year’s show were very clear. Here are 3 big takeaways from HITEC 2017 that help us to continue to focus on helping hotel brands create better guest experiences.

1. Simplicity

As advanced as the technology is, it must see to addressing the guest needs in the simplest way possible. An example of this would be the ability to charge a purchase to their rooms by way of a kiosk transaction so that the guest can perform that transaction just by knowing their room number, and be confident on their first try to get what they want without staff intervention. The process is straighforward and intuitive. It has to be.

This simplicity principle also serves hotel staff. For them, an application that is built on that principle brings them up to speed faster. It also empowers them to help give the guest a sense of orientation when needed around the processes of accessing amenities, paying for drinks at the hotel bar or poolside, and any number of other processes that are relevant to the guest experience. Sometimes, the technology helps to take these things off of the plate of staff entirely, freeing them up for other tasks. Intuitive technology that brings the guest up to speed on its own is yet another principle that we saw at HITEC 2017.

2. Effortlessness

Connected to the idea of simplicity is that of effortlessness, when the technology does the heavy lifting for the user without obligation. So, when a guest can order and pay for a drink from any location in a hotel using hand-held tablet-based POS, that makes things effortless for the guest and for the server. If internet connection goes down for whatever reason, an offline mode for POS or kiosk kicks in to make sure that guests and staff aren’t burdened by the limitations of the technology. These are just two examples of this concept of effortlessness vital to the way hotel locations must operate.

The same goes for the idea of an easier check-out, and avoiding long lines at the front desk. Options to use the in-room entertainment system, or even by sending a quick email allows the guest to choose their own means of checking out of their room. Technology that enables effortlessness on everyone’s part, guest and staff alike, was a common area on which a lot of vendors who exhibited at the show continue to focus, including us.

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3. Clarity

The need for technology to convey very precise and very clear messages for the guest and for staff alike was another big theme at HITEC 2017. One application that instantly comes to mind is instant text messaging functions to the guest, letting them know when rooms are ready, and to later give guests the opportunity to give feedback about their stay, good or bad. This allows hotel staff to respond much faster to that feedback, to see to issues before they become too serious. It helps to ensure that the guest is comfortable while they’re still on the premises, and not after they’ve left.

Even things like on-screen messages for a kiosk should reflect the principles of clarity when it comes with communication with the guest. Confusingly worded messages have an impact on comfort and a feeling of welcome. No one likes to feel that way at the best of times, and least of all when traveling. The best technology designed for the hospitality industry builds clarity right in to make the guest feel capable at all times.

Technology that progresses the industry must focus on the basics

Technology is becoming more advanced, and leading hotel brands are investing in it more deeply to meet the changing demands of a new generation of guests.

But more precise to that point, the best technology that serves that set of demands isn’t always the most immediately sexy (although there sure were some great examples of that at the show, too!). It’s the applications that make it easier to see to the basics; creating comfort, reducing wait times in line, eliminating confusion by creating better lines of communication between guests and staff, and establishing a sense of welcome. When technology makes these things easier, that creates all kinds of space for the unusual, the out and out cool. Ultimately, even those things round up into serving these basic principles that the hospitality industry has always sought to perfect.

We had such a great time at HITEC 2017. In addition to fascinating and fruitful conversations with fellow attendees, the show helped us underscore our mandate to help hotel brands serve their guests better. We have quite a year ahead of us now. And we’re honored to be a part of an industry that is on such an exciting path.

We got a chance to speak to a number of HITEC 2017 attendees. If you weren’t one of them and you’re interested in finding out more about what Vivonet uniquely offers to the hospitality industry, you can contact us by clicking the button below.

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It was a good show, HITEC Toronto 2017! Thanks to everyone who made it what it was.

 

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