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Brenda McCurry

The Hospitality Industry of Tomorrow

It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is booming. Valued at nearly $10 trillion, the industry employs one in eight Americans, and within five years, a jaw-dropping 10 percent of the planet’s population may be employed by the industry. So, what does that mean for resellers? In short: enormous potential. From advanced near field communications technology and scannable payments to a plethora of IoT-enabled devices, the channel is sitting atop a figurative goldmine, as long as they have the tools – and the network connectivity – to mine it.

Today, a hotel is no longer solely judged by the comfort of its beds or by what it can offer for breakfast. Rather, customers are looking for an experience that is as close to their own home as possible, and that includes skipping check-in lines, the ability to stream videos while scrolling through social media and, of course, knowing that they’re safe in their own rooms.

However, each of these amenities requires a reliable and secure network connection – one that comes easily at home but becomes much more difficult to replicate when amplified on a mass scale – not just in terms of the number of guests at a hotel, but in the number of devices each guest brings. In fact, one forecast from Cisco reports that by 2021, North Americans will have an average of 13 networked devices per person, many of which they’ll likely be traveling with. Just as when they’re at home, travelers – both business and casual alike – expect lightning-fast speeds and an uninterrupted connection, and their overall satisfaction hinges on the hotel’s ability to provide that.

This is why many of today’s hotels have access points in every room, or every other room, because they know that if a guest has to walk to the lobby to get reliable internet access, that might be the last time that guest will walk through their doors. The good news for hotels, however, is that many of these devices can be used to streamline day-to-day operations and boost efficiency.

The prevalence of near field communication (NFC), for example, is on the rise, allowing guests to transfer data quickly and securely. Guests can utilize their mobile phones and smart watches to lock and unlock their rooms, saving the frustration of getting locked out and creating greater efficiencies for the hotel. For establishments looking to provide a more personalized experience for their guests, apps with location tracking can alert hotel staff as a guest is arriving, expediting the check-in process and more closely mirroring a guest returning home, rather than arriving somewhere unfamiliar.

Another way in which guests can be made to feel more at home is by a strong sense of security. However futuristic they may seem now, fingerprint and retina scanners – actually standard in many phones today – will help to boost security. Meanwhile, cameras with facial recognition technology can keep tabs on who enters, or exits the premises, while cameras capable of reading license plates can control and monitor parking. Though not yet standard by any means, it’s never too early to consider how these technologies that exist on the horizon of the industry could create business efficiencies in the future.

In an industry that puts customer satisfaction at the heart of everything it does, members of the hospitality world are eager for advice from their resellers. Just as the home has evolved to become smarter, safer and more efficient, so must the hospitality industry. Fortunately, this evolution can be mutually beneficial, especially with ScanSource’s ability to provide technical assistance – including configuring cameras and loading IP addresses, or heatmapping an area to determine the best places for access points. Be sure to ask your ScanSource representative how you can talk to your partners about providing the best guest experience possible.