On the Edge: How Hybrid IT is Enhancing Hotel Services

By Herve Tardy VP & GM, Distributed Power Infrastructure Division (Americas), Eaton | April 21, 2019

In the quest to put the customer first – the hallmark of hospitality – many hotel chains have begun to reevaluate their approach to IT. The advancement of cloud services, the Internet of Things (IoT) and enhanced mobile connectivity have created new possibilities for improving the guest experience, and many are seeking to capitalize on these innovations. For the most part, this means moving away from traditional, centralized IT and instead implementing a hybrid IT system to drive streamlined services to customers.

With hybrid IT, rather than using a large data center to house all their IT devices and infrastructure, hotels use edge data centers and network closets that allow them to house data in closer proximity to their hotels. In addition to giving IT staffs more control over technical operations, this offers a way to improve connectivity, and help drive faster and better-quality services.

While hotels are benefitting from the movement towards decentralized IT, there are challenges to be aware of when it comes to network and power management. In this article, we'll explore strategies that companies can use to improve critical data protection as they shift toward decentralized IT.

Key Drivers for Hybrid IT

Hybrid IT strategies have been on the rise for several years, particularly within the data center industry. By positioning data services closer to the end user, companies have been able to meet an ever-growing demand for data and faster access to services from users across the globe.

While distributed IT models may have originated with huge enterprises and streaming content providers, it's no surprise that companies in the hospitality space would see the benefits to this approach. In an industry where business is personal, the promise of real-time data offers the opportunity for hotels to enhance the guest experience. By using a decentralized IT model with their infrastructure and endpoints strategically positioned in their hotels, a chain can push more personalized updates to guests – helping them alter their itineraries or keep them apprised of events and activities.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.