Bridging the Digital and Customer Divide in Hotel Design

By Shane Weaver Director of Strategy, MaxMedia | November 26, 2017

The hospitality industry has its share of competition these days with Airbnb and other lodging options, and hoteliers are doing more these days to emphasize the guest experience. While financial resources greatly differ from economy chains to luxury resorts, there are plenty of digital tools across signage, mobile and the web available for all budgets that raise the excitement for guests, and create memorable visits.

The fact remains that guest expectations continue to rise at hotels and resorts. Today’s consumers crave more engagement, more choices, better service, higher quality, more value, more personalized options, peer reviews and social validation in virtually all aspects of their lives.

The struggle to keep up with aging infrastructure, fickle consumer preferences, and low barriers of entry for other forms of entertainment, challenge hotels and resorts to look at ways to reinvent guest experiences. These reinventions aim to meet and exceed the expectations of today’s ultra-connected, easily-distracted, promiscuous consumer.
Thanks to what seems like lightyear progress of digital integration into consumers’ everyday lives, we can see signs of how increased investment in enhancing the guest experience is creating a stronger bond between the hotel and the consumer.

Digital Enablement

Hotels that lack in the guest experience tend to still operate in an analog world. There is little question that people’s expectations of a quality guest experience have parallels to digital enablement, and how immersive and interactive those experiences ultimately are.

The guest’s journey almost always begins in the lobby as he or she prepares to check in. Beyond the general design architecture, hotels that embrace digital in the lobby are making a stronger initial impact on the guest.

The W Atlanta Midtown Hotel
LAX New Bradley Terminal crafts a wildly interactive environment
LAX New Bradley Terminal highlights a 72-foot-tall four-sided, digitally enabled “clock tower” that comes to life
Turn a dull walkway into an advertisers paradise!
Digital signage can add new dimensions to various areas of your hotel that might otherwise go unnoticed
Renaissance NY Midtown Hotel in New York City. Users interact with the tourism portal on things to do around New York City
An entire hallway of digital art impresses guests at the Renaissance NY Midtown Hotel
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Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.