Getting the Most From Your Hotel Technology

People using high technology at work and home expect the same high-bandwidth capabilities when they travel. The lock on their door makes them feel safe in the guestroom; guests similarly assume that their use of your Internet systems will be secure. At the same time, your hotel must balance the increasing costs of the service against the potential effect on guest satisfaction. How do you protect your hotel and your guests using the Internet, provide high-quality service and control costs at the same time?

I have outlined several ways to save money. The common element is a focus on your technology solutions.

IMPROVE INFORMATION SECURITY

Wireless transmission of data is not secure unless it is encrypted. To ensure the security and privacy of your guests, be sure your wireless network has implemented WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) technology, the most secure method of protecting wireless transmissions. Data that travel through WPA connections are safely encrypted to prevent sneaky hackers from accessing personal information.

Protect users from each other. One virus can infect every person on your network — guests and hotel employees — if users are connected directly on public Internet access. Use a network provider that insulates users through set-up of virtual LANs (local area networks) in the network and that proactively blocks viruses, spam and spyware.

GUEST SATISFACTION

Corporate travelers need to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to connect back to office systems. Each VPN connection requires a unique Internet protocol (IP) address to connect. If not enough IP addresses are available, guests cannot connect to their VPNs. Make sure your provider can provide a pool of IP addresses big enough to handle large-scale company events. When 200 employees from the same corporation want to connect, you'll want the IP addresses available immediately.

What do you do when your biggest event of the year requires more technology than you have at your hotel? Partner with a high-speed Internet provider who has the ability to bring in additional bandwidth or equipment (such as wireless) for corporate customers whose technology requirements exceed your current infrastructure capacity. This assures that you can meet the complex technology needs of all of your conference clients, while avoiding the cost of upgrading your existing infrastructure for just one or two events.

COST SAVINGS

“Free to guest” Internet service doesn't have to be costly to you. A broadband service provider that can manage bandwidth speeds to the individual guestroom level enables hotels to make sure one user does not “hog” the whole network. It also can provide a cost-effective solution for secure HSIA (high-speed Internet access) to the hotelier.

Sharing a T-1 line with a sister property can cut your costs in half, but be sure half a line is enough to accommodate your guests' connection speeds. An IT provider who proactively monitors bandwidth use at your property is essential, assuring you can upgrade to a full T-1 if future guest usage warrants it.

Integrate VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) in the back office for communication among employees. You'll see the savings in your phone bills.


Gregg Hodges is chief operating officer for iBAHN, a provider of broadband services at hotels and conference centers. Call Hodges at 801-563-2053 or e-mail ghodges@ibahn.com.

WEB MANAGEMENT

Website design Website maintenance Website analysis Search engine optimization Distribution channel management Data mining Linkage management E-mail list services E-mail campaign management Booking engine development Pay-per-click campaign management Other
Adaco Services
Agilysys
AltiusPAR
Amerisafe Industries
Aptech Computer Systems
Argon Technologies
AutoClerk
Blizzard Internet Marketing
Blue Square Studios
Booking Center
Cendyn
Clairvoyix
Datavision Technologies
Digital Alchemy
Extenway Solutions
Fire2Wire
Gatesix
Hotel Information Systems
IDT Group
Innes Systems
Intellix Media
IQWare
Lodging Interactive
Northwind-Maestro
Passkey
Pegasus Solutions
PriZem International
RoomLinX
Secure-Res
SoftBrands
SynXis
TIG Global
Topaz Hotel Services
TravelCLICK

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Reservations Web booking interface Accounting Multi-property management Activities scheduling (tee times, tennis, spa) Remote check-in/check-out stations kiosks Online credit card authorization Energy management interface Multilingual capability Back-office interface Housekeeping/maint. mangt. CRM capabilities/interface Loyalty program administration Timeshare/condo management Wireless devices Multi-property accounting Guest history ASP-central processing Application service provider (ASP) Guest data encryption Condo owner accounting Timeshare functionality Sales & catering interface Guest reporting password protection Guest credit card viewing encryption Other
Agilysys
Amadeus Hospitality
Amerisafe Industries
Aptech Computer Systems
Argon Technologies
AutoClerk
Birch Street Systems
Booking Center
Card Scanning Solutions
CondotelWare
Data Plus
Digital Alchemy
Epicor Software
Extenway Solutions
Galaxy Hotel Systems
Gatesix
Goodman Company/Amana
Hotel Information Systems
ICSS
IDT Group
Innes Systems
Intouch Digital Systems
IQWare
Janus Digital Displays
KABA Lodging Systems
Keylink Solutions
Lodging Interactive
Metromedia Software
Micros Systems
Motorola
Multi-Systems Inc.
NEC Unified Solutions
Northwind-Maestro
Onity
PAR Springer-Miller Systems
Passkey
RedSky IT
ResortSuite
Secure-Res
Shift4 Corporation
SoftBrands
Sprint Nextel
StayOnLine
SuiteSpeed
SynXis
Visual One Systems
White Wolf Software

ASP/WEB-ENABLED SOFTWARE

CRS PMS POS Sales and marketing/event management Back-office accounting Corporate reporting F&B accounting Maintenance/facilities management Activities scheduling Timeshare/resort management Hosting Other
Adaco Services
AltiusPAR
Amadeus Hospitality Business
Aptech Computer Systems
Bartech Systems Int'l
Birch Street Systems
Blue Square Studios
Booking Center
Brother International Corp.
Card Scanning Solutions
Cendyn
Clairvoyix
Culinary Software Services
Data Plus
Datavision Technologies
Digital Alchemy
Eleven Wireless
Epicor Software Corp.
Extenway Solutions
Four Winds Interactive
Gatesix
Global Card Services
GuestWare
Hotel Information Systems
IDeaS
InfoGenesis
Innes Systems
Intouch Digital Systems
IQWare
KABA Lodging Systems
Keylink Solutions
Metropolis Technologies
Micros Systems
Mintek Mobile Data Solutions
M-Tech
Multi-Systems Inc.
Newmarket International
Northwind-Maestro
PriZem International
RedSky IT
Shift4
StayOnline
SynXis
TravelCLICK
Unifocus
Visual One Systems

GUESTROOM ENTERTAINMENT/ SERVICES

Free-to-guest TV Premium entertainment channels Pay-per-view movies at fixed times Interactive guide to hotel facilities/events/the area In-room fax machines Internet access Internet TV Printer/fax/copier Video voice mail Multilingual capability DVD Premium audio Audio downloading On-demand movies Business or Internet center kiosks Folio review/in-room check-out Satellite TV Televisions Refreshment center Computers Interactive guestroom shopping HDTV Bundled HSIA XM satellite radio Sirius satellite radio Other
Amerisafe Industries
Applied Media Technologies
Bartech Systems International
Brandstand Products
Brother International Corp.
Comcast
DIRECTV
Dometic Corp.
EasyConnectPC
Eleven Wireless
Extenway Solutions
Fire2Wire
GBC Blue
Guestroom Solutions
Guest-Tek
HBO
iiBAHN
Keylink Solutions
LG Electronics
LodgeNet Entertainment Corp.
Lorica Solutions
Merlot Communications
Minibar Systems
nSTREAMS Technologies
NXTV
On Command
Panasonic Hospitality
Petters Hospitality
Philips Business Display
RedSky IT
RoomConX
RoomLinX
Sharp Electronics
Sharper Image
Showtime Networks
ShuttlePoint
Sprint Nextel
StayOnline
SuiteSpeed
SVI Systems
TeleAdapt
Teledex
Telkonet
Thomson (RCA)
Toner Cable Equipment
USA Technologies
US LEC
Vertical Systems
Wayport

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