Guest Expectations: The Only Thing That Counts

We have all contemplated purchase of a new high-definition display. High definition is one of the hottest topics in our industry today. With a seemingly endless selection to choose from, it is important to understand what drives our decisions. In the lodging industry, the only driving force should be guest expectations.

The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that by the end of 2005, high-definition displays had penetrated nearly 20 percent of all U.S. households and 49 percent of all householders were considering a flat panel display for their next television purchase. It is estimated that by 2010, annual sales of flat panel displays will near $72 billion.

Generally, guests don't care which brand of TV you have in your property, whether content is delivered to the room over IP or RF or whether you have cable or satellite. No one has ever received a call from a guest asking if they have X brand TV or if their content provider is brand D.

GUEST EXPECTATIONS

But guests do ask whether you have high-speed Internet access, high-definition TVs and comfortable beds. They assume that you, as a general manager, IT professional or owner, have already made the right technology decision. The first step in any technology implement ation is to find out what your guests want today and what they will want in the future. Additionally, evaluate what your competition is doing. Will they win that customer because you delayed your implementation or will you continue to satisfy your guests and enhance your customer base?

The next step is to make a technology plan. The entire team should be involved. General managers, owners, IP professionals, engineering staff and designers are all stakeholders in the technology decision. Don't expect them to be experts. In fact, it is probably better if they are not experts because they will more likely be able to empathize with the guest. And all the guest wants is user-friendly technology.

FCC TO THE RESCUE?

Almost. A Federal Communications Commission mandate intends to promote over-the-air high-definition delivery to the average U.S. household. The mandate requires that every television sold in the U.S. that has a National Television System Committee (NTSC) tuner must include an Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) tuner, even though the televisions may not be able to display the HDTV resolutions. These tuners are used to receive over-the-air broadcast of your local channels. (HD-ready sets, usually sold as monitors, are not required to include ATSC tuners.) The ATSC tuner mandate has three key dates:

  • As of this March 1, all TVs 25 inches or larger must include an ATSC tuner

  • As of March 1, 2007, all TVs must include an ATSC tuner

  • As of Feb. 17, 2009, the mandate says analog broadcasts, NTSC over the air, will be turned off.

This mandate has had an adverse financial impact on the lodging industry. The 27-inch analog TVs purchased just a few months ago now cost $70-$100 more, and can't deliver a beneficial return on the increased investment. At the same time, several major in-room entertainment providers are using the ATSC tuners in high-definition plasma and LCD displays to enable delivery of encrypted high-definition satellite and video-on-demand (VOD) content to the guestroom.

DECISIONS GETTING EASIER, BUT…

Standards are starting to solidify. Most major stakeholders in the industry have set their technology- and product-migration paths to support HDTV and digital rights management. Content providers are offering HD solutions. In-room entertainment companies will feature IP and RF delivery systems for high-definition VOD. Plasma and LCD display manufacturers offer lodging industry-specific models.

Many industry resources can help you find solutions that are right for your guest. Attending trade shows like HITEC or the HOT-Hospitality Operations and Technology conference can help you grasp the technology migration paths.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that your guests are impressed with in-room televisions that display vivid content and offer more movie choices than ever. Those will keep them coming back.


Randy S. Moore is a founder and principal of Guestroom Solutions, a provider of project management, integration and installation services and product solutions for in-room technologies to the lodging industry. Call him at 847-748-2565 or e-mail Randy@guestroomsolutions.com.

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

Enterprise CRM Guest recognition Loyalty program management Database marketing systems Rapid response Guest satisfaction survey tracking Concierge tracking Lost and found Package tracking ASP (hosting subscription model) E-mail marketing PMS and CRS interfaces Online profile updating by guest Other
AltiusPAR
Blue Square Studios
Booking Center
Brother International Corp.
Card Scanning Solutions
Cendyn
Clairvoyix
Concierge Assistant
Datavision Technologies
Digital Alchemy
Dovarri
Epicor Software
Extenway Solutions
Gatesix
GoConcierge.net
Green Suites International
GuestWare
IDT Group
Innes Systems
Intellix Media
Intouch Digital Systems
IQWare
Lodging Interactive
Metromedia Software
Micros Systems
M-Tech
Multi-Systems Inc.
Northwind-Maestro
PAR Springer-Miller Systems
Passkey
PriZem International
RedSky IT
ResortSuite
Shift4 Corporation
SoftBrands
SynXis
Topaz Hotel Services
TravelCLICK
Unifocus

REVENUE MANAGEMENT

PMS interface CRS interface Revenue optimization Sales & catering interface Distribution channel management Distributed at property level Central database Application service provider Optimization by distribution channel Other
AltiusPAR
Amadeus Hospitality Business
Aptech Computer Systems
Bartech Systems Int'l
Booking Center
Capton
Clairvoyix
CondotelWare
Datavision Technologies
Global Card Services
IDeaS
IDT Group
IQWare
Micros Systems
Northwind-Maestro
Secure-Res
Shift4
TravelCLICK
Unifocus

POINT OF SALE

Hand-held Purchasing interface Labor scheduling Menu analysis Table management Retail module Touchscreen terminals Integrated f&b accounting Cost control Bar-coding module Credit-card processing Multi-property consolidation Sales & catering integration F&B Management Restaurant reservations Other
Amerisafe Industries
Argon Technologies
Bartech Systems Int'l
Booking Center
Culinary Software Services
Epicor Software
Extenway Solutions
Four Winds Interactive
Hotel Information Systems
InfoGenesis
Innes Systems
IQWare
Keylink Solutions
Micros Systems
Multi-Systems Inc.
Northwind-Maestro
PAR Springer-Miller Systems
ResortSuite
Sharp Electronics
SoftBrands
Sprint Nextel
Visual One Systems

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION/DATA MANAGEMENT

ASP installation Standalone installation ASP and standalone installation Enterprise consolidation/viewing Data cleansing Data mining PMS connectivity CRS connectivity GDS connectivity IDS connectivity Web booking engine connectivity Sales & catering connectivity Two-way reservations interfacing Customizable reporting E-folio services Financial operations reporting Business operations reporting Other
Adaco Services
Agilysys
AltiusPAR
Amadeus Hospitality Bus.
Aptech Computer Systems
Bartech Systems Int'l
Birch Street Systems
Blue Square Studios
Booking Center
Capton
Cendyn
Clairvoyix
Data Plus
Epicor Software
Extenway Solutions
FSR
Gatesix
Global Card Services
Guestroom Solutions
GuestWare
Hotel Information Systems
ICSS
IDT Group
InTouch Digital Systems
IQWare
Janus Digital Displays
KABA Lodging Systems
Lodging Interactive
Multi-Systems Inc.
Northwind-Maestro
nSTREAMS Technologies
Passkey
Pegasus Solutions
PriZem International
RedSky IT
Shift4
SynXis
TIG Global
TravelCLICK

INTERNET TECHNOLOGY

High-speed Internet access via CAT5 High-speed Internet access via xDSL, HPNA or similar High-speed Internet access via wireless Integrated voice/data lines Proprietary ISP PMS interface High-speed Internet via CAT3 Participation in a wireless roaming network Bandwidth shaping tools Intrusion detection services Other
Agilysys
Argon Technologies
Brandstand Products
Comcast
Digital Alchemy
Eleven Wireless
Extenway Solutions
Fire2Wire
Four Winds Interactive
Global Card Services
Goodman Company/Amana
GuestDirect
Guest-Tek
iBAHN
Innes Systems
KABA Lodging Systems
Keylink Solutions
LodgeNet Entertainment
Merlot Communications
NEC Unified Solutions
nSTREAMS Technologies
NXTV
Pegasus Solutions
RedSky IT
RoomLinX
Shift4
Sprint Nextel
StayOnline
SuiteSpeed
SVI Systems
SynXis
TeleAdapt
Teledex
Telkonet
Time Warner Cable
US LEC
Wayport

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Locking system (magnetic stripe reader) Locking system (optical) Locking system (smart card) Encoder Infrared activation Interrogator Guestroom security panels ADA compliance Smoke, fire, heat detectors Energy mgmt interface Keyless system Front desk controller Wireless card access Guestroom safes CCTV surveillance Provisions for handicapped alarm/evacuations Remote trouble/alarm stations Biometric Mobile safe banks Other
Amerisafe Industries
Card Scanning Solutions
Digital Alchemy
Dometic Corp.
Energex
Hospitality Safe Corp.
INNCOM International
IQWare
KABA Lodging Systems
Lodging Technology
Lorica Solutions
Minibar Systems
Mintek Mobile Data Solutions
MIWA Lock Co.
Onity
RedSky IT
Safemark Systems
Saflok
SVI Systems
Timelox
Toner Cable Equipment
VingCard Elsafe

SALES AND CATERING

Integrated Trace and contact history Mailing engine Corporate account consolidation Remote access Auto. gen.: contracts, banquet/event orders, other Group rooms blocking Group history Function book PMS Interface Central database Distributed at property level Web/browser-enabled Lead exchange-Internet Multi-property functionality E-proposal Single-image database integration to property/group modules Room diagram integration Transient business Property /Corporate Reporting Contact management F&B management Other
Adaco Services
AltiusPAR
Birch Street Systems
Capton
Card Scanning Solutions
Culinary Software Services
Digital Alchemy
Epicor Software
Four Winds Interactive
Gatesix
Innes Systems
Intellix Media
IQWare
Janus Digital Displays
KABA Lodging Systems
Micros Systems
Multi-Systems Inc.
Newmarket International
Northwind-Maestro
Passkey
RedSky IT
ResortSuite
Secure-Res
Shift4
SoftBrands
TIG Global
Visual One Systems

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