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National and Global, United States

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is a "Digital Concierge" Good for the Hotel Industry?

Hospitality Design Magazine stated that "As digital technology becomes further integrated into hotel design and guest experience, an increasing number of hoteliers are tapping a "digital concierge" to fulfill guest requests. These interactive displays allow users to order amenities and search for entertainment and restaurants. In short, they take care of a variety of tasks that had previously been handled by an attentive person at the front desk. As technology becomes easier to use and better able to meet a wide range of guest needs, hoteliers and designers are determining how to balance a sense of self-service while still providing a full-service experience."

One school of thought says 'yes' as long as the software integrates well into tht overall feel of brand, and there is a reasonable ROI. Still another school, says 'not so fast'. Does this 'digital signage' type of technology take away from the personal attention from the staff, that in this day-and-age seems to be missing at many locations. Is the technology in fact, a 'fad' or a trend? Can all but the most premium hotel sites even afford it, when calculating ROI on such an investment? And will other future, emerging technologies surpass what is presently available? Will these companies still be in business five years from now?

Then there is the question of IPTV/VOD (video on demand) as part of the digital concierge service. What's the eco-system's functionality, is there 'last mile' connectivity? Can the software companies even acquire the proper licensing for the entertainment content? Is there 'localization' in that content?

Not everyone is jumping on this bandwagon. With present economies and the downturn in occupancy-rates, it would appear that the investment in such technology will continue to be challenging for both the hotel and the software providers, let alone be able to embed the IPTV/VOD/linear programming into the offering, at a reasonable cost. And finally, do I really want to order my dinner from a flat screen panel?
Perhaps 'yes'.

1 comment:

  1. Success leaves clues and this looks as if it is a bandwagon to jump on!


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