This is the year of the tablet. Try and find a vendor, that doesn’t have a tablet as part of their product.
In two years we will have forgotten that there was actually a “year of the tablet.” As mobile, hand held computing will become so ubiquitous in the operation of our business.
Tablet productivity will come from two sources. The guest and the hotel employee.
The guest becomes another user on your system without the training you would normally give to your staff. They make reservations, will check themselves into your hotel, order room service, request towels, all with no training.
Now just think of the effect tablets in the hands of your employees will have. They will be mobile, but more importantly, training times will be greatly reduced. You will even be able to train a general manager or director of sales to check a guest into the hotel.
The employees will truly become untethered. Tablet attachments have been designed for swiping the credit card and making an electronic key, either mag strip or RFID.
So as long a you have a wireless signal 4G or Wi-Fi, all will work.
The only thing that needs to be designed now is wireless power!!
For the hotelier and the guest, it’s amazing how one technology, Wi-Fi, has become the foundation to enable so many other technologies.
For the hotelier, anything browser, anything cloud, anything tablet is dependent on a safe, strong and reliable Wi-Fi network.
For the guest, they just want broadband service like they have at home and they don’t want to pay for it.
With tablet sales dominating PC sales, wired connections have gone the way of the compact disk.
The cost of infrastructure to the hotel owner will continue to grow as more and more bandwidth and network infrastructure is required.
The financial model is a difficult one.
Hotels that offer free Wi-Fi today will soon realize that they have to provide speed, as well as free.
Wi-Fi is becoming a competitive advantage. It will become a decision factor for hotel selection. Prediction is that guests will start rating hotels for Wi-Fi speed and reliability through TripAdvisor and other hotel review sites.
Convincing hotel owners to spend on Wi-Fi infrastructure is going to be a difficult task.
There is not a “silver bullet” solution to this challenge.
More to come at HITEC 2014.
Warren Markwart is a seasoned international hospitality professional with over 30 years of experience in all aspects of hospitality operations and corporate brand headquarters. He is currently principle of an international hotel consulting practice, MK2 Hospitality, in Toronto, Canada.
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