3 Key Takeaways from HT-Next 2018

by Kyce Poya 

Digital transformation is impacting every industry, and hospitality is no exception. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to Artificial Intelligence (AI) digital innovation is poised to enable a range of positive outcomes including improved quality of guest experience, more efficient operations, and better staff recruiting and engagement. Yet, as hospitality leaders look to adopt and implement these emerging technologies, one question prevails: “How can hotels make sense of all of this new data, manage a multitude of new data sources and take action to improve hotel operations and guest experience?”

Each year HT-Next, hosted by the Hotel Technology Forum and HTNG, brings together hospitality technology thought leaders and has become the must-attend educational and networking experience for hospitality technology professionals in North America to discuss the key trends and drivers shaping the industry’s direction.

Here is a breakdown of some of the hot topics dominating the conversation at this year’s event:

Achieving a unified, holistic view of hospitality systems

A typical hotel may have 60+ different IT systems to manage across its operations, including property management systems, POS, room key card/lock systems, loyalty program applications and more. Achieving a unified, holistic view of these disparate property management systems and applications remains a huge challenge for hoteliers. Without a single source of truth connecting relevant data from these different systems, hotel staff can be easily overwhelmed with managing multiple systems at a time – which could negatively impact efficiency and quality of guest services. At the Hospitality Systems Dashboards working group, hosted by Richard Wagner – Director of Emerging Technologies at Marriott, we discussed the tremendous benefits aligned to consolidating all of these disparate IT systems into a single, unified platform and the massive push that hoteliers are driving to make this happen. Achieving this unified, single view across disparate hotel IT systems is key to accelerating ROI and outcomes of digital transformation projects.


Building the “Intelligent Hotel” leveraging IoT technology

As more and more “connected things” enter the hospitality industry, how can hotel leaders maintain, monitor, manage and successfully leverage these devices to improve hotel operations and the guest experience? Advances in IoT can be leveraged by hoteliers to control everything from setting the optimal room temperature, lighting, or customizing entertainment preferences to personalize the guest experience. Similarly, hotels can optimize operational efficiency and revenue management by using sensors and mobile apps to streamline and automate everything from mini bar inventory management to room service ordering and beyond. However, in order to derive maximum value from IoT projects and deliver a flawless guest experience, hoteliers will need to ensure connected devices are seamlessly integrated with hotel IT systems.

Empowering a smart hospitality workforce

Jeff Bzdawaka – SVP Global Hotel Technology at Hyatt hosted a discussion on the important role technology plays in empowering hotel staff to deliver a better guest experience. It was noted that rising hotel staff attrition rates have been attributed in part to frustration with having to manage a variety of different hotel IT systems and applications – creating frustration and unnecessary complexity for staff. This, in turn, has also been linked to guest dissatisfaction due to slow check-in and check-out experiences and an inability for staff to focus their time and energy on customer experience. Emerging technologies such as AI and the rapid adoption of mobile devices are causing workforce roles to evolve dramatically. It will be key for hoteliers to find ways to simplify and streamline hotel check-in and check-out processes and ensure that hotel staff is empowered with the right data at the right time and with the right operational context to support situational decision-making and improve the guest experience.

With an increased burden on hospitality leaders to manage a large number of disparate hotel IT systems and unprecedented volumes of data, it will become increasingly critical to seamlessly integrate systems within a single, holistic view with actionable insights that help streamline operations, simplify job functions and optimize guest experience and loyalty.

Ready to create the intelligent hotel of the future?

N3N provides the world’s leading operations visualization platform. Leading brands across the globe trust N3N to deliver innovative IoT solutions and achieve transformative business and operational outcomes. Our platform is agnostic to data source, location, format or protocol – enabling collection of data from any hotel IT system or device. With N3N, hotels can seamlessly converge data from sensors, connected devices, property management systems, video management systems and more in a single, holistic view and gain real-time actionable insights that empower hotel staff to optimize operational efficiency and deliver the ultimate guest experience.