NEW YORK, USA: Sophisticated systems based on IP telephone networks in hotels will increasingly enable a range of new services aimed at improving customer service in hotels and resorts.
Although worldwide revenue from such systems totaled only $869 million in 2008, by the end of 2014 annual earnings will exceed $2 billion.
These systems will eventually penetrate mid-range hotels, but in the initial period will be found mainly in the top-tier of properties catering to those willing to spend $300 or more a night. According to ABI Research vice president Stan Schatt: “High-end hotels are increasingly turning to technology as a differentiator to attract a high-spending clientele. These services put a premium on improving customer service and staff accountability.”
Scenario 1: You order room service. Three phone calls later, your order finally arrives. Using new phone-based technologies, managers can see who took the order, track its current status, and see how long it took to fulfill.
Scenario 2: You are in your room, wondering which of the hotels restaurants to visit and what show to see. A screen on your phone shows you video of all your options, and allows you to make bookings.
Scenario 3: You are lounging by the pool. If you had a pocket, your money would be burning a hole in it. You punch a button on a wireless phone provided by the hotel, and it shows you items available in the hotel gift shop. Another button makes a purchase, which is billed to your room account.
“The variety of technologies needed to deliver such services means that this market is difficult for vendors to reach,” says Schatt. “It may require several different channels, including systems integrators.
Services companies such as IBM will play a major role here. Also to watch: specialized companies such as MTech, a SaaS company offering workflow managed services for the hotel industry.