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Last week, I held a webcast talking about how hoteliers can differentiate their brands through in-room innovation. While creating an engaging guest experience has always been a priority, it’s much easier said than done in today’s digitally-connected world.

The latest 2015 Lodging Technology Study by Hospitality Technology shows an increase in IT spending as hotels bank on customer-facing mobility and in-room upgrades to meet rising guest expectations for technology. These investment areas are consistent as part of the conversations I’ve been having with global brands.

In the webcast, I shared some of the trends we are seeing and working with—in particular mobility as well as big data, cloud computing, smart sensors, adaptive wearables and natural user interfaces. These all present opportunities to enhance experiences or efficiencies within an area of the property to drive interest and loyalty with guests, and differentiate the hotel brand at the same time.

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So how does Microsoft bring all of this together? This is one of the common questions I get in my hospitality customer conversations, and it really comes down to two things.

How we work with our different product groups and industry leaders to bring innovative solutions to life and drive new experiences is centered on looking at the customer’s entire travel experience as a whole. This includes all aspects of the guest’s journey from planning and purchase, to arrival, to all parts of their stay, to post-trip reflection.

From there, our focus really comes down to providing personalized, seamless and differentiated guest experiences throughout that journey. How we can help hoteliers make guests’ experiences more customized to what they require. How we can make those experiences seamlessly connected from different touch points throughout their stay. And how can we help brands stand out above their competition through accessing technology, offering new experiences, and looking at specific investment areas—often fairly inexpensive—that really enhance the traveler journey, like tablets and other in-room technology.

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To discuss how to enhance the guest experience through a digitally-connected room and make that in-room experience a seamless aspect of the guest’s journey, I was joined by Leo Daiuto, SVP of user experience and product strategy, at Evolve Controls.

Evolve Controls’ Room Operations Center (ROC) platform is designed to be the digital nervous system of a hotel room. ROC enables all of the in-room systems to drive guest satisfaction and revenues by enhancing everything from lighting and climate to entertainment and personalized experiences. Hotels can give guests control, and stay connected, through in-room concierge devices or with their own personal device. It also provides staff with real-time dashboards, enabling seamless back-end customer service, and allowing for predictive maintenance.

ROC is cloud-based so it’s modular, secure, and most importantly, future proof. Leo also touched on how you get to estimated, measurable cost savings, and I talked about the solution’s security measures and protocols that are in place, utilizing Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

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The latest technology innovations and the Internet of Things are providing tremendous opportunities for hotel brands to redefine the guest experience through in-room automation and personalization. We are looking forward to discussing and sharing more examples at the upcoming HITEC 2015 technology conference in June.

To learn more in the meantime, I encourage you to watch the webcast replay here.

LinkedIn: Greg Jones
Twitter: @gjonesMSFT