Hospitality is going increasingly digital with hotel signage

The future of hotel signage is digital, as screens positioned around facilities elevate guest experiences, help operators streamline services and boost bottom lines for business.

Anyone who travels knows their hotel experience starts before they even walk through the door, as hotels can advertise using direct view LED displays on roadside totems or on the building’s facade. Furthermore, dedicated smartphone apps, tied to loyalty programs and beacons, can begin messaging guests before they even walk in, speeding up check-ins and personalizing welcomes.

This experience extends from the reception desk into hotel services and amenities, and even guest rooms. Hotel operators are increasingly using screens to help guests navigate the facilities, raising awareness of high-margin services and taking the strain off front desk and concierge staff during busy check-in and check-out periods.

Hotel signage is setting the tone for establishments. That can mean anything from a three-display-wide welcome screen behind a reception desk to iconic video walls that are central to a hotel’s decor and ambiance.

Here’s a look at what hotels are already doing with display technology, and how that will expand and evolve for the hotel of the future.

Lobbies: Greeting the guest

As guests arrive, single displays or clusters of tiled screens behind reception counters convey welcome messages, universal or customized. If a big chunk of that week’s bookings involve a business convention or sports tournament, participants can be recognized at check-in. To fully ensure they are leaving a lasting impression the moment guests walk in, hotels can incorporate Samsung’s The Wall. With its sleek, deep black background and customizable design, this LED video wall is ideal for lobbies. Hotels can draw in guests immediately with The Wall’s immersive visual aspects, as well as use its innovative features to rotate weekly or daily content based on guests’ needs.

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Another of the other most impactful digital signage applications in hospitality may be interactive information stations, sometimes called digital concierges. An interactive display in a lobby can itemize local dining, entertainment and attractions options, provide area maps, running routes, traffic conditions, and lists of area services, like nearby pharmacies, salons and specialized services. This technology can provide 24-hour resources for hotel guests during their stay, and even just one screen can relieve much of the pressure on busy reception staff to answer guest inquiries, notably at hotels not large enough to employ a full-time concierge staff.

Facilities: Wayfinding, meetings and menus

Large-footprint hotels with meeting and banquet facilities can be hard to navigate. Wayfinding and directory signs — interactive or not — are very useful in directing guests to business meetings, luncheons and special events in the banquet and meeting hall areas. If guests use the hotel app, beacons can provide them with step-by-step directions and push notifications during their stay.

Increasingly, digital signage software platforms are linking with hotel room management systems to automatically display meeting room information, saying, for example, that a company’s sales meeting is in Salon A. At the meeting room entrances, small screens — like Samsung’s 13-inch interactive display — display information about who has booked each room. Replacing paper in slots, these signs can show the logo of company or organization, detailed information or even the photo of a newly-married couple for a wedding reception. When the room booking changes, so does the sign. Hotel room management can also place digital signage near or in elevators to point people towards restrooms and other necessities. This integration provides a whole new level of customization to the modern hotel experience, and eases issues with content management.

Food services managers are using digital menu boards and other types of screens to replace printed material, enabling them to change menus and promotions by time of day, and adjust promotions based on what’s selling and what needs more publicity. Even fine dining restaurants are using tools like tablets to replace cumbersome wine menus with digital versions that offer more details and tasting notes, and that tie into inventory systems — so if a wine isn’t in stock, it doesn’t show.

Meanwhile, meeting and event planners are taking advantage of digital hotel signage to retheme event halls instantly, changing out the visuals on large video feature walls, and making available tools like collaborative digital whiteboards in private meeting room spaces.

With applications like these, digital signage is making its way as a standard tool not just for the guest experience, but overall hotel operations.

Guest rooms: The key to communication

Digital is also finding its way, increasingly, into hotel rooms. Dedicated hotel apps can make an ultra-wideband (UWB)-enabled smartphone work as a secure room key. Once inside, Smart TVs tied to hotel management systems can already be turned on, with an on-screen message personally greeting a guest and driving promotions like room service, hotel amenities and late check-outs.

In high-end suites, LED video displays like The Wall can be used to provide guests with the ultimate viewing experience, whether it’s to watch a late-night movie or wake up to the morning news — all in the comfort of their private room.

Looking ahead

With more and more devices — even light bulbs and mattresses — getting internet of things (IoT) sensors, the hotel of the future will be increasingly smart. The guest experience will grow more visual and interactive, and screens will also start finding their way behind the scenes, as displays can also be used for training new staff, and making them aware of when rooms are clear and when services are requested.

Overall, eye-catching and dynamic screens will make hotel guests feel great about being there, but the technology also enables hotels to work better.

Impress your guests from the moment they enter your hotel with Samsung’s latest hospitality technology solutions. Get tips on how to implement signage for optimal viewing and ROI with this free white paper.

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Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes is a well-known veteran in the digital signage industry. He consults to some of the world’s largest brands on their digital signage strategy and technical needs, but also spends time mentoring start-ups. A former daily newspaper journalist, Haynes has for the past decade written a highly-respected blog about digital signage, Sixteen:Nine. Follow Dave on twitter @sixteennine

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