The hotel industry has traditionally managed IT applications and network infrastructure locally on property, which led to higher costs associated with having local resources on premises. But now, many hotels have realized a need for greater operational efficiency and an ability to meet guests’ Wi-Fi needs. A virtual server seems to be the solution.
According to Gartner Inc., approximately 60 percent of servers will be virtualized by 2014, up from 12 percent in 2008. Clearly, we are starting to see large businesses across multiple industries realize the benefits of virtualizing their server workload. For example, one benefit is that IT executives are able to cut down the costs of storing data through physical hardware, which is both a costly and inefficient method. Without physical hardware, an on-site IT staff is no longer necessary which also reduces operational costs. Additionally, offloading information to the cloud helps free up bandwidth for guests and customers alike to utilize – a benefit very helpful to hoteliers that put the guest experience first.
A major step for hotels to create a seamless Wi-Fi experience for its guests is to create a smaller hardware and software footprint on property and optimize their limited bandwidth connections. This allows more data to flow uninterrupted. That’s where the cloud comes into play. Cloud connectivity allows hotels to offer greater bandwidth and a reduction in hardware footprint. We all know clouds don’t always come with sunshine. When a new technology, such as the cloud, is introduced and adopted, challenges can arise. But with a solid strategy in place, the transition to the cloud can be more seamless.
In order to transition to the cloud, hotels need to prioritize who uses the bandwidth to ensure that cloud connections are being used efficiently to support the day-to-day hotel operations. According to research by Gridley & Company, 81 percent of U.S. mobile users will have smartphones by 2015. This means that nearly every hotel guest will use their mobile device to connect to the Internet or Wi-Fi network during a hotel stay, resulting in a very crowded network and slow bandwidth. Knowing that guests will be on the network for most of their stay, hotels need to be sure there is enough room reserved for regular, day-to-day operations while still allowing that guest to watch his video.
As you can see, hotels choosing to migrate to the cloud will reap cost savings and also enhance guest satisfaction by meeting the needs of their always-connected-guests. For example, the cloud makes Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences location-based services, such as maps and turn-by-turn directions, easily accessible through guests’ cellphones. Guests will also be able to receive property information and alerts directly to their smartphones during their stay. When a guest experiences a customized stay like this for the first time because of cloud-based solutions, they are more likely to become a loyal customer, resulting in future revenue for the hotel chain.
So how can Cisco help?
The cloud is still relatively new. Fortunately, Cisco offers the first end-to-end solution to hotels from a networking architecture perspective. The best solution that builds the cloud intelligence into lagging hotels is called WAN Optimization. WAN Optimization allows you to compress and cache common functions, freeing up more space during data transfer. It is important that hotels have solid reference architecture to be able to organize traffic across the WAN connection. A solid architecture improves the guest experience and centralizes business data analytics because the hotel is able to share statistics throughout the hotel chain almost immediately.
Cisco’s cloud services have fueled new opportunities across the hospitality industry, and both guests and hoteliers are benefiting from this transformation.
Interested in finding out more? Visit our Industry Solutions page for more information about Cisco Hospitality Services.