Some exciting things are beginning to transpire in today’s hotel industry. As technology finds its way into nearly every aspect of our lives, it’s important to take a look at the impact mobile device usage has had and continues to have on hoteliers and guests alike. Guests today are more technologically in-tune than ever before, often traveling with multiple devices that they plan to use leisurely, for business or both.  These devices are also increasingly moving more data as their radios become more sophisticated, and they have increased battery life and are connecting to even more cloud services.  Guests also have increasing expectations that they will always be connected wherever they are.

More smart devices translate to more data crossing the network, and this mass amount of data can be used to gather invaluable guest information for hoteliers, including behavioral insights and on-site property analytics. When collected, measured and used correctly, this data can create a unique and personalized mobile experience for the guest while also creating revenue-growth opportunities for hoteliers.

A properly integrated Wi-Fi infrastructure provides hotel guests with a superior mobile experience that creates personalized interaction with the property According to a recent survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, 74 percent of smartphone owners use their phone to get real-time location-based information, and 18 percent use a geo-social service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends. Cisco’s Access Points communicate with guests’ mobile devices, looking at the strength of the signal and then reporting that information to the hotel’s network infrastructure. Through access-point technology, hotels can literally map and triangulate guests’ location within the property based on the communication taking place between the guests’ devices and the signal being communicated to the access points installed throughout the hotel infrastructure. Hotels want to capture this information and are finding ways to monetize data information being transferred from guest devices to hotel networks.

One may ask, “Where’s the benefit in this?” Well, quite simply, location is important – mobile devices communicate with the access points and share data on how the devices see the network. Access points and Cisco’s Mobility Services Engine allow hoteliers to track how people are moving about the property. The biggest value here is human behavior analytics; what your guests are doing and when they are doing it. In the past, hotels have tried to pull guest behavioral data from separate systems, like guest experience surveys and gathering from line-of-business applications, which takes a lot of time. Through a location-aware Wi-Fi infrastructure, you can see exactly where guests are on property and how they move over time, giving the hotelier insight into how the hotel is being experienced. This allows hotels to provide guests with personalized services, location context based information about the hotel, and helps increase hotel-based marketing that drives wallet share. Hotels can then send push notifications to guests in order to drive business, creating more revenue for the property.

So, what challenges do hoteliers face when attempting to implement location-based services?

Well, this new infrastructure is a different model than what hoteliers are used to.  However, it is important for hoteliers to understand how to take advantage of the technology as guest use more location-based applications during their travel. Some hoteliers might ask, “What are common business scenarios that would help me consume this technology for my hotel?” The guest can use location for mobile applications and network services for activities such as mobile check-in once on property, way-finding for venues or social groups, viewing a dining menu within a restaurant and much more.  For marketing purposes, hoteliers can provide guests with information about the resort or venues, open spots at the spa and incorporate external advertising.

Hoteliers are on the forefront of technology that will soon be utilized by many businesses to collect data and improve the customer experience.  It’s no longer just about the guest asking, “where’s this located?” but more about the hotel asking “How long do you plan to stay there and what are you interested in?” By receiving this information through the Wi-Fi network, hoteliers can customize the guest experience while increasing revenue on property.


William Gustafson

Vertical Solutions Architect

Cisco Systems