A Digital “Sign” Of The Times For Hospitality Purveyors

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Hotels, resorts, cruise lines and other hospitality venues are adapting digital signage to replace printed signs and notices within their establishments. The benefits are many, but most notably the ability to instantly change messages and the cost savings from printed placards. Staff time savings, guest convenience, promotions of internal amenities such as restaurants and lounges, and the cachet of IT within their establishments are also incentives to move toward digital signage, not only as information but also a point of sale (POS) incentive.

Mood Media is one company that has expanded to the hospitality sector, adding content from TripAdvisor’s® website to its digital signage solutions. Dubbed MVision Travel, the digital signage application serves as a “virtual concierge” for guests at major hotel brands. The real-time feed of TripAdvisor content into guest rooms includes recommendations, graphics and ratings for local attractions.

Cruise ship digital signage can serve as support “staff” through touch screens and monitors. Helping players find casinos, providing prices and appointment settings for spa and salon services, accessing information about formal events and recreational schedules and more, digital signs can also serve crucial functions such as displaying passenger safety information and protocols.

For example, Four Winds Interactive iDS® software solution is used on the Oasis of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. The company’s website notes that the size, number, and placement of digital signs and touch screens throughout the ship is crucial, but the software platform and applications are just as important, if not more so. This software will determine what content can be shown on these displays and how easy the system is to manage. One critical decision that executives face is whether to purchase a software license for a single ship or for the entire fleet when implementing cruise line digital signage. By purchasing a company-wide license, the cost per ship and per sign goes down, and the opportunities to create consistent cruise line branding increase substantially. The economic benefits of a fleet-wide license can also serve as the perfect excuse to invest in a fleet-wide overhaul of guest services and amenities.

A White Paper from Keywest Technology cites six areas that digital signage in hotels can cost-effectively increase revenues and enhance the guest experience. They include in-room channels; door cards; reader boards; advertising signage; mapping; and hybrid, interactive displays such as kiosks. Amenities offered on the property or information on hours of operation for an in-house restaurant, checkout times or safety procedures can also be displayed.

The White Paper notes that real-time advertising messages geared toward the demographics of an anticipated audience may be the chief advantage of digital signage in advertising applications over static, printed signs. The practice, called “day-parting,” empowers managers to promote

in-house restaurants based on breakfast, lunch or dinner specials of the day on the same sign at the time of day when people are most interested in a given meal. Later, that sign can be used to promote the hotel lounge and special entertainment. Keeping the guest on the premises and spending money in-house is the goal. Additionally, advertising from selected outside businesses, such as upscale retail or local attractions, can also easily be added.

 

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