“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
This quote by Nietzshe has always stuck in my head. No so much for the statement itself, but for what it can be expanded to. We all dance to our own music. Some call it the beat of our own drum. To some, our dance looks chaotic. To others, it looks rhythmic and intoxicating. What more interests me, are those people that can recognize other peoples music and sync with them in their own rhythm and beat. These are the truly talented hospitality folks I occasionally work with. Continue reading Recognize the music – Guest Service→
Growing up in Southern California I became addicted to In-N-Out burger. Though I never worked there, several of my friends in high school and college did. It was through their conversations I first learned of the “Secret Menu” items and become addicted to animal style Double Double burgers. To this day, They are still my favorite, still not published on the menu board but no longer really a secret. Continue reading Secret Menus – Would they work in all hospitality?→
One of the more often debated topics in hotel technology is internet access for guests. The debate is whether to give away Internet or charge for it or some combination of the two. Many who have engaged me in this debate know that I am a proponent of a mix. I am a big proponent that if you don’t charge for electricity or water or basic TV channels then you should not charge for basic internet service. I get criticized for reducing internet access to a basic utility but this is how most of our guests look at it.
I am not advocating that you provide multi-megabit service for free. But just as we provide basic TV viewing, providing basic internet access is a standard amenity that should be provided. If you charge a resort fee to provide TV, phone and other services then including internet fees there works too.
That said I am also in the business of helping hoteliers figure out how to make money from all these technologies. With that in mind comes the idea of providing steps to our guests so that those that want a more luxurious Internet experience are able to purchase and consume it at a level that they desire.
There have been a few examples from the music industry which I believe provide a good lesson on how to serve an entire customer base. Nine Inch Nails awhile back served their segmented customer base providing songs for free to download at the low end while selling a box set of the same music with memorabilia for $300. The basic music was the same but the experience for the customer was entirely different.
I believe that the same should be true for Internet access. The base service should be free and easy. There should also be tiers that let a customer choose to experience the Internet at the level that they need or that their budget allows. Using this stepped approach ensures the customer gets the experience they want while still providing a revenue stream to the hotelier.
I acknowledge that there are other opinions on this. Hoteliers pay a significant expense installing and maintaining the infrastructure for guest Internet. But done right that same infrastructure should be providing other value as well. And overall, it should be a win-win for hotelier and guest together.
A part of my consulting practice revolves around technology for large homes and estates. In this, I have designed systems to communicate voice, video and data throughout a large home or multi home complex. Video surveillance has been part of this communication to provide part of an overall security solution to the residents.
A colleague I work with on a couple of these projects designs physical security including safe cores or safe rooms for the residents. We have had many discussions about using his expertise in designing a safer hotel. In all my discussions with hotel developers and brands, this has peaked interest but never been able to gain traction. With the recent events at the Taj Hotel in India, I believe there is a need for safer hotels using both technology and physical hardening of the structure and rooms within. Greater access control using biometrics and other current technology may not fully prevent tragedies but certainly would be a step towards providing safer accomodations to guests.
This is one subject that I would like the thoughts of others. Please email me or respond with a comment below.
While going through my emails today, I read a Realcomm Advisory about how one customer successfully lowered their insurance costs by having a in-building wireless system. There are many building System enhancements that add value and safety to our buildings. With a in-building wireless system, customers are able to use their mobile phones for emergency situations and public safety radios are guaranteed to operate anywhere in the building.
On the Public Safety Radio side, there are several jurisdictions that are now requiring this to get occupancy and many others looking at requiring this.
It seems we have both the carrot and the stick working toward the same goal. In the end, the tenants and customers of these building will certainly be the beneficiaries.
One of my presentations on Connected Real Estate (CRE) this week was to a group attempting to understand the market better. When attempting to describe what it is I listed the 3 phases/areas that I have used for several months. Since it was new to several of them, I thought I would share my view here as well.
When working in CRE, the 3 areas where I divide and focus are the construction process, building systems and tenant services. Each of these has their own stakeholders and their own objectives.
The Construction process benefits from a CRE strategy in streamlining the process through technology, reducing material costs with more technology integrated (“connected”) materials and through better communication of issues and changes with all concerned parties. The materials and information that is used and developed here also benefit the operation of the building systems and tenant services.
The Building systems are overlap into the construction process but are more focused on operating the building after it opens. The “right” building materials can make a building more efficient and for “green” buildings is a must. Even without a green strategy, implementing building systems that communicate can realize the property owner/operator substantial energy savings and tenant satisfaction.
Tenant systems: We live in a connected world. Whatever may be attached to your hip or in your briefcase, it will only be more connected in the months and years to come. Creating a real estate asset that has this connectivity built in as a basic service of the building will provide a much more friendly environment for the tenants. For the best services, this connectivity needs to be designed into the building from the start.
In general Connected Real Estate in any of these area can make a real estate asset more valuable to both the owner and the users. When all of these come together, it is truly a WIN-WIN for all.