A Sit Down with techtalk.travel

“Every moment is a fresh beginning” – T. S. Elliot

After two years of vast change, setbacks, lockdowns, hard times and disruptions around the world, we all had time to reflect on our wants and needs – both personally and professionally. While we have been forced to push through this extremely challenging time in our history, it’s also created an opportunity for growth and change. 

I think back to when I was growing up in Silicon Valley, learning new things such as how to program a computer. When the internet started picking up, I wanted to be part of that change and became involved in that era of transformation. A lot of things have happened since that time, and it’s even more incredible what the world accomplished despite everything turning upside down in 2020. 

At this year’s HITEC in Orlando, I had the opportunity to sit down with André Baljeu of techtalk.travel, a dynamic community of hospitality innovators including hoteliers, hotel owners, industry students and tech providers. As techtalk.travel provides a forum to discuss the change needed by the fragmented hotel and travel technology landscape, it was fitting that André and I reviewed some history and technology trends impacting our industry today. Much has changed that pushed technology and the guest experience into new directions. So I thought I’d capture and expand on some of that discussion here.  

I find it fascinating that the hotel guest is always going to have new expectations, to which the hotelier will have to respond one way or another. As the hotelier’s technology partner, it’s our responsibility to provide a solution that not only responds to these new guest expectations but does so in a way that the hotel associates and service providers also achieve a positive experience, both operationally and financially. 

This is what brought me to Nomadix. It’s a company with a deep history of innovation and a team full of passion for helping build technology that guests truly want and genuinely need. Nomadix was founded by Leonard Kleinrock, who is one of the inventors of the internet. It was from his lab at UCLA where the first message was sent over the ARPANET to Stanford more than 50 years ago. Dr. Kleinrock and a team of engineers went on to form Nomadix and create what they called the visitor-based network, foreseeing that this interconnectivity beyond the home and office would be a necessity in the world of the internet. 

With its roots in authentication and bandwidth management, Nomadix created a solid foundation for hotels to keep their guests connected. Today, hotels are planning to adopt the many new technologies that guests want  – think IoT, AI, Smart Controls, Safety Alerts – all of which require the robust and reliable connectivity that Nomadix offers. This has driven us to innovate further and partner with other top technology providers, expanding us far beyond just being the “green box” gateway company.   

When planning anything new, we always begin with the guest experience. If you start there and are focused on a positive experience, you are headed in the right direction. However, what we believe is critical and often forgotten by technology companies is that the hotelier, their staff and the service provider must also be considered to ensure that everybody wins. 

A great example of this is guest entertainment expectations that have shifted from hoping hotels might have a good movie fresh from the theaters to wanting to watch the next episode of a favorite show from Netflix or Hulu. TV casting is a product that has gained tremendous popularity at home and is now what guests want to be able to do at a hotel. With Netflix having over 200 million subscribers and other major streaming services approaching similar sizes, this is not something hoteliers can ignore. 

So how do you take a home technology product and create something that will work for hospitality? You can’t just put it on the hotel network “as is” out of the box, which would lead to every guest being able to cast to every room in the hotel. That’s definitely a problem. So here’s where our experienced hotel technology team steps in to figure it out. First, you have to determine how to limit, or pair, a guest device to the TV in their hotel room, but make it so easy that they are not going to need to call a tech support line, or read technical instructions for help. Since Nomadix already authenticates the guest’s device to the Wi-Fi network and knows what room it’s in, we can easily pair that TV with that device and make it so simple for guests to connect that they aren’t even aware that it happened. It works like it does at home and avoids a frustrated call to the front desk, the last thing that hoteliers want. 

That’s the fun challenge that I see: how do you provide new technology that guests want, yet works for each property’s needs and makes it easier for hotel staff and the technology service provider?

When we develop our products, we not only think about the guest, but we think about the night manager at 2:00 a.m. When something’s not working, what visibility and tools will that person have? And then when they call the managed service provider who is also on the night shift, what are they going to be able to see to quickly fix a potential situation? Those are people who are trying to manage a hotel, or even multiple properties. It’s not like in times past where we might have a tech support person on every property. Guest experience, hotelier experience, support experience – they are all equally important and interconnected. 

This is why I love working with our team here at Nomadix. We have a strong, invested group, many of whom have been here since the company began. We also nearly tripled our R&D since I joined the company less than four years ago. We are expanding to new areas of hotel technology needs based on our customer and partner feedback and trying to make these new advances positive for everyone involved, including the guest. We are also taking our technologies to adjacent markets where we believe we can help solve new pain points with our proven solutions.  

If you are interested in hearing the full interview, be sure to check it out on the techtalk.travel website. Thanks for taking a moment to read this and hopefully find inspiration for your projects.