Hospitality Technology Trends & Industry Challenges: Q&A with Richard Wagner

Despite many concerns about business travel returning, the hospitality industry has hosted many events this year – some with record-breaking numbers. From AAHOACON, to HITEC, The Hospitality Show and more, these events have brought together so many people, ideas, challenges and opportunities to have important discussions about what’s next for hotels, staff and guests. Specifically related to the hospitality technology trends, our very own Richard Wagner, director of certification and compliance, helped answer a few questions to summarize what he’s hearing and seeing at events and during his discussions around the industry:

What new hospitality technology trends do you see affecting the industry?

New trends include the ability to support new guest demands, as well as the ability to operate the hotels with less staffing. Guests will continue to require better wireless connectivity, including increased bandwidth demands. Guests will also expect seamless roaming between their 5G-enabled devices and the hotel Wi-Fi, as well as support of 5G inside the hotel.

What issues are currently causing headaches for the industry?

Three major issues the industry is facing include:

Staffing: Both in housekeeping and hotel operations, as well as technical staff at the properties and corporate headquarters.

Networking equipment availability: The industry is still struggling to acquire new networking equipment, especially wireless. In some cases, the inability to acquire the equipment has delayed hotel openings.

Data security: Hotels struggle to keep up with the ever-increasing security breaches and the protection of guest information. 

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for the industry as we make our way through this year?

Numerous announcements of new AI products are creating an opportunity for the industry to take advantage of this technology, both for augmenting the lack of staffing as well as having the ability to predict network and operational failures. This will create a more reliable operational environment for better guest and staff experiences. 

What do you think will be an important technology for hotels?

Converged Networks: To support the demand for IP-connected devices and applications, hotels have typically installed a dedicated network to support each new requirement. This has resulted in increased management complexity, as well as an increase in support costs. By creating a single converged network that can support all existing network requirements, as well as future ones (most likely unknown), the management complexity and support costs can be significantly reduced.

HTNG has recently completed a workgroup called “Next Generation Technology Infrastructure” that will provide hoteliers with the design, implementation, and support of a hotel converged network. I recently spoke on this topic at The Hospitality Show, and you can view my white paper here – a detailed overview of my session.