Large, corporate travel oriented hotels have long used message boards and digital signs to post meeting notices. Now, economy and mid-sized hotels are following suit and adding a few innovations of their own. They represent a bountiful local market for digital signage resellers.
Many of the biggest economy and mid-sized hotel brands are actually franchises. The hotel chains, such as Wyndham Hotel Group, Choice Hotels International, Hyatt and Hilton, each with a number of sub-brands, provide national marketing, reservations support, and many operational services. Yet, local owners have quite a bit of flexibility to operate within the brand and ultimately, of course, they are responsible for their own profitability.
Let me give you an example of an innovative use of digital signage at a mid-sized leisure-oriented hotel.
Triangle Management & Investment Inc. operates four hotels in Florida. The corporation wanted to implement a digital signage system that was inexpensive, flexible, would work with its existing in-house cable systems, and could be remotely managed. We provided the digital signage software system at the company’s Clarion Resort & WaterPark in Orlando. It is used with a digital media player that drives digital signage screens in public areas and also the in-room information channel.
Benny Fresco, Triangle Management Director of Technology, researched the digital signage network for their Clarion Resort & WaterPark. A single digital signage feed serves fifteen 42-inch plasmas in the hotel, as well as televisions in almost 200 guest rooms – all delivered over the facility’s house cable on Channel 45. The business marketing signage promotes the WaterPark, restaurants and events, and is supported by background music and the hotel’s jingle.
The results have been great. “People are now aware of our restaurants and that we have specials. I’ve also seen an increase in breakfast. Our restaurant revenue has grown at least 10 to 15 percent since we’ve been using the sign,” said Fresco.
The digital signage is integrated into the meetings/events sales process, as well. When an event is scheduled, the sales administrator sends out the contract, reserves the room and posts the event to the digital signage system using a scheduling feature that holds the page until the event is near. The digital signage software automatically adds the electronic sign page to the display rotation before the event and removes it when the event has passed.
Triangle has also added electronic signage at its Fort Lauderdale property. It uses the same house cable setup, but in this case the electronic signage displays shuttle schedules for cruise ships and airport drop-offs since the hotel handles a lot of cruise/airport customers. That way, guests can spend their time (and money) in the restaurants as they wait for their shuttles.
In addition to feeding the information channel on the in-house cable systems, Triangle Management wanted to economically and remotely manage digital signs at its four Fort Lauderdale and Orlando properties from its Hollywood office.
Explained Fresco, “I wanted to find an easy solution that offered cost-effective business marketing to display meeting notices, advertise the hotel, display the weather and time, and have news feeds that I could manage remotely.” StrandVision’s Software as a Service (SaaS) model delivered the needed electronic signage service over the Internet. The digital signage content is jointly managed by corporate out of Hollywood and the local hotel administrators. Fresco “can see what’s on the screen and what’s going to be on the screen in Orlando from our offices in Hollywood.”
This is a big market opportunity for resellers with the potential for large installations and lucrative hardware and recurring software sales. The decisions are generally made locally. As with Triangle, management companies often own more than one property, increasing the sales potential and the benefits of a centrally managed digital signage network.
Using a SaaS distribution model like StrandVision you don’t have to worry about day-to-day support. Finally, it’s a great entrée to new accounts with a technology that has a direct payback and may not yet be offered by your competition.
Mike Strand is founder and CEO of StrandVision LLC, an Internet-based subscription digital signage service that is distributed through resellers. Previously, Mike founded StrandWare, a leading bar code software and AIDC company. Prospective resellers may contact Mike at mjstrand@StrandVision.com.