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Saturday , May 27 2017

A new era arrives for digital signage

Interpersonal communication of all forms has been advancing with bewildering speed in recent years, affecting homes, businesses and other enterprises of all kinds. Not only is the accommodation industry no exception, electronic signage has become essential, right from attracting guests in the first place to keeping them well informed and happy while they are in your establishment.

This technology has been around long enough for most hoteliers and moteliers to have a pretty good understanding of its capabilities and how it all operates at a basic level. Initially that was likely to be displaying eye-catching still or video imagery and up-to-the-minute information, capable of being set to fulfil each of these functions consecutively or at the same time.

In an accommodation role, where many visitors with different purposes are trying to find relevant information, this dual purpose was and remains crucial. A large screen in a foyer area can be set to display particular information when large groups are due to arrive, and then revert to a more general split information and advertising format at other times.

An obvious advantage of digital signage is that it is usually managed entirely remotely. Each screen can be accessed on an individual basis or screens can be grouped together to display common information, all from a single location. Or, in the case of increasingly common web interface control, from anywhere at all.

Running a hotel entails juggling a set of routine tasks (such as bookings) and more ad hoc events. Digital displays are so flexible they can help in both cases. Displays can be planned days, weeks or months in advance to carry scheduled advertising content for instance, or quickly updated. A good digital signage system can be set to draw information directly from an events booking system and requires no staff involvement.

We are all so used to it now that it is becoming hard to remember when static signage or printed forms of communication was the norm in hotels and motels. But these days, no form of technology remains the same for long, and digital signage has moved on.

New era now here

That first digital signage was fairly basic, largely at the level of digital billboards, menu boards and wayfinding devices, but most users will now surely agree that it has entered a new era of flexibility and sophistication. Some now see the biggest growth in delivering internal and external communication channels.

Managing director of Labyrinth Solutions, Vaughan Reed said an example of this advancement is in the hotel space, where digital signage can be used to deliver a very effective communication channel for both:

• Internal communication to hotel staff – by placing screens in strategic locations where staff gather i.e. the staff lunch-room or back of office, management can stream content that will keep staff informed and engaged. This content can consist of: health and safety messages, short training videos, pat-on-the-back moments, staff notices, important announcements, customer satisfaction surveys (NPS), social events etc.
• External communication to hotel guests – screens are placed in common areas, such as: hotel foyer, breakfast dining, café, bar, etc.

Marketing can leverage these screens to stream marketing and communication messages to hotel guests, such as; keeping them informed of local events, discounts on local activities, marketing activities that encourages guest to book again or book at one of your other hotels, download the hotel loyalty app, and so on.

About Brent Leslie, Industry Reporter

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