Pro AV can transform the experience of a hotel guest, especially those who are traveling for business. Pro AV provides all the amenities that a busy traveler needs and desires, making it a strong selling point for both corporate businesses and independent workers.
Catering to business travelers with a pro AV options requires hotel managers to do their research. Meanwhile, integrators should also understand the unique needs and challenges of a hotel setting before pitching an integration. Here’s how pro av can improve experiences for both hotels and business travelers.
Why Business Travelers Expect Hotels to Have Pro AV
The rise of pro AV in the hospitality industry has been swift and unexpected.
“If you’d have asked me two years ago if we’d ever be working in hotels, I’d have said no way,” observes Zach Richards at Big House Sound.
But pro AV is becoming more and more common in hotels, and even large events like InfoComm are sitting up and taking notice.
“For InfoComm 2019, we’ve collaborated with organizations that are focused on hospitality and retail experiences to curate a rich education program,” says Brad Grimes, senior director of communications for AVIXA.
Integrators are beginning to see the potential in hotel installations and many are offering solutions tailored to meet their needs.
Sean Wargo, AVIXA senior director of market intelligence, agrees that pro AV has many opportunities in the hospitality field.
“Hotels want reliable and user-friendly technology in guestrooms and to bring the wow factor to social spaces. There is a wealth of opportunities for pro-AV firms to work with these venues as technology partners to realize these goals.”
Hotels that don’t jump on the pro AV train might very well be left behind. And when looking at everything that a pro AV installation brings to a hotel, not having one could soon put them at a distinct disadvantage.
Benefits of AV for Hotels
Pro AV can completely change the way hotels operate, AXIVA explains.
“They become destinations themselves, attracting guests to the excitement of open areas and the intimacy of secluded alcoves. They transform the guest/ brand relationship through immersion. And they connect guests’ personal journeys to authentic, local experiences through dynamic, digital content.”
One of the biggest benefits of pro AV is that it can be used to boost a hotel’s curbside aesthetic, making it more appealing to potential customers.
LEDs, projectors and media façades are all AV-powered technologies that help hotels stand out on the strip, says Tim Kridel at inAVate. He adds that when incorporating AV into a hotel plan, it should be considered early on.
“The key to ensuring the best results while avoiding cost overruns is for AV to work closely and early with the architect. But as with any other vertical, hotel projects typically don’t bring AV in until the architecture and other construction details are finalised,”
Digital signage is a particularly useful way that pro AV can help hotels, and it goes beyond the exterior. Ingram Micro offers suggestions on where to utilize digital signage throughout the hotel.
In meeting rooms, for example, digital signage should be used both inside and outside of the conference room. Inside, microphones and speakers should be equipped to power meetings of all sizes.
This kind of functionality is an undeniable selling point for travelling business people. A hotel having a pro AV setup means guests will not need to bring their own. That said, the pro AV setup must be easy to use. If it isn’t, then business people will not want to bother to take the time to figure it out.
Challenges to AV in the Hotel Industry
Installing pro AV in a hotel isn’t as simple as choosing a solution off a shelf. Both vendors and hotel managers need to work together to consider which solutions work best for the guests in question. This is in part due to the rise of personal technology in the home, which can alter expectations of hotel stays, Tom LeBlanc at Commercial Integrator writes.
“AV integrators serving hotel customers may have their work cut out for them if they want to keep pace with the hotel industry’s focus on mirroring today’s emerging technology home and office experiences in guest rooms,” LeBlanc says.
Understanding the needs of business travelers is key. These folks want the latest technology leveraged in the most efficient way. If one hotel doesn’t meet these needs, they’ll find someone that does.
That being said, some AV functionality is more important than others. In addition to the aforementioned digital signage, it’s particularly important that rooms help travelling business people connect to offices and staff, says product manager David Di Muzio.
In other words, most presenters will have things prepared on their own devices. Business travellers will want to be able to plug in their own tablets and tools to the available microphones and TVs available. It is important to take this need into account when selecting a solution.
Still, many solutions on the market today can meet the needs of both hotel staff and guests. A good integrator will be willing to work with a hotel to find the perfect one.
There remains one challenge unique to hotels. Because each business traveler who comes in will need something a little different, and they come from all over. In order for a solution to truly be effective, it needs to be flexible enough to meet those needs, while still being cost effective.
And that’s where networked AV, or AV over IP, comes in.
Why AV Over IP Works for Hospitality
“It’s important to emphasize that AV over IP is cost-effective and hassle-free for many markets, including retail, medical, finance, hospitality, entertainment, and government,” says VCA Global. And it isn’t a coincidence that hospitality is added on this list.
AV over IP is becoming more popular. Integrators want to learn more about it, which has led to companies like Altona expanding training programs. But why is it gaining so much interest? As IVCi notes, AV over IP offers cost effectiveness, increased functionality and improved quality.
Overall, AV over IP is more flexible than most solutions, and easier for travelling business people to learn. Because it works through the internet, it’s in a format hotel guests would be familiar with.
“This innovative approach allows for flexible, configurable and scalable installations that can easily be centrally controlled and managed, resulting in solutions with a lower total cost of ownership and fewer IT manager headaches,” says S. Kyle Davis at Harman.
Scalability at cost is key for hotels due to the wide range of guests’ needs.
Mario Avila in particular notes that AV over IP works very well for digital signage, which is important to hotels.
“Today’s consumer expects immediate information. Digital signage can incorporate multimedia that meets this expectation by presenting fresh content that holds the customer’s attention.”
Moreover, sending AV signals over IP is a simpler way for companies to engage viewers in varied content across multiple locations.
AV over IP is easier to install and change, too, according to ZeeVee CEO Bob Michaels. He explains that AV over IP products have the intelligence to self-discover on the network. This makes installation and expansion easier because all endpoints and switches can self-manage.
Many industries are fast changing, and hotels need solutions that are going to change with them if they’re going to please the professionals in that area. But how does a hotel pick the right solution?
Assessing your clients’ needs is critical for answering this question, product manager Chris Fitzsimmons says.
“Are you doing digital signage that draws on recorded content, or a keynote speech that needs real-time delivery with minimal latency? Your use case will determine which codec is right for you; ask your IT support person if you’re not sure.”