How to ensure self-service solutions pay you back
There is nothing more frustrating to me than seeing an interactive kiosk/digital display out in public that either does not work or is so lagging or unresponsive that it's virtually non-functional. All I can think of is yet another wasted opportunity. As I've said before there is nothing worse for an industry that's ready to grow more than poorly functioning product. I was recently meeting with a potential client who was considering using my virtual concierge software in his hotel that illustrates this problem perfectly. His current system was so slow that at best it took 30 seconds to register a click.
We never got to do business together because the owner ended up telling us that they already have three different digital signage contracts for the hotel and didn't want to take on another, especially since two out of three of those signage pieces were costly and not performing as expected. This particular hotel has digital signage in the garage, a digital reader board in the lobby and a digital concierge kiosk. As I've said before two thirds of the displays didn't work right.
But this actually isn't too different from what I've seen in a lot of the hotels I have been in. One hotel I was in recently had digital displays on every floor, but the screens were turned off and actually hadn't worked in a year. Another major hotel chain typically has at least two to four different digital displays working at any given time, each from a different vendor and each with its own set of monthly fees.
Here's a list of the most common digital displays that I've seen in hotels, and some are not even necessary:
- Interactive wayfinding
- Digital reader board advertising in house restaurants
- Internal wayfinding inside the hotel
- digital reader board advertising events
- Signage displaying arrival/departures of the local airports
Who really needs digital displays that show airline departures/arrivals anymore, especially when it costs money to operate and maintain? Information like that has been so easily accessible for years that it can be done for free now. Hotels, like many companies that might use digital signage, are not aware that modern interactive digital signage could probably do all of these features on one screen or a set of screens and probably save money at the same time.
But I think hotels are a perfect example of industries that can benefit from newer state of the art types of digital signage. They are using so many different types of signage and clamoring for so many different ways to save money that they could benefit from a more cohesive and reliable solution I think the main sale to make to these types of clients are the cost savings associated with more versatile/robust solutions. Self-service solutions can be a great way to save money if used properly and judiciously, or they can also be a huge waste of money.
Michael Ionescu Since 2004, Ionescu has built a proprietary software/hardware package for state tourism and hotels. Ionescu believes successful kiosk networks are built upon ongoing collaboration between the client and provider to develop flexible systems that clients and users are happy with for years. www