There has been quite a hype lately around beacons, in particular since HRS has invested 10m in this technology, which is supposed to improve the customer experience in the hotels. But what is behind all this?

The beacon technology allows hotels to identify their guests via an app, e.g. a receptionist can see the guest's profile on a tablet when he enters the lobby. This enables a personalized welcome experience and service. Sounds great in theory, but what about reality? Is the beacon technology the ultimate solution for the hospitality industry? And what actually is a beacon?

A beacon is the natural progression of the QR (Quick Response) Code, which never had a real break-through despite its intelligent potential uses. A beacon is a small Bluetooth transmitter, which can be installed e.g. in the lobby, that sends signals to mobile end devices such as Smartphones. The technology enables automatic communication between various devices. If more than one transmitter is installed in a room the user can be localized, which is quite interesting for location-based services. So far, tracking has been difficult especially in closed rooms. The localization allows a hotel to get in touch with its guests, send vouchers, provide additional information, etc.

Sound amazing, but where is the catch? There are two fundamental challenges: Firstly, Bluetooth needs to be activated on the recipient's mobile device. Currently, about 70% of all Smartphone users deactivate Bluetooth in order to maximize battery life. Secondly, the user has to download and activate a special app on his Smartphone. The usage of apps is increasing, but is limited to only a few such as Facebook, Youtube, or news apps. In general, customers are getting tired of apps. Hotel apps have a low spread and there are only a few successful ones, as consumers refuse to download a hotel app, if there is no added value.

Considering these challenges, the beacon technology should be critically assessed. But why is a smart company like HRS investing huge amounts in this technology? HRS is losing market share and in my opinion the management is looking for new paths. Only the apps of the big OTAs are somehow accepted and used. If HRS integrates the beacon technology in its app and a beacon sender is installed in the hotel lobby, HRS guests could be offered a better service than guests who came via other channels. This would mean that a guest who comes through an expensive OTA would get a better service than the more valuable guest, who booked directly at the hotel.

On top, the collected data would remain with the app provider and not with the hotel. Nowadays, data is more precious than stones. The stock prices of Priceline versus Marriott or Hilton reflect this clearly. The investment could indeed be interesting for HRS, depending on how many hotels are installing beacons. But what is in for the hotelier? It remains interesting to see who will actually make the connection.

About dailypoint™ – Software made by Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll. GmbH

dailypoint™ is the leading Data Management and CRM platform for demanding individual hotels and hotel groups. dailypoint™ collects data from all relevant sources such as PMS, POS, website, newsletter, or WiFi and automatically creates a central and consolidated guest profile. In 350 steps, the data is processed and enriched by means of artificial intelligence (AI) to create a guest profile like never before.

The cloud-based SAAS solution consists of 16 modules and is complemented by the dailypoint™ Marketplace with almost 200 solution partners. dailypoint™ not only offers measurable marketing, but also covers the entire customer journey and thus supports all departments within a hotel. The integrated Privacy Dashboard is also the central element for the technical implementation of the GDPR.

dailypoint™ is headquartered in Munich, Germany, and is sold and supported worldwide directly or through its distribution partners D-EDGE and XNProtel. For more information, please click www.dailypoint.com

Michael Toedt
Managing Partner, CEO
dailypoint™

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