One device that outperforms in-room TV and hotel apps


Originally Posted Jan 6th 

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Most attendees who visited the Hotel Communication Network (HCN) Inc.’s booth at last year’s HX: The Hotel Experience Powered by AAHOA understood the benefits. HCN provides a single communication device (a tablet) in every guest room that allows for communication between hotels and guests.

Operating now for more than a decade, HCN has modified its original premise to also bring what COO Richard Carruthers describes as an additional ability to “connect guests with the rest of the stake holders in a given city who want to reach out to the traveling public.”

For example, convention organizers want to reach convention goers. “So one of the first things we did was develop an application that allowed us to broadcast a unique message into the rooms of those attendees,” Carruthers says. “We patented a process where we pick up the group code in the hotel’s PMS, and are able to send a unique, custom set of screens to the attendees only of that particular convention. We saw an unaddressed need, and we developed that initially in 2010.”

As first-time exhibitors at HX, HCN sought to expand its horizons to include the smaller independent hotels. Conversations with these attendees were positive, with the most frequent question being; Why a tablet in the room?

“Some say, ‘There’s already a TV, we’ve got the mobile apps, and our response is very simple,” Carruthers explains. “The TV as a communication device has failed miserably. It’s a great entertainment device, but as soon as you turn it off, it stops communicating. The TV is not the device that is going to help you communicate with guests.

“And then there’s the hotel app,” Carruthers continues. “The hotel app will reach mostly the loyalty clients, and does so with some success. But in terms of reaching the general public, the transient traveler, it’s not working at all. People are suffering a bit of app fatigue, and they don’t want to have to install yet another and learn how to use those apps.”

By contrast, the tablet is “a tool that reaches everyone” and the only device that is “on all day long, and is communicating, and a device that people are comfortable with.” HCN tablets are “open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 pm at night, and they are on all the time and they are communicating.”

Carruthers reports that HCN will soon be launching a new fleet of tablets with a sophisticated charging base and blue tooth speakers so guests will be able to stream their own music. “The tablet serves so many different stake holders,” he says. “We look at it now as kind of like a command center in the room. What we see in the future is there will be one device in the room which will manage everything. The command center will not only provide information about the hotel and the city but will deliver vital hotel services and become a transaction center for whatever the guest wants and needs.”