June 13, 2024

The Ultimate Guest Retention: Seamless Cellular Drives Unforgettable Experiences 

The success of the hospitality industry hinges on providing the most optimal guest experience, and this means remaining competitive by providing new and innovative guest experiences. To truly stand out, hotels must go beyond the ordinary and create memorable experiences that guests will cherish and share. The industry continues to rebound while relying on technology as the foundation for many enticing and interactive guest services. According to CompassIntel.com, the U.S. hospitality industry is expected to spend an estimated $60 billion (about $180 per person in the US) on technology in 2024, driven by automation and innovation around improving the overall guest experience and improving occupancy.  

Hotels must continuously innovate and evolve to meet and exceed guest expectations, and technology is playing a significant role in elevating the hotel guest experience. Technology, including cellular, IoT, AI, and data analytics, is revolutionizing the hospitality industry, significantly enhancing the hotel guest experience through interactive services and personalization. Continuous connectivity is expected both inside and outside the hotel and serves as a foundational tool for many of these evolving services. In addition, the guest and interactive services riding on top of the network, along with hotel operations require a reliable and proven cellular network.  

It is paramount that today’s hotel owners and leaders not only build their knowledge base of key trends and innovations occurring in the hospitality industry, but to also understand what is driving these key trends. These core trends below are pushing hoteliers and property managers to new heights by focusing on what is core to the business; retention, loyalty, and satisfying guest experiences. 

Below are some of the key trends we will explore: 

  • Personalization 
  • Tech Integration 
  • Human Touch 
  • Guest Loyalty 
  • Memorable Experience 

Personalization: Crafting Unique Guest Journeys 

Personalization is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Modern travelers expect tailored experiences that cater to their individual preferences and needs, and customized experiences are a growing trend. Hotels use data analytics to gain insights into guest behavior and preferences and track past and future guests in new and meaningful ways. By using customer relationship management (CRM) systems that have added layers of guest data intelligence, hotels are creating personalized experiences, such as customized welcome messages, room preferences, and personalized recommendations for local activities and dining options. 

Technology Integration: Seamless and Efficient Services 

The integration of advanced technology can significantly enhance the guest experience by providing convenience and efficiency. Hotel mobile applications, intelligent building solutions, and streamlined connectivity for interactive guest services are at the forefront for enhancing the guest experience. A comprehensive mobile app allows guests to manage their reservations, check-in and check-out, access room keys, and more. Intelligent buildings provide smart rooms for guest stays by monitoring energy usage and tracking hotel resources in real-time. Implementing IoT (Internet of Things) devices in rooms enables guests to control lighting, temperature, and entertainment systems with voice commands or through mobile apps. All these emerging guest services rely heavily on trusted and proven connectivity. 

Exceptional Customer Service: The Human Touch 

While technology plays a crucial role, the human touch remains irreplaceable. Exceptional customer service is the cornerstone of a memorable guest experience, and supporting a skilled workforce that has available tools and training to support guests with high quality customer care is paramount. Hotels invest in continuous training programs for their staff to ensure they are skilled in communication, problem-solving, and predicting guest needs. Empowering employees to make decisions and resolve issues promptly can turn potential negative experiences into positive ones. Technology can also support employee access, training, tools, and communications. In addition, guests enjoy friendly hotel staff and engaging services that meet their needs efficiently and promptly. Knowledgeable staff can turn a mishap or problem into a satisfactory guest experience. 

Guest Loyalty: Building Long-Term Relationships 

Loyalty programs are a powerful tool for building long-term relationships with guests. Modernizing these programs to offer more personalized rewards, such as exclusive experiences, early check-ins, and room upgrades, can significantly increase guest satisfaction and loyalty. Hotels are also becoming proactive by pushing offers, incentives, and communications directly to their guests’ phones, email, and apps. Incorporating gamification elements, such as challenges and point systems, can also make loyalty programs more engaging and rewarding.  

Creating Memorable Experiences: Beyond the Ordinary 

To compete in this experience-driven environment, hotels must explore new avenues to create unforgettable experiences that guests will love. This could involve offering unique local experiences, such as guided tours, cultural workshops, or exclusive access to local events. Collaborating with local businesses to provide authentic experiences can also enhance the hotel’s value proposition and create lasting memories for guests. 

Enhancing the Mobile Guest 

The mobile guest is intelligent, does their research, and has clear preferences as to how they review, research, and select hotels. Many are also loyal to specific brands, but most will be driven around safety, comfort, price, location, and amenities. Hotels thrive on how to best differentiate themselves and to remain relevant to guests, while providing the best guest experience. In addition, hotels track key metrics such as ADR (Average Daily Rates), RevPAR (Revenue per Average Room), occupancy rates, and their own internal revenue numbers to track progress and benchmark. This healthy competition requires the use of technology for differentiation and supporting interactive guest experiences. While traditional hard-wired connectivity and Wi-Fi options have served guests for key services, cellular is evolving as the most innovative and cost-effective connectivity solution for a host of solutions, and 5G is the catalyst.  

Now, let’s dive into key technology trends. 

Mobile Apps and Digital Check-In/Out 

Modern hotel apps enable guests to manage their entire stay from their smartphones. Guests begin this journey well before they arrive at the hotel. Guests will gather driving directions and more before they even arrive at the hotel. Cellular connectivity is a primary tool as the guest travels, finds parking, pays for parking, and checks in. Hotel mobile apps allow guests to check-in and check-out, bypass the front desk and avoid waiting times, access digital room keys, use their phones to unlock their rooms, make reservations and requests, book dining-spa services, and communicate with staff. While Wi-Fi may be available, it is often not as reliable or secure for guests. This also means that hotels and parking garages will need to solidify their cellular connectivity both indoor and near indoor throughout their entire hotel properties. 

Smart Room Technology 

Hotel rooms equipped with connected equipment and intelligent building systems offer personalized control over various aspects of the room environment. Guests can control and customize preferences around lighting, temperature, and entertainment systems using voice commands. In addition, sustainable conscious guests can manage energy usage, HVAC, and lighting controls with smart energy management systems. Hotels are implementing smart energy systems that know the occupancy of a guest or conference room and adjust lighting and temperatures as needed. Other intelligent building solutions may include air monitoring, UV filtration and cleaning, heated floors, smart access and surveillance, and more. Outside of smartphones connecting to the cellular network, these hotel assets are connecting to the cellular network for real-time tracking, monitoring, and securing. In addition, cellular can further build redundancy in assuring building management systems, hotel equipment, and other assets remain connected and intelligence and critical data is being captured. 

Virtualization of the Hotel 

Virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR) are being used to create immersive and engaging experiences. Guests can explore hotel facilities and rooms before booking. AR apps provide interactive maps and guides, enhancing the exploration of hotel premises and surrounding areas. VR can be used to offer unique in-room experiences, such as virtual art displays or interactive storytelling for children. 

Guest Feedback and Data Analytics 

Technology aids in collecting and analyzing guest feedback for continuous improvement. Digital feedback tools allow guests to provide immediate feedback during their stay through real-time surveys. Text is also being used to push information to the guest, gather real-time feedback, and provide links for guest surveys. Artificial intelligence (AI and machine learning) can also support the analysis of online reviews and social media mentions to gauge guest satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. Data analytics predict guest preferences and trends, enabling hotels to tailor their services and marketing strategies. There is a growing trend in researching, capturing, analyzing, and predicting guest data for continuous improvement and feedback for hotel managers and property owners. 

Enhanced In-Room Entertainment 

Modern entertainment systems cater to diverse guest preferences. The integration of popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in hotel TVs is common. Guests primarily rely on cellular connectivity to review texts and input codes for secure authentication in logging into streaming apps. Guests also want to connect their own devices and content to the room’s entertainment system. Mobile applications, set up, and login make this process easy for the guest and requires good Wi-Fi or trusted cellular connectivity. This reliability on cellular further illustrates the need to strengthen the cellular signal for seamless connectivity inside and outside the building, from parking garages to the pool to the room. 

Integrated Booking and Reservation Systems 

Advanced booking systems simplify the reservation process and enhance convenience. Centralized or a unified hotel and booking platform allows guests to book rooms, dining, spa services, and activities all in one place. An emerging trend is the use of AI for data analytics and intelligence of guest trends and patterns. AI-driven dynamic pricing models offer personalized rates based on demand, loyalty status, and booking patterns. In addition to booking the room, guests are also booking added services including things like pool cabanas, massages/spa services, meeting spaces, etc. Guests will need reliable network connectivity for booking these services wherever they are in the hotel. 

Security and Privacy Enhancements 

Technology enhances guest safety and privacy. Biometrics such as facial recognition or fingerprint scanning for secure room access can support more secure access. Advanced surveillance systems are also using AI-powered security to monitor and ensure guest safety. AI can also use computer vision technology to automatically identify key events and alert security or a response. For example, if there is a breach into a back door entry into the hotel, security can be automatically alerted on their smartphone device with location information to quickly respond and prepare for the incident. 

The Foundation of Cellular Connectivity 

Cellular connectivity plays a crucial role in enhancing the hotel guest experience in the U.S. Here are several ways it supports and improves the guest experience: 

  • Seamless Connectivity 
  • Enhanced Mobile Services 
  • Directions and Local Navigation 
  • Meetings and Productivity 
  • Safety and Security 

Seamless Connectivity 

Reliable Communication: Guests rely on cellular networks to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues. Strong cellular connectivity ensures they can make calls, send texts, and use data services without interruption. Internet Access: Many travelers use their cellular data plans to access the internet, especially if hotel Wi-Fi is slow or unreliable. Guests may also feel Wi-Fi is not safe or secure, as it is on an open network and open to vulnerabilities and hacking. Public Wi-Fi is known to not be as secure as password protected cellular Wi-Fi. Good cellular coverage ensures that guests can always stay connected online. 

Enhanced Mobile Services 

Reliable cellular connectivity ensures guests can use hotel mobile apps, navigation/direction tools, mobile check in/out services, and even things like setting up an Uber or ordering food by the pool. These services provide added connectivity without the need to rely solely on Wi-Fi. Some hotels also provide digital room keys that guests can access through their smartphones. Stable cellular connectivity ensures these keys work seamlessly, allowing guests to enter their rooms without issues. Lastly, guests can use hotel apps to request services, make reservations, or ask for information. Consistent cellular service ensures these apps work efficiently anywhere on the property. 

Improved Navigation and Local Exploration 

Guests often use GPS and mapping services to explore the local area, find attractions, find parking, or navigate to meetings (inside and outside the hotel or local area). Reliable cellular connectivity ensures accurate location services and navigation. Hotel apps and third-party apps provide local recommendations and reviews, allowing guests to access this information on the go. 

Meetings and Productivity 

Travelers work and play from anywhere these days. Many travelers need to work remotely during their stays, conducting meetings and calls from their smartphone. Reliable cellular connectivity ensures they can access emails, take part in video calls, and complete online tasks efficiently. In addition to guests working, hotel staff use their mobile devices for operations as well, especially when coordinating tasks across large properties. Staff can use mobile devices to receive and update the status of maintenance and housekeeping tasks in real time, ensuring rooms are prepared and issues are addressed promptly. 

Safety and Security 

Reliable cellular connectivity is essential for guests to contact emergency services if needed or call their family and friends. This is particularly important for guests unfamiliar with the local area. In emergencies or for important updates, hotels can quickly communicate with guests via SMS or push notifications, ensuring they receive prompt information regardless of their location within the hotel. 

Analyst Recommendations 

As we evaluate the innovation taking place within the hospitality sector, it is important to follow a few key recommendations to remain relevant and best serve guests in the competitive world of hotels. Compass Intelligence recommendations are centered around infrastructure, technology, and innovating guest services. Whether you are a property manager, a hotel manager, or a resort professional, these recommendations may support you in your overall growth strategy moving forward.  

Below are a few considerations to consider as you build a solid foundation for innovation in hospitality: 

  • Perform a Complete Evaluation of your LAN/WAN (Local Area Network/Wide Area Network) infrastructure and mirror that to core guest services and solutions. Ask: Are we offering seamless, easy, flexible, and secure options for back-office, operations, and guest-facing services? 
  • Identify Connectivity Requirements or Gaps for guest facing solutions, employee/staff applications and solutions, and system or operation-based activities. Ask: Do we have issues in our network that need refining or optimization? 
  • Select and work closely with your Technology Vendor or partner to implement solutions to “close the gaps” around connectivity, infrastructure, and foundational services. Ask: Do we have the right partner or vendor to support us as we modernize and innovate, that also understand our industry and personal priorities? 
  • Track, Monitor and Review after you implement technology services, as solutions and services evolve and guest needs change. Ask: Are you tracking and gathering real-time data or guest feedback? Does your investment tie back to key guest and financial metrics? 

To learn more or if you have questions, please contact Stephanie Atkinson, Compass Intelligence at satkinson@compassintelligence.com

Wrap Up 

The leading innovations in hospitality, including automation and smart technologies, require seamless cellular connectivity services. Robust cellular connectivity enhances the overall guest experience by providing uninterrupted communications, supporting mobile services, ensuring safety, enabling efficient operations, and offering personalized engagement. As travelers become increasingly dependent on their mobile devices, the importance of strong cellular connectivity in the hospitality industry will continue to grow. By using these technological advancements, hotels can provide a seamless, personalized, and highly satisfying experience for their guests, setting themselves apart in a competitive industry. Improving the hotel guest experience requires a multifaceted approach that combines personalization, technology integration, exceptional customer service, wellness and sustainability initiatives, enhanced loyalty programs, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By focusing on these strategies, hotels can ensure they not only meet but exceed guest expectations, fostering loyalty and driving long-term success in the competitive hospitality industry. 


Written by Stephanie Atkinson, CEO of Compass Intelligence 

About Compass Intelligence 

Compass Intelligence is a market research and advisory firm specializing in metrics-driven market intelligence and insights for the mobile, IoT, and high-tech industries serving tech clients for more than 18 years. Compass Intelligence offers executive insights, market sizing/forecasting and modeling, competitive analysis, strategic consulting, advisory services, trending analysis, and survey research services. Compass Intelligence helps guide strategic business decisions and supports the success of our clients through delivering content engagement, go to market planning, competitive positioning, and strategic advisory. For more information, please visit https://www.compassintel.com