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Digital Signage: How to Put the New Medium to Work at Hotels and Resorts

Aug 18, 2007
Digital signage is making itself felt in a variety of vertical niches, like retail stores, higher education and medical facilities, but no where is it finding greater acceptance as an attractive alternative to printed signs than at hotels, resorts, convention centers and other businesses falling under the heading of "hospitality industry."

The reason is simple: These sorts of businesses have a great need to convey information that changes daily -or even hourly- to the general public. Digital signage is an appealing solution because it allows the content of a sign to be updated quickly and at little expense. With the right software and network architecture, it's even possible to tap into existing property management software systems to extract event and scheduling information so signs remain fresh with minimal human intervention.

An added benefit of digital signs for hoteliers and others is they can be used to promote the facility's restaurants, lounges, shops and activities so guests stay on premise and spend their money with the hotelier.

Years of serving the needs of the hospitality industry reveal that to attain those two goals, the hoteliers and others in this industry segment put digital signs to work in six categories, including: in-room channel; reader boards; door cards; way finding; advertising signage; and hybrid interactive.

Here's a brief description of each:

In-room channel
In in-room channel applications, a digital signage media server feeds an in-house cable TV system available in every guest's room. This approach can be simple -in the form of graphics and text to convey basic information about amenities and services- or much more elaborate where video commercials and promotional video messages are inserted.

Reader boards
Reader boards deliver information about events, including times and locations, to guests and visitors. Stationed in strategic high-traffic areas, digital signage reader boards increasing are replacing print and LED-based signs for this application. Typically, reader boards are oriented in a vertical (portrait) mode.

Door cards
Like reader boards, digital door cards inform visitors and guests of events, times and places. However, door cards are generally horizontal in orientation (portrait), much smaller (15 to 19 inches) and are positioned near the entrance of conference rooms, galleries, ballrooms and venues to inform guests of what's scheduled to occur inside.

Way finding
In this application, digital signs replace static directory signage to help guide guests to their destinations. Often, these signs can serve a dual purpose as advertising signs when traffic conditions are appropriate.

Advertising
A common goal of hotels, resorts and other hospitality businesses is to encourage patrons to spend their money on premise. To that end, these businesses create shops, restaurants, lounges and other amenities. Digital signs are a natural advertising medium for these businesses, because they offer the ability to day-part messaging so, for example, the same sign can advertise a coffee shop in the morning and a lounge in the evening.

Hybrid interactive
Offering the impact of digital signage and the interactivity of a kiosk, hybrid interactive digital signs are being used in hospitality settings to augment customer service experiences. For example, a hybrid interactive digital sign could be used at the concierge desk to allow guests to drill down to the information they desire when a hotel concierge is assisting another customer.

Digital signs may be used in other ways by the hospitality industry, but these six basic applications form the core. With digital signage, hotels, resorts and others in this market are better informing guests and reaching them with messaging that has a greater impact approaches.
About the Author
David Little is a digital signage enthusiast with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to expand their marketing messages with alternative media . Visit http://www.keywesttechnology.com and find how you can expand your marketing horizons.
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