POSTINGS FROM THE TEAM

Read the latest postings from our Uniguest team

The Benefits of Guest Facing Kiosk Security in Hospitality

When guests enter your hotel, they expect a clean and safe environment.  A worry-free place to relax, recharge, and help them get ready for their day.  Even in this era of multiple personal devices, market research shows that guests continue to expect [1] and use [2] public kiosks as part of their hotel experience.  And when guests use a hotel kiosk, they’re expecting the same clean, safe, and worry-free experience in the digital realm.  The kiosk is an extension of your business and brand.   Whether they’re using a business center or a surf station or a digital concierge, they assume that they’re in a safe place.

You have staff and security in the building to protect your guests from unwanted solicitors and bad actors like pick-pockets.  If a guest leaves a valuable in your public space, you have friendly staff to ensure it gets to the lost-and-found.  Yet sometimes these same basic protections are forgotten when guests enter your digital public spaces.

Kiosk security prevents threats from gaining access to your guest’s private information while they use the device.  It ensures a safe and clean environment for them to relax, recharge, and/or get ready for their day.  And if they happen to leave some valuables behind (personal information, account credentials, etc.), the right security solution will ensure that information isn’t available to the next guest or a snooping bad actor.

Security breaches and threats come in all shapes and sizes and from multiple attack vectors.  From childish pranks to inappropriate content to attempts to defraud or ransom guests, your kiosk security solution must be multi-layered and ever-adapting.

Your solution should guard against localized threats like physical key loggers tracking your guests’ key strokes or malicious software on thumb drives plugged into USB ports.  It should also keep innocent and malicious users alike from administrative functions of the operating system and applications.  Your solution should keep users away from inappropriate content and dangerous areas of the internet.  And it should stay up to date with the latest operating system, anti-virus/anti-malware, and application updates to keep pace with ever-evolving threats.  Finally, your solution should wipe clean all information left on the device after your guest is done using it.  This last point is critical to providing your guests peace of mind.  Would you feel safe using a kiosk littered with someone else’s information?

These protections not only keep your guests safe and protect your business from liabilities, they also help ensure your device is available for use.  With more and more kiosks moving to common areas (lobbies, etc.) [3], a nonfunctioning kiosk open for all to see is not a good look.

Public kiosks are just that: public.  An expected hospitality amenity open for all guests to use: mostly by users with innocuous intentions, but also by a minority with vandalistic or nefarious goals.  So make sure you have the right security solution in place.  Without a security solution or with an inferior one, your best case eventuality is a nonfunctioning kiosk and maintenance hours to fix it.  Other less desirable cases involve a dissatisfied guest or an embarrassing public relations episode.  For worse cases just read the news.

You work hard to ensure your entire team is aimed at delivering positive experiences for all of your guests.  Make sure your public devices are doing the same.

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Price Barnes, Vice President of Technology

 

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How to Cater to the Modern Traveler’s Technological Needs

Millennials have a track record of seemingly favoring disrupters like Uber and Airbnb, but a new study shows they overwhelmingly prefer full-service hotels to short-term apartment rentals by a margin of more than 2-to-1. This is great news for hotels as the same study notes that Millennials, between the ages of 20 to 26, are projected to have $200 billion in spending this year alone. (Montevago, 2018)

While Millennials may also be called the “the smartphone generation”, the reality is that with 2.5 billion smartphones in the world and 80% of U.S. adults owning a smartphone, most U.S. travelers are part of the smartphone generation.

So, how does a hotel engage with the smartphone generation? The obvious statement is on their smartphone of course, but what if that is not possible or where the guests want to engage? What if the guests don’t have the hotel app, aren’t in a loyalty program, or haven’t visited the hotel website? Phocuswright says the OTA U.S. travel market share will reach 41% by 2020. That means many guests show up at check-in knowing little about what the hotel or brand may offer for services.

This could pose a real problem around connecting with a guest or an opportunity. While the guest is at the hotel, there are numerous ways to educate, inform, and entertain the guest away from their smartphone.

By providing relevant content that anticipates a guest’s needs in highly visible spaces, the hotel is helping curate a positive experience for the guest. The key word being relevant. In most retail advertising studies, there is between 4 and 7 seconds to capture the attention of a viewer. If the hotel content is stale, the hotel has lost the ‘engagement moment’.

By thinking of spaces in the hotel as engagement opportunities, the hotel has numerous ways to connect with a guest. A simple example is when a guest is thinking of having a meal. Let the guest know about dining options at the proper time of day. Advertising breakfast in the late afternoon, doesn’t create interest in your bar menu or dinner options. If there are new specialty items in the grab-and-go, let the guest know!

What about activities? Golf on a day that is pouring rain or the course is being used for an event is a miss, but are there spa appointments open?

While the guest may fail to connect with the hotel on their smartphone, hotels have plenty of opportunities to reach them in other ways that are fairly easy to execute with the right technology.

If you want more information on Uniguest’s Digital Signage solutions and how we can not only assist in providing your guests with an outstanding stay at your property, but provide your guests with exceptional cybersecurity protection, click here.


Chuck Wigand
, Director of Product Development

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