HIX/THINX – What role will technology play in hotel workspaces of the future?

Following her HIX Talks panel appearance discussing the future of hotel workspace hybrids, Crestron Vice President of Hospitality Michelle Guss discusses how the brand’s product portfolio is adapting to the new Work From Hotel paradigm.

Your panel explored the future of work and office spaces in hotels – what have been the major shift you have seen in this area in terms of the products and services Crestron supplies to this market?

Crestron has historically been a leader in the enterprise workplace, so we’ve been providing solutions for traditional office environments for many years, but what we’ve seen with the work from hotel trend is a big shift in the solutions we provide moving into different spaces of the hotel. Of course we have the the typical meeting rooms and conference spaces where you would expect to find equipment for people to connect to calls, but now we have different spaces adapting to these functions. Semi-private spaces in the lobby with displays for example, where someone can sit down and take a call and have a better experience than just sitting at the window or table. There’s been a blending of business and leisure travel too, because workers might also have their families with them, so they need to be able to take a meeting in private whilst also ensuring their loved ones are comfortable. What we’re also finding is a lot of our solutions that allow Bring Your Own Device guests to connect no matter where they are or what kind of device they own. It’s about taking these desires and making it a very simple, streamlined experience. 

What about the design of the products themselves?

It’s really focusing on that BYOD solution. In a hotel you don’t know what the guest is going to use, so the devices themselves have to be very flexible and open so that a guest navigate the technology. The user may not want to download software to their computer, so we have a new air media device that someone can easily plug into their computer and be able to then connect to the technology in that space. This has changed our design significantly, and likewise we have a number of different sizes based on the type of environment, which means everything has to be scalable.

What kind of technology experiences are guests looking for in hospitality environments?

Firstly and most importantly – it has to work and be consistently reliable, and it has to be simple to use. When it’s done well not can be a great experience, and one of the biggest areas of feedback we get is that on top of being able to control the technology that allows them to work and access meetings, they also want to control the environments those meetings are taken in, from the lighting, audio and even HVAC.Having all that choice at your fingertips, adjustable through a mobile device, has become a very important part of the guest experience. 

How do you think control systems will change the way guests engage with hotels?

Feeding into personalisation is huge. Something as simple as being able to reserve a space in the hotel beyond their guestroom is a simple but very effective driver of engagement. We have some exciting products for hospitality which basically allow somebody to either rent one of those workspaces ahead of time.

What new technology innovations do you expect to be introduced to the hospitality market?

The big thing that differentiates Crestron from a lot of other solutions on the market is that we can handle the entire hotel property. We can provide all of the technology, from the guest room and public spaces to amenities, restaurants,  meeting rooms and conference spaces. The big innovations are going to be creating seamless solutions between these spaces and technology experiences, as well as technology experiences unique to a hotel or specific project. We want it to be a very seamless experience, and as we proceed we’re seeing a lot of the big brands actually creating standards with these solutions like our air media and our sound bars.