Jason Burrows, Sales Director, IDIS America
We are seeing hotel operators putting video surveillance to increasingly good use – finding ways to deliver better guest experiences, improve security, protect themselves from spurious insurance claims, and reduce costs by driving efficiency.
They are also getting smarter at choosing the technologies they use, and less willing to compromise when it comes to quality.
At the recent AAOHA hotel owners’ convention we attended, one customer put it like this: “In the past, we had to spend more on our camera systems, but we got less from them. Today, video is part of our business model, and we need it to deliver”.
For independent hotels and major chains, there are a growing number of reasons why operators insist on higher performance, and why they are increasingly looking for solutions that deliver better value.
Take one of the problems most reported with older and cheaper systems: the user interfaces aren’t easy to use, either for real-time monitoring (switching between cameras, for example) or for footage review in the event of an incident investigation.
In many settings, such problems might be easier to ignore, because there might not be immediate consequences if cameras and associated software aren’t fully functioning.
But in hotels an incident – for example, guests reporting poor service, suffering an accident, or losing property – expect the management to be able to review footage, to investigate, and give them answers.
If cameras turn out to be not working, that will cause significant problems.
Safety and security are a top priority for guests, and often a key selection factor for wealthy customers and corporate travellers when choosing where to stay. Whether it’s a luxury boutique, resort, or a short-stay business hotel, the minimum expectation for every location is that guests will be safe and feel safe, and that their personal property will be protected.
And conversely, hotels need to protect themselves against unfounded or spurious claims. Failures can quickly lead to direct losses, including rectification costs, reputational damage, and loss of future business. Online reviews are now a major influencing factor for customers, with cleanliness, health and safety, and check-in/check-out waiting times among key quality and service indicators.
Video is a vital tool in helping hotel managers to stay competitive. For these users, as well as ease of use, high image quality is key, along with full coverage of guest areas and critical points of interest without blind spots, and the reliability of recorded footage.
And that’s precisely what you get with the best of today’s video surveillance solutions.
Hotels are choosing VMS designed with usability in mind, making it easy for even first-time users and non-specialists such as general managers and reception staff with authorizations as well as control room operators and administrators to find their way around all the essential features and functions they need quickly and easily.
More advanced capabilities, including a rapidly developing suite of AI analytics (including software, edge cameras and add-on box devices) give powerful automated control options as well as business intelligence tools. These drive efficiency and provide new capabilities to head office or outsourced monitoring firms in cases where multiple properties can be centrally managed.
Across hotel property, video technology’s value is becoming better understood and capitalized on – for example, allowing both remote and local visual checks regarding tidiness, service standards, and maintenance issues – and underpinning the consistency of guest experiences from their first arrival to their departure.
Today NDAA-compliant cameras, including domes, bullets, PTZs, and fisheyes, make it more affordable to deliver high-definition coverage providing complete domain awareness, even in challenging lighting conditions. This allows hotel security teams to cover all areas of their facilities, discretely but effectively, from parking lots to reception areas, from restaurants and bars to corridors.
And hotel operators now have the assurance that the functioning of their video system won’t be compromised in the event of network instability or failure, because the latest failover protection guarantees unbroken video data retention.
In the past, in too many applications, users simply put up with, or adapted to system shortcomings.
They accepted that gaps in footage or treated deteriorating picture quality as normal. And in the case of poor usability, they sometimes even blamed themselves for not mastering the controls.
But service-focused executives running today’s hotels are far more tech-savvy and insistent on results. They are choosing high-quality, cyber-secure camera systems that deliver.
And that’s a good thing. It means that video is living up to its full potential, increasing competitiveness and delivering better customer experiences.