Cisco Showcases the Future of Hospitality at GITEX

  • Innovative guest engagement platform and industry-specific digital solutions create differentiated offering in competitive hospitality landscape
  • Cisco demonstrates hospitality solutions that deliver business growth, efficiencies and enhanced customer experiences
Guest Experience Platform - 8 - Wayfinding Map
Guest Experience Platform – 8 – Wayfinding Map

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: During GITEX 2016, Cisco introduced a suite of solutions which help hotels and resorts deliver superior experiences for guests and visitors, and which generate multiple revenue streams, greater productivity and reduced costs. Cisco also called for the regional hospitality sector to invest in innovative technologies to not only remain competitive but also differentiate their services to meet unique and fast evolving guest expectations.

Hospitality is regarded as a key economic sector in the Kingdom with great potential for growth and job creation. A pipeline of over 100 major hotel projects – including some of the largest in the region – is estimated to create nearly 2 million direct and indirect jobs by 2020, when inbound arrivals to Saudi Arabia are expected to reach over 20 million.

Major regional events such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the Expo 2020 in Dubai are expected to boost tourism and increase development capacity, while Saudi Arabia’s adoption of the National Transformation Plan will also increase the number of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, driving hotel expansion. In this highly competitive environment, hotels are increasingly looking to technology to stand out and differentiate their offerings.

At GITEX 2016, Cisco demonstrated the power of their latest technology solutions to deliver personalized guest experiences, improved management of operations, enhanced sales and marketing approaches, and reduced costs. One of the key solutions to be demonstrated is a new guest engagement platform for the hospitality industry, developed by IPera, a Cisco Developer Partner. The innovative ‘mobile app’ is built on Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) technologies and allows hotels to recognize their guests and identify where they spend most of their time, delivering targeted messages based on their location.

In this context, Eng. Abdullah Al-Swaha, Managing Director of Cisco Saudi Arabia, commented: “We seek to help hotels and resorts meet the expectations and aspirations of their guests, as well as use modern technology and mobility in a smart way to build their loyalty and increase room revenues. This is achieved through the customization of services and content which will be less expensive and more precise due to technology solutions that deliver a tailored and more integrated guest experience. It is therefore necessary that hotels evolve their technology strategies to leverage the impact of digitization, particularly in light of Saudi Arabia’s recent efforts to advance the sector and diversify and encourage domestic tourism which will contribute to growing the number of visitors in the coming years.”

The fast pace of development is creating challenges for existing players and new entrants in the hospitality sector and they are looking towards technology as an enabler to remain competitive, differentiate from other competitors and build loyalty amongst customers. Technology plays a crucial role in enabling better service and stronger operations. However, hotels will have to build analytics capabilities, keep up with advances in mobility and optimize existing touch point channels in order to apply technology strategically to create differentiated customer experiences.

Most hotel mobile apps provide information services with some guest specific applications such as bill viewing and setting alarms. What sets out the guest experience platform being showcased by Cisco and its partners is its integration capabilities with smart WLAN infrastructure to deliver seamless location-based services. This allows for a number of unique features that include locating indoor positioning and the ability to quickly recognize guests when they arrive at the hotel lobby or dining outlets. It also offers guests and visitors enhances customer experiences such as convenient wayfinding across the property and mobile payment options for restaurants, retail, and other service and food and beverage outlets.

The guest engagement platform presents hotels with additional revenue opportunities through cross-venue marketing, providing greater return on investment. Connected to facility operations at the back end, the platform also allows hoteliers to enhance their customer loyalty programmes and develop their digital communication strategies based on guest profiles and location, otherwise known as proximity marketing.

The platform can be scaled across other properties operating under the same brand, is built for connected devices like smartphones and tablets, and provides a wide range of touch points and engagement features and can be used at hotels, restaurants, conferences, lounges, concierge desks, and other places of customer and staff engagement. It supports multichannel integration using SMS, social media platforms, email, mobile applications, push notifications and virtual word of mouth marketing. Emergency alerts issued by the venue will also be visible to all users while on-premises.

Apart from the guest engagement platform, Cisco also showcased their latest solutions for the region’s hospitality industry.

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