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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There’s Tech Support, and There’s the UCrew

by Kat Minton | Uniguest | January 2018

UCrew LogoGet familiar with our best-in-class technology support team

Imagine one of your many devices goes down. When you call for support, the phone is promptly answered, and you are greeted by a live person who is extremely knowledgeable about the situation. No long holds, no run around. This is the type of tech support Uniguest had in mind when we structured the UCrew, our best-in-class technology support team.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the UCrew fields questions and requests, assisting guests and customers in all facets of computer use. To make it as easy as possible to connect with a technician, the UCrew is available via phone, email, and chat messages on the Uniguest website. The team coordinates the activities and technical requirements of dependent technologies, such as networking, internet access, and manufacture warranties. Should you need to speak with your other vendors, a member of the UCrew is able to join the call so that any questions can be resolved on the front end.

In an effort to provide even better support to our customers, we are expanding our commitment to new technologies that will help us resolve issues prior to being reported. Our proactive monitoring system has been developed to notify us when computers do not appear to be working properly. With this added functionality, our team is able to begin working on the problem often before you even realize that there is one.

What You Should Know About the UCrew:
• 24/7/365 coverage based in the U.S.
• Fully redundant management tools and call center systems as well as multiple resilient locations
• Best-in-class average wait time targets of less than 60 seconds
• Best-in-class same-day resolution rate of more than 75% (compared to the 65% industry standard)
• Less than 1% of supported devices experience trouble at any given time
• Agents go through rigorous certification to provide the best possible service
• UCrew agents specialize in the technologies they work with
• Historical data is used to optimize our agent schedules and increase availability
• The best technical agents are recruited and Uniguest actively works to grow their expertise

To learn more about the UCrew and Uniguest’s suite of products, please visit us at www.uniguest.com. If you need support today, visit the UCrew support page to chat or email the team, or call the UCrew at (800) 467-1218 option 2.

Be Our Guest: Profile of a Business Center / Social Space User

by Kat Minton | Uniguest | December 2017

The days of hotel public-use technology catering solely to the business traveler are long gone. While public-use technology still works to meet the needs of those traveling for work, it is also serving guests traveling for leisure.

In the past 30 months, user activity in Uniguest public-use technology has grown by 40 percent, serving 85 million users in 2016 alone. In addition to the heavy usage of productivity applications such as Word and Excel, there were more than 1 billion website hits. Business travelers tend to utilize the productivity applications and printing functions more, while leisure travelers tend to visit webmail, social media sites, and travel pages.

With a 35 percent surge in printing, it is no surprise to find that more than 65 percent of travelers deem printing capabilities as a critical amenity to have at a hotel. To accommodate for this need, hotels are adding wireless printers, like cloud printing, to their social spaces and business centers so that guests can print from their own devices and pick up their documents with a secure code when they are ready.

Regardless of the type of traveler you are serving, the resounding need for travelers using public-use technology is security. Whether logging into personal mail or accessing a highly confidential document, the user should have peace of mind that upon logging off or a period idle activity, the session will be wiped clean and none of their information will be left behind for another user to stumble upon. In addition to the personal security, all kiosks are equipped with content filtering to ensure that guests do not come across any sites that would not be suitable for a public space.

Understanding a “Secure Landscape”

by Jason Meister | Infrastructure Architect, Uniguest | September 2017

Because I come from a history of developing security-conscious enterprise applications, I want to take a few moments to talk about understanding and caring for an application or system’s “secure landscape.”

What I mean by “secure landscape” is that whatever your application, there’s some sort of security that you’re trying to ensure. Whether it’s securing physical access, user privacy, the operating system, or possibly just application integrity – you have some level of responsibility to protect something or someone. Take an inventory of everything your application does and think through possible security-related responsibilities you might have to your users, applications, or systems in general. Everything together makes up your “secure landscape.” Words that might be running through your mind might include: encryption, privacy, spyware, plain-text, credit cards, data persistence, history, communication, handshake, packet sniffing, keylogger, any sort of injection, etc.; the list goes on.

It’s not uncommon to have a secure landscape that spans several dozens of applications housed in several datacenters and individual workstations. The unique challenge that Uniguest has is that on top of the everyday stuff, it also includes more than 20,000 individual workstations running custom-built software on several hardware profiles with several operating systems – all promising a secure experience to the end user. Let’s also call out that the end user in this environment is anyone who sits down at a computer (untrained on these systems) – and in many cases, will use their credit card to do so (as if there weren’t enough responsibility to carry on your shoulders without credit cards). Maybe go back and re-read those last couple of sentences, because yes, I said that untrained users plug in credit card information into a public-space computer running any combination of operating system + hardware and promising the end user a private and secure experience.

Fortunately, Uniguest understands the vast secure landscape and is constantly evaluating systems, applications, and even processes and business rules in order to stay ahead of exposure and threats. We all remember the big ransomware fiasco that swept most of the globe in Spring 2017? Uniguest stayed ahead of it due to focused monitoring and swift preventative patching, resulting in the fleet of 20K+ remaining unscathed. Remember Target’s in-store credit card breach right smack in the middle of holiday shopping season 2013? Well, thanks to hard lessons learned by others (them), the PCI Security Standards Council came out with stricter requirements for merchants accepting credit cards. I can tell you first-hand that Uniguest’s latest platforms and internal processes not only adhere to those requirements, but go above and beyond by enforcing many best practices and findings from the OWASP research and recommendations. Want some good (but dry) reads? – visit https://pcisecuritystandards.org and https://owasp.org.

Having a former-Airforce + cybersecurity expert as your COO tends to keep you on your toes as far as security is concerned – there are no shortcuts or assumptions. Now, not only does Uniguest rely on experience and expertise of in-house resources, but also actively puts systems to the screws with Rook Security. Rook is a third-party, globally-recognized specialist in security assessments, and I was truly impressed by their knowledge and thoroughness in their assessments.

Getting back to the topic at hand: You should always have your secure landscape in mind when building any application or system, and take responsibility to ensure that it is in fact secure. Steal a page from Uniguest’s book and take the opportunity to hire the right resources, learn from the misfortunes of others, think outside the box to partner with outside experts, and strive to build the best and most secure systems in your space.

Uniguest and Five Feet to Fitness


NASHVILLE, Tennessee, June 1, 2017 – Uniguest, a leading global provider of secure guest-use technology solutions to the hospitality industry, collaborated with Hilton and its partners to create, deploy, and provide tech support for Hilton’s new in-room Fitness Kiosk. The kiosk is part of Hilton’s larger wellness experience, Five Feet to Fitness.

Learn more from the media coverage links below, or email Uniguest.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Business Wire
Hilton Launches Revolutionary New Guest Room, Five Feet To Fitness

CNBC
The newest extra for serious travelers: A mini-gym inside your hotel room

Forbes
Private Gyms In Your Hotel Room Help You Stay Fit While You Travel

MSN
Check Out Hilton’s New Line Of Fitness Hotel Rooms

Shape
Hilton Debuts Hotel Room That Doubles As Private Gym

Skift
Hilton’s New Design Brings The Gym To The Guest Room

The Points Guy
Hilton’s New Hotel Rooms Are Centered Around Fitness

Washingtonian
In Hilton’s New Fitness-Friendly Rooms, You Can Literally Roll Out Of Bed And Into The Gym

Latest Uniguest Platform Delivers on Cybersecurity

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, August 30, 2017 — Leading technology services provider, Uniguest, has completed the compliance review for its latest platform, Secured Advantage 10, and is fully Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) compliant. Secured Advantage 10 joins other platforms in the Uniguest arsenal that are PCI compliant. By adding the PCI DSS compliance aspect to its major platform, Uniguest is ensuring that the thousands of transactions it processes each month remain secure.

“PCI compliance is the gold standard in retail environments for cybersecurity. Given the attacks of recent years on retailers, this positions our clients and their customers for extreme privacy and security,” stated Matt Goche, Uniguest COO and previous business leader in the cybersecurity industry.

Prior to joining Uniguest, Goche served as the VP of global security services at Sungard Availability Services, where he built a cybersecurity business supporting enterprise clients. His experience also includes service as an Officer in the Unites States Air Force and working as a cyber technology consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, leading projects for the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice.

J.J. Thompson, CEO of Rook Security, said “With the increase in successful intrusions into corporate and personal networks, cybersecurity is a top objective of executives and boards all over the globe. In working with Uniguest, we saw a partner that believes security needs to be baked into all products for inherent security and privacy for users and customers.”

The cybersecurity space has changed dramatically in recent years with more attackers, more attack vectors, and more ways to gain payoff on results. In 2016 alone, there were more than 4,100 confirmed breaches, leaving 4.2 billion data records exposed. Today, there are more hacking methods using a variety of available tools that require a lower skill set for hackers to leverage in their attacks.

More than 80 percent of companies have been hacked, and according to Symantec’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report, there are 100 new malware families, which is more than triple the amount seen previously. Once private data is stolen, it can be monetized through a worldwide network of black markets. While credit card numbers can be changed, social security numbers cannot, and identity theft can often lead to severe long-term issues for those affected.

“Handling customer information is a responsibility for all businesses,” said Goche. “As attacks get more sophisticated, businesses should only partner with vendors that appreciate the gravity of the current cyber landscape.”

 

MEDIA COVERAGE

Hotel News Now
Uniguest Platform Delivers on Cybersecurity