How To Knock Customer Experiences Out Of The Park With 5G

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Forbes August 2021 - Article Cover

Read the original story in Forbes here.

Guests want seamless, immersive experiences—and executives need to deliver those experiences while increasing revenue. 5G can help both parties and raise expectations at businesses that specialize in hospitality—hotels, stadiums and cruise ships, among them.

Across hospitality and travel, consumers value experience more than twice as much as price, according to a 2020 Deloitte report. It’s an eye-opening statistic, one that operators are not taking lightly. Take hotels, for example.

“Delivering seamless experiences, such as contactless check-in and check-out, is a bread-and-butter service right now,” said Vijay Achanti, head of the travel and hospitality market unit for the global consulting firm Capgemini. Such small touches are key to winning loyalty.

As 5G rolls out in more places, executives can expect the technology to further enhance the guest experience. For example, 5G delivers consistent connectivity and speed, which guests love.

Security is another plus, said Mike Rawson, chief information officer at citizenM, a global hotel chain with more than 20 locations. No need to worry about questionable Wi-Fi connections when you can instead coast on a secure 5G cellular network.

These benefits may lead to cost savings for hospitality providers. Increasingly, hotel guests are traveling with the video-streaming hardware they use at home so they can access their content subscriptions using in-suite televisions. Expect this trend to accelerate as streaming quality improves with 5G.

“Hotels pay for content in the room. If that service is not being used most of the time, I see money savings on the back end,” said Jay Floyd, hospitality industry advisor at T-Mobile.

Revenue Potential

While the benefits of 5G might not be obvious to guests, the picture is clear for back-end operators. Hospitality executives stand to add revenue as a result of 5G, especially as they face increasing pressure to deliver a high-voltage adrenaline rush at the event.

“With the abundance of options for viewing events at home and on the go, venue operators will need to offer more enhanced experiences to compete as in-person events ramp up again,” Achanti said.

It’s the premise that Austria-based NativeWaves is betting on. In addition to providing team and player information, the software company gives venue operators a way of delivering a wide variety of content to fans both onsite and at home. This includes dynamic content, such as multiple camera angles that fans don’t normally see, instant-replay commentary in multiple languages and access to live and historic stats.

At the stadium, fans can view this content on their mobile devices. Such experiences, typically routed through a custom app, provide additional revenue opportunities, including e-commerce and merchandising, food and beverage sales and selling tickets to upcoming events. It’s “glass-to-glass” content that hospitality providers can offer as tiered services to fans, Floyd said.

Christof Haslauer, CEO and cofounder of NativeWaves, said cost savings offered by 5G for his business and others like it will lower latency in peak capacity situations and make higher production values easier to obtain.

“5G will make production much easier, without the need to run miles of cables,” he said. “This is especially true when it comes to fast-moving mobile cameras, such as helmet cams, making it feasible to deploy them more easily.”

Incentives To Invest

Ensuring 5G connectivity may require improvements to the technology that works behind the scenes at venues. Network carriers may make these investments or work in partnerships with property owners.

There’s a lot for hospitality executives to gain from sharing in that investment, Floyd said. In addition to the revenue opportunities discussed, sports betting, including in-game wagers, is “money on the table” that may incentivize venues to modernize.

Or perhaps the long-standing business factor of competition may spur hospitality providers to act: Whether they operate hotels, stadiums or spas, hospitality execs won’t want to see the competition gain a 5G edge before they do.

Forbes August 2021 - Article Cover

Read the original story in Forbes here.

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