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As we often highlight, the way guests interact with hotel brands is evolving at a rapid pace.  What used to attract guests – stocked mini-bars and high thread counts – is just not as important to travelers anymore as innovation.

Guest room entertainment has even evolved. Today’s traveler is much less likely to watch pay-per-view in their room with the rise of laptops, iPads and the Internet. A survey conducted by USA Today found that following a decade-long decline in hotel movie rentals, 81 percent of the 2,357 people who responded said they don’t order hotel pay-per-view movies.

Being more “guest-centric” is what is really creating true brand differentiation.  Without personalized experiences for guests, it is challenging for hoteliers to capture the loyalty of the fast-moving, technology-savvy traveler. That is why price is no longer the most important factor.

Travelers prefer to interact with hotels on their own terms in a ubiquitous environment – from the lobbies to the social media and mobile arenas. This requires not only a change of mind-set for hoteliers, but also a significant shift in their technology landscape.

For example, Holiday Inn Express recently introduced the next evolution of its brand, which is expected to deliver even better on meeting their guests’ changing needs, and driving value for owners. A few examples of updates include more functional and flexible workspaces, individual check-in pods in the front lobby and stylish and welcoming areas conveying spacious, comfortable seating.

While these updates are “guest-centric”, there needs to be an innovation/bandwidth component built into this new offering. Hoteliers must be prepared to offer the latest technological advancements and provide a “frictionless guest experience” – from booking to checkout and beyond – to not only survive, but also beat the competition.

Holiday Inn Express is smart to engage with their guests in the next evolution of their brand, but may want to consider a complete technology solution – founded on enhanced bandwidth and more – to drive sales and increase guest satisfaction.