April 14, 2020
Darren King

Digital Strategy Post COVID-19

A shift in digital strategy


Digital Strategy Post COVID-19

This week there has been some glimmers of good news around the world. The COVID-19 situation in Germany is controlled to a point where easing of lockdown measures can begin. Italy, one of the worst hit countries in Europe, is discussing its move to the phase two of lockdown, which will see some restrictions lifted. Here in the UK, although we have seen lockdown extended for a further 3 weeks, there is some evidence of a flattening of the curve. This did get me thinking, there must have been a strategy behind the decisions made so far. I think strategy for many elements of business will be reviewed following the establishment of the new normal, and nowhere stronger than in digital strategy. Same as I do every week, I really do want to take this opportunity to say how exceedingly grateful I am to those who are still keeping us safe. The NHS and its employees have shown the UK that we really have something to be proud of, and I’m sure this feeling is the same the world over. Not forgetting all the vital public services and key workers, you really are the ones who are getting us all through this.

Strategy for a Digital Future

In the last 2 months businesses globally have been forced to very quickly review their digital strategy. The immediate shift to home working for a large portion of the workforce brings with it many challenges. For end users this is often just adapting to new working practices, and of course learning video call etiquette. However, for those in charge of technology and digital strategy, it brings much bigger considerations. These challenges present themselves usually in the forms of security, and of course access. Interestingly security and access are something both hotels and partners such as ROOMNET are very familiar with. Often these are thought of in the physical sense, such as secure doors to the back of house areas or access to different parts of the hotel with a room key. Post COVID-19 though, the worlds of digital and physical will collide.

Securing the Guest

I’ve talked previously about guests being able securely access their own content. This is expected in hotels now, from secure WiFi to content casting, but most importantly Apps. In an ‘unbundled’ future those apps will be the cornerstone of any guest room entertainment system. But how do you create secure, safe access in the new world of heightened hygiene awareness? Yes, hygiene is now an integral part of safety and security. One thing I know is I will be thinking long and hard before I pick up a remote-control when I next visit a hotel. I know, crazy for someone who has worked with TV systems for so long to say that, but in the post COVID-19 world, I don’t think I’ll be the only one! So, if many others along with I are avoiding the remote control, then what can hotels do about it?

You Can Take Control

Here at ROOMNET we like to help you to take control, so aside from a deep cleaning regime, which I’m sure is already in place, we see 3 important points. These 3 points are key in offering your guests a safe and healthy environment, but also a choice.
Invest in new anti-microbial remote controls. Anti-Microbial remotes should be certified to inhibit the growth of any bacteria that it comes into contact with. Designed with a completely flat surface they have no holes to allow bacteria to be harboured so are easily wiped clean.
Provide alcohol wipes in the room. It has been proven that a 60%+ alcohol solution can kill COVID-19 bacteria, and many other common bacterium. This provides a reassurance to the guest that they can clean any surfaces they come into contact with, as well as the remote control. It is now possible to get branded alcohol wipes, meaning minimal impact to the look and feel of your guest room.

Give the guest the option to use their own smart device as the remote control. After all, this is a personal device, so the guest knows where it has been, who has been in contact with it, and most likely keeps it clean. From the guest perspective you remove 100% of the worry. While the integration doesn’t come without its challenges, this is a great option to give your guests.

In todays connected world many guests arrive at your hotel with a remote control and digital voice assistant already in their pocket. In fact, in many hotels over 70% of these guests arrive with an Apple iPhone. Offering the guest the option of using their own device, along with a certified anti-microbial remote control and the ability to clean it themselves, will give them strong reassurance. Funny that I mention the digital voice assistant. I’m sure this is something for another article, however maybe this could be the time for voice assistants to shine. Hotels have struggled with rollouts previously, but perhaps the trust we have with the device we keep in our pockets could be the answer.

An Answer

Just like me, many guests place their trust in hotels to keep us safe, healthy and secure. Offering the guest a choice, enables them to feel reassured. Making these options part of your digital strategy will enable your guests to continue putting their trust in your hotel, time after time. Of course, changing remote control functions is just one small part of a digital strategy. In future posts I will be covering more on how ROOMNET TV could have all the answers you need, and more. ROOMNET’s fully managed Apple TV IPTV solution, can bring your existing TV’s into the future. Letting your guests take control and enabling them to access everything they wish for, from the device they are familiar with if they choose. If you are interested in extending the life of your TV’s, delivering cutting edge content from lots of different sources and enabling that all-encompassing app store, maybe we should have a chat. Then hopefully ROOMNET can show you just how to allow your guests to take control can be part of your digital strategy. In the meantime stay safe and let’s talk when you’re ready!

A Hospitality technology blog by ROOMNET. Every week we cover topics such as IPTV, Apple TV, content casting, Mirroring, OTT apps, smart devices and of course content. We aim to give you all the information you need on giving your guest the ultimate experience through innovative technology.

About the Author

Darren King
Co-founder & Chief Mischief Maker Not one to shy away from a challenge, Darren has built the ROOMNET brand and business through a relentless drive to always look for the better way, by putting the guest experience at the front of everything he does. Now Darren is sharing his thoughts, week in week out, on how ROOMNET are disrupting the Hospitality technology space, showing you how to bring the ultimate guest experience to your hotel, Apartment or shared space through technology.

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