With the consumer shift from spending money on possessions to spending on experiences, the hospitality market is thriving. The U.S. accommodations sector alone comprises 4.2 million U.S. jobs and generates $293 billion in revenue. Understanding the need to differentiate their offerings to stay competitive, hospitality companies are investing in audiovisual solutions, with plans to spend 5.9 percent of capital improvement budgets on AV in 2018. According to the new 2018 Market Opportunity Analysis Report (MOAR) covering hospitality, produced by the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA), U.S.-based hotel firms will spend approximately $3.1 billion on AV projects this year.
"Hospitality is a flourishing market that is motivated to invest in AV solutions in order to make the guest experience memorable," said Sean Wargo, senior director of market intelligence, AVIXA. "Hotels want reliable and user-friendly technology in guest rooms and to bring the wow factor to social spaces. There is a wealth of opportunities for pro-AV firms to work with these venues as technology partners to realize these goals."
MOAR: Hospitality examines the opportunities and challenges for providers of pro-AV solutions in hotels and resorts. The report begins with a study of hotel guests to understand their needs, including the role technology plays in creating exceptional experiences. It then takes into account clients of AV solutions—often referred to as end users—including the influencers and decision-makers involved in pro-AV systems integration projects within guest property companies. Finally, the report shares the viewpoint of the pro-AV solution providers on their successes and trials delivering AV systems to guest properties.
Among the report's findings are:
As technology evolves, so do consumer expectations of AV options in hospitality.
Surveys of travelers reveal that although in-room technology is not a primary reason for hotel selection, it plays a significant role in guest satisfaction. As new technologies become part of travelers' daily lives, they expect such digital comforts to be accessible when they travel. Connectivity is of utmost importance to travelers, and hoteliers have incorporated several enhancements in rooms and common areas to make connecting and relaxing seamless for guests. Voice-activated assistants, like Amazon's Alexa, are becoming more prevalent and hotels are utilizing this technology to control in-room functions.
Improvements center on updating established technology, with plans for future capabilities.
When asked what technologies hospitality companies are planning to integrate, the largest share of respondents cite mature technology, such as audio equipment, capture and production equipment, infrastructure, and video displays. Environmental systems (e.g., lighting and temperature control) are of interest to half the respondents, illuminating a technology area of great potential when paired with voice-activation technology.
The hospitality market needs pro-AV partners to assist in technology selection and minimize downtime.
Both end users and providers of AV solutions agree the biggest challenge faced by hospitality companies is technology selection. The industry succeeds based on guest satisfaction, therefore, end users need an AV partner that can minimize the installation downtime to ensure guests receive a consistent experience.
AV integrators currently work heavily in the hospitality industry, but there is room to do more.
AVIXA members report they do a large amount of business in the hospitality industry, typically with hotels and restaurants/bars. Although there are many strong partnerships, end users still utilize competitive RFPs and are open to new suppliers. More than half of suppliers currently working with hospitality companies anticipate that their hospitality revenue will increase, and nearly two-thirds of those not working with the hospitality industry expect to do so within the next three years.
"Like many other markets, one of the primary goals of hospitality is to increase the engagement level of its customers, often referred to as activation in the industry," said Wargo. "Hotel designs are shifting to accomplish this goal, and the AV systems within them are changing in tandem. Integrators have an opportunity to help these designers create these experiences through their knowledge of the technology options and skill in seamlessly weaving them into the environment."
MOAR: Hospitality is the third in a series of 2018 vertical market studies, with forthcoming reports on sports venues, education, and transportation.