Why Hotels and Restaurants Are Spending on One Thing To Stand Out
Industries Invest in AV to Create the Ultimate Customer Experience
The customer experience is a huge focus for most sectors that seek to attract consumers. As consumers long for memorable experiences, industries have had to step up to do just that, much of which means investing in technology.
That is exactly what the hospitality sector is doing. According to the 2108 Market Opportunity Analysis report from the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA), hotels in the U.S. will spend around $3.1 billion on audiovisual (AV) projects this year. 
The report finds that in-room technology is not necessarily a motivator when guests choose their hotel. It is, however, a huge part of their customer experience. They want the most up-to-date technology that is easy to use. Consumers’ new expectations are that they will have the same or better tech as they do at home. Some hotels are even adding voice-activated assistants to control in-room functions like lighting or the TV. All of this needs to integrate with guests’ personal devices as well.
A concept called voice-enabled cognitive rooms was launched in 2017 and powered by IBM Watson. Hotel rooms are equipped with Watson-enabled voice recognition, panel controllers, or both. This allows guests to control almost any aspect of the room like the thermostat. Just ask, and Watson will comply.
In addition to the in-room technology, common areas in hotels also are going all out with AV projects, including larger and more present screens. Video walls behind check-in counters or massive screens in the bar have all become the norm in the hotel environment.
The desire for the best customer experience and investment in AV is not only for the hospitality industry. Restaurants are betting big on AV as well. It can be evident when a customer walks into many quick-serve or fast casual restaurants that those establishments are using digital screens as menus and allow users to order on kiosks.
What’s next for dining? The industry has also seen interests in digital assistants, integrating the technology with mobile ordering apps. Diners can then order, pay, and redeem any rewards in advance. They may never need to interact with an employee with this easy, seamless way to place and receive their order.
Retailers are also adding more AV systems into their stores to create a new in-store experience. After all, customers will remember moments that are unique. There are digital screens with ads, specials, and information as well as kiosks that could be used as directories or help a customer find a product that store does not have in stock. Shoppers want convenience—AV solutions deliver.
Investment in AV will only continue to grow in these industries as technology becomes more sophisticated and consumers become savvier. As their expectations rise, brands have to respond or face the possibility of becoming obsolete and stale. Those that are shifting toward enhancing the customer experience with tech have a better chance of thriving.