3 Technologies Transforming Hospitality Venues

3 Technologies Transforming Hospitality Venues

By Jessica Janis
Published: August 2, 2022

For hospitality venues, the return of large events like conferences and weddings is welcoming news—but without a strong network, these facilities might find themselves struggling to keep up with the new demands of post-pandemic connected life.

This also spells opportunity for venues looking to stand out in the new landscape of events: according to a recent study, technology can increase attendance by 20 percent and elevate productivity by 27 percent. With the right infrastructure in place, facilities can make the most of the following trending technologies.


The pandemic threw open the doors to the world of livestreaming, and there’s no going back. Even as we continue to move further from the days of social distancing, hybrid combinations of in-person events and streaming production seem certain to stay—offering an alternative for those who still aren’t ready for crowds, as well as for those who are simply too far away.

“Weddings and some other events want more and more connectivity with extended family because they can’t travel or there’s other issues,” said Mike Blake, Chief Technology Officer at the American Hotel & Lodging Association, an industry trade group with thousands of members including hotel brands, owners, and management companies. “A lot of [venues] are doing revamps because the Wi-Fi burdens are different now, because everyone is using more video-based services.”

Mobile Integration

Nobody wants to wait in long lines, and connected venues finally have a solution to alleviate this age-old headache. Facilities are deploying “line busting” mobile technology to tackle congestion and enhance convenience, a trend that’s poised to continue growth.

For example, if there’s a long queue to enter a venue, employees can move down the line and check people in on the fly, removing the bottleneck. Another is mobile payment readers, particularly for food and beverage transactions.

“We’re getting to the day now where things can be contactless, things can be kind of frictionless,” Blake said. “These are all things that make for a much better use of technology: food and beverage payments, pay wherever you want, line busting, scene ordering and delivery in big venues. There’s a lot of things that are going to enhance the service quality of where you’re at, and satiate your need when you need something.”

Another mobile integration that seemed dead just a few years ago has become a mainstay since the pandemic: the QR code. For venues, the ability to have guests call up information and even order and pay straight from their devices simply by scanning a code has proven tremendously effective.

Going forward, some emerging technologies appear likely to carve away even more bandwidth from venue networks. Blake sees great potential in geofencing—location-based services that can help visitors navigate a space and push targeted content to them as they move past specific sites. This presents not only an opportunity for increased revenue, but also unlocks a wealth of insights into patron behavior. However, this exists today largely as an opt-in service, with the public still somewhat wary of its potential intrusiveness. “I’m seeing things like geofencing and facial detection more in Asia as opposed to the EU and US,” Blake said. “I think there’s still a little bit of a funk related to it. People are worried about privacy. It’s not that the technology doesn’t exist, and I think folks could use it, but it’s still not there yet.”

Autonomous Technologies

A trend gradually growing in prominence over the last decade is the use of robotics and drones to enhance the experience of large gatherings.

Now a mainstay in cinematography, drones are quickly becoming a staple of wedding and other large event photography. Despite their significant public awareness, their usage is still largely managed by hobbyists and outside companies. “It always ends up that a cousin or a brother-in-law brings their drone in to shoot the wedding; I really haven’t seen it as a standard offering from hotels yet, except from some really tech-forward ones,” Blake said. For venues looking to stand out from the pack, drones present an exciting opportunity for differentiation.

Another interesting emerging technology is robotics, which can enhance the venue experience with service and entertainment. A fun example is the robotic bartender: Systems from companies like Makr Shakr allow users to order drinks from an app, which then springs a pair of robot arms into action pouring and mixing cocktails. Another is in telepresence: rather than just watching an event like a wedding via livestream, remote guests can take control of a roving bot and mingle with those gathering in person via videoconference.

To accommodate the sharp rise in network usage today and to prepare for even greater demand in the coming years, it’s crucial that venues have the right infrastructure in place. “On the network infrastructure side, [venues] are going to have to manage bandwidth like they never had before,” Blake said. “They have to absolutely know that the demands are only going to increase, not dissipate.”

While today’s connectivity demands are largely based on standard Wi-Fi, a solid fiber-rich network will serve to accommodate next-generation requirements, which include more advanced wireless with distributed antenna systems (DAS), dense networks of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and even private 5G cellular networks.

Whether for new builds or retrofits, venues must invest in the right cabling and equipment if they want to remain competitive now and into the future. “Anybody who second guessed fiber should be doing it,” Blake said. “It’s a no-brainer. Get it done, get it enhanced, get it moving.”

Jessica Janis is the Business Development Director of Sports & Entertainment at Corning Optical Communications.  Jessica focuses on expanding the adoption of future-ready infrastructure in Hospitality, Sports, Entertainment and other large public venue environments.  After spending 15 years in various telecommunications and technology consulting and sales positions, her passion for connecting people and their devices led her to Corning, where she accelerated next-generation connectivity efforts in the Western U.S.  Her current role is a vertically focused, national role in Market Development working with hotels, stadiums, arenas, convention centers and large multi-use developments.  In addition to sitting on the Vendor Advisory Council for HTNG / AHLA, she also sits on the Advisory Board for The Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (LASEC), a non-profit organization officially designated by Los Angeles Tourism to attract, secure and support high-profile sports and entertainment events in Los Angeles. Jessica holds a BA in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University.

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