Communications Technology Trends in the Hospitality Industry

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Q & A with Don Reigel, VP of Hospitality

Hotel guests expect that the same communications technology available to them in their homes and offices will also be accessible during their travels. Windstream is one of the largest communications technology providers serving in the U.S. hospitality industry, supporting over 1 million rooms nationwide. In support of this large and continuously growing customer base, Windstream recently named Don Reigel Vice President of Hospitality.

Don brings a 30-year reputation as a successful leader in the communications technology industry within the hospitality vertical, to Windstream. He most recently served as Chief Sales Officer for XETA Technologies, a company that was acquired by PAETEC in early 2011. (Windstream acquired PAETEC in December 2011.) Don’s experience working with major global lodging organizations to bring them advanced, next-generation technology solutions lends itself well to his responsibilities at Windstream.

Don answers our questions and discusses communications trends in the hospitality space—and why Windstream is best equipped to meet the needs of today’s hotels.

Q: What are the biggest communications technology issues that hotels face today?

DR: By far the biggest issue we see is a shortage of bandwidth. It’s a common concern among almost every hotel we work with. The average hotel guest today carries with them three wireless devices (e.g. tablet, smartphone, laptop). When used simultaneously, these devices—multiplied by however many guests are in a hotel at any given time—place a huge amount of strain on the property’s network. Demand for bandwidth often exceeds the hotel’s capacity, which slows everything down. When it comes to guest satisfaction, properties must be able to deliver adequate connectivity and speed.

Q: What differentiates Windstream from its competitors in the hospitality space?

DR: As one of the largest providers of communications technology services in the lodging industry in the U.S., Windstream is uniquely positioned to lead the way in this vertical.

Before joining Windstream, I had the opportunity to step back and evaluate the next generation of exciting communications applications that will enhance the guest experience. I found that while many organizations offer various pieces, only Windstream has the capability to provide the complete package, which I think offers a significant advantage over other providers in today’s market. I like to say that Windstream “shows up different” to hospitality customers, because we are able to offer voice, high-speed Internet access, network management, hosted solutions, and video—all supported by in-house experts available 24 x 7. For customers who take advantage of these integrated services, the result is a significant cost savings per room. And it’s simple—everything is from one provider and there is just one number to call.

Q: What is the future of communications for hospitality? What changes/advancements will we see in the coming years?

DR: As hotel guests continue to travel with more devices and the amount of data they access over the network continues to skyrocket, access to high-speed Internet and expanded bandwidth is going to continue to be the biggest challenge for IT managers within hotels. Demand for bandwidth is only going to keep rising.

At Windstream, we are going to further exemplify our expertise in hospitality by expanding our hosted solutions offering. Customers will have access to cutting-edge technology—such as cloud-based unified communications services, managed security, and more—through Windstream’s full suite of solutions offerings.

It’s been a long road for me, with 30 years in this business. I am excited to be with Windstream now, and to play a role in the evolution of the company’s solutions for the hospitality industry.