Effective digital signage 101
By William Henderson, director of marketing, Janus Displays
Thinking about deploying a digital signage solution at your property? Deciding to switch to digital signage is the first – and sometimes easiest — step. But making sure that your digital signage solution is effective and improving guest experiences from day one? That's when you need to partner with an experienced and trusted digital signage solutions provider, because with any successful launch, planning is key.
Before you make the leap, you should take into account a few points that will help you start on the right foot out of the gate and ultimately yield the most successful results.
You've likely heard the adage "Measure twice, cut once." Similarly, thoughtful planning is absolutely essential with your transition to digital signage. First things first, identify what you’re hoping to achieve with your signage. With digital signage, you can provide directions to get guests from point A to point B; share information about area restaurants, attractions and shopping areas; list information about on-site events and happenings; promote on-site amenities and restaurants; and more.
After you've clarified what you want your digital signage to help you achieve, you must take into account the following:
- The content you want to display.
- The type of frame you want to use.
- If you want to install a cloud-based or on-site solution.
- The physical placement of the signage.
Notice that the technical components of the solution – cloud-based or on-site solution and where to install the signage — are further down the list of decisions to make, though these decisions are very important. What we've found by working with customers since 1984 is that what your guests will remember most is what you display on your signage. Your frame choice will also be remembered, and you want to choose a frame that adds to – and doesn't detract from — the content.
Content is king
Without a doubt, the visual appeal of digital signage is enticing. Digital signage can be (and, in our opinion, should be) art, both functional and aligned with your content strategy.
With any new adoption, it's tempting to add all the bells and whistles, but often it can be translated to all sizzle and no steak. Your customer's experience has a direct correlation to the value that you provide. Your mantra at this phase is offering value — not just technology for technology sake.
Build your content by examining what, when, and how the content will be used. A general rule of thumb — content should enhance a guest's experience. Keeping the intent of the message in mind, provide clear content that is equal parts engaging and meaningful.
Building a better mousetrap
You've thoughtfully selected your content, and you know it's on point, so now you need the mouthpiece (so to speak) that best fits, and designing that perfect mouthpiece begins with deciding whether you want to install a cloud-based or on-site solution.
When you deploy a cloud-based digital signage solution, you rely on web-based digital signage software to carry messages and information to your screens. This software is usually hosted on an external server (which means you don't need a server on site), and the server easily can be managed via the Internet. A third-party company usually is responsible for maintaining and monitoring this external server, which makes having an on-site IT team redundant.
A cloud-based solution also may make sense for your property if you want to control content at multiple properties around a city or state from one central location. While you can control content like this from a server-based on-site digital signage solution, you'll find it much easier to do when you're using a cloud-based solution.
An on-premise digital signage solution is hosted on an on-site server (which means you need a server on site). This server sends messages and information to your screens. You are responsible for maintaining this server. This type of solution means you should have an IT team on-site or available to you to support your server.
A cloud-based digital signage solution may work for you if you need an easy-to-use budget-friendly solution. An on-site digital signage solution may work for you if you prefer to pay for your solution upfront and have more control over it.
All dressed up and somewhere to go—but where?
You must be as judicious and thoughtful about where you deploy your digital signage solution as you are about the content to display and the type of solution to deploy. You should position signage so that your guests easily can use it. Meeting room boards are easy to place — the placement is in its name (meeting room boards go outside meeting rooms). But where to put your concierge boards or directories? That often can be the million dollar question.
For directional and wayfinding signage, consider the natural flow upon entry and connecting points throughout the facility — remember, ease and flow. Promotional signage is best positioned in open spaces with built-in downtime or waiting periods, such as the lobby of a building. Remember: the more traffic the better, and your signage can give people something to do while they wait. You also can add drama or create a specific mood by installing a video wall in a lobby or along hallways or corridors. Just ask yourself, where will the signage best add to your property's story and enhance a guest's experience?
Dwight D. Eisenhower said it best, "Plans are nothing; planning is everything." A successful launch of your digital campaign will require thoughtful and careful examination of your objectives, aligning your content with those objectives, evaluating which system is a best fit, and, of course, determining where your message will live.
Considering the above points will ultimately help you put in place a winning digital signage solution.
Image via Istock.com
Companies: JANUS Displays