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Voivenel addresses the gathering

Technology gives local brands global reach: HMH CEO

DUBAI, November 8, 2016

Technology has given local hotel brands global reach and increased business, while the share of big brands operating hotels have shrunk to 53 per cent worldwide, a leading hospitality expert has said.

Addressing a gathering at the Hospitality Technology Forum in Dubai today, Laurent A. Voivenel, CEO of HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings, made a special presentation on how technology is revolutionising the $412 billion global hotel industry.

He stressed: “Technology is evolving fast and needs constant upgrades. We will have to keep investing in it, if we are to keep up with the big brands. And a whole lot of it would have to be in digital optimization, mobile booking apps and social media engagement. In Dubai alone 10,000 hotel rooms are in need of refurbishment by 2020 and technology upgrades will be a big part of it”.

Globally, 40 per cent of hotels at any given moment are empty. However, technology driven hotels are getting top dollars, according to industry statistics.
Voivenel said: “Today, we live in a world driven by technology. It is all about Internet of Things as currently 80 things connect to internet instantly. Guests therefore want seamless integration of mobile technology into their travel and that transcends into every aspect of our business – from booking flights to rooms and dining experience. Technology makes it possible to check-in with Apps, have keyless room entry, control lighting, room temperature, TV, curtains and wake-up call with a single smart device. Intuitive technology allows us to anticipate the needs and desires of our guests to the extent of monitoring blood pressure, sleep patterns and stress levels and accordingly music and lighting are adjusted."
Out of 1.2 billion global travelers today, majority are between 15 to 64 years and not all of them are tech savvy. Voivenel said: “As hoteliers we need to cater to not just the millennials but also baby boomers, Gen X and Gen Z. For some technology can be baffling, and it may not always have to do with age. Therefore, it is essential to have user-friendly, simple systems rather than complicated ones.
So what is it that guests really want in terms of technology and how do hotelier’s bridge this generation gap?
He stressed: “The big change today is young travellers desire personalisation - ‘My Stay, My Way’. They want engagement be it through apps, web chat or social media. We have seen 87 per cent increase in non-voice service engagement in last five years. High speed internet and seamless connectivity and integration with devices is basic now. We operate in smart cities, hence our hotels need to be smart too. A good example is Coral Al Madina Hotel which will open early next year and is being developed to be the first smart hotel in Madina equipped with the most advanced technology. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: hotels | business | technology | global | Local | reach |

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