Travel plays a very important role in my life. I’m constantly jetting off to different countries week after week whether it’s for business or pleasure. But no matter where I am – there is one commonality that unites hotel staff around the world – a smile. The frustration of encountering long lines, delays, or a lost reservation can be lifted instantly with a kind greeting from the front desk and a promise to help. It can make all the difference in the travel experience, and be the deciding factor on whether or not a guest returns to that property. It’s situations like this that motivate me to help the hospitality industry deliver better guest experiences.
Our customers understand this. There’s great desire to develop a better connected, personalized, and sustainable future for the industry. It’s our job as technology providers to not only study travel trends and how they evolve, but to innovate and collaborate with players across the industry to improve the journey.
During my 13 years at Amadeus, I’ve had many of these conversations with airline customers around the world, most recently with customers in the Asia Pacific region. Now, as the head of Amadeus’ hospitality division, I look forward to engaging with the wide range of venues we serve – everything from hotels to casinos, stadiums, and restaurants.
As much as we say and hear that the hospitality industry is complex, for me it will always be about the people. The challenge though, is that the vast majority of technology running in hotels and other venues today are legacy systems with one fundamental flaw – they don’t focus on the guest. To make sure that the people and the smiles stay at the heart of the industry, we have to offer technology that harnesses guest data so our customers have the ability to truly cater to each individual.
This vision has helped our hospitality business grow significantly over the past few years. We are moving away from fragmented systems and moving towards cloud-based components that can integrate easily with a property’s existing software. Our solutions are currently used by more than 25,000 properties worldwide. We are also continuing to advance with our strategic partnerships with InterContinental Hotels Group and Premier Inn, owned by Whitbread Group PLC.
And this is just the beginning. New innovations like chatbots, voice-enabled internet of things, and artificial intelligence, in addition to changes in consumer behaviors and preferences, are all transforming the way hoteliers conduct business. We’ll be working right alongside them to incorporate these technologies in ways that will excite and delight their guests.
So the next time I travel, I’ll be thinking of technology as the seamless extension of the staff member that’s assisting me. Both need to be operating at peak performance to deliver on a hotel’s brand promise to drive loyalty, and smiles, among guests. Isn’t that what hospitality is all about?