At the first Hotelier Express Summit held in Dubai, experts discussed the importance of unity to combat their hurdles in technology.
Auris Hotels founder and MD Hatem Gasmi stressed on the importance of the industry coming together on all technological fronts. “In our industry we are working in isolated tubes to capture guests, as we suffer from new players in the market who are basing their approach in a different way such as AirBnB, Uber or Booking.com.
Gasmi said it’s high time operators innovate in this space. “We have got caught out when it comes to technology because we are more of a consumer than a player in that [technology] segment. We need to become a player and need to understand the only way to succeed is to not work in isolation from our peers. We need to create a collaborative approach between, independent hotels, the brands and chains.”
There is more to technology in hospitality than social media as hoteliers discussed the alternate channels that the industry can focus on.
XVA Hotel general manager Moses Barnabas said: “There is something called dark data that we sit on, and is indeed indicative information of where we want to go. We can learn a lot out of guest feedback and data.
Stating an example, Barnabas said: “We are based in a pedestrian area [of Dubai] and we looked into the different ways guests could locate us quickly. Interestingly, Whatsapp came to the rescue as it’s very easy to share the location via the smartphone application, and since everyone is available on the service, it makes things easy for guests.”
Meanwhile, Smartotels LLC founder and managing partner Tarek M. Daouk said that the operator focuses on technology as its core element. “We have worked on a bit of a hybrid model where part of the content which is created and developed is on-site but is being managed by experts. For this, we have engaged a media company who has all the technical support to give us reports and analysis.”