Tink Labs to introduce 'handy' to GCC hoteliers

The world's first free mobile solution for travellers has arrived in the Middle East

Tink Labs managing director for expansion and the Middle East Jean-Pierre Aramouni
Tink Labs managing director for expansion and the Middle East Jean-Pierre Aramouni

Hong Kong travel technology start-up Tink Labs is bullish about regional prospects for handy, its flagship smartphone flagship product for hotel guests, managing director for expansion and the Middle East Jean-Pierre Aramouni disclosed to Hotelier Qatar recently.

“We’ve just announced our expansion into the GCC and it is without a doubt that Doha is a key market for us. The Qatar Hospitality Summit is an important platform for us to introduce handy to the market and meet decision makers across the industry. With handy, we're looking to revolutionise travel and enhance the guest experience in any given city. Presence at the Qatar Hospitality Summit is key for us as we prepare to launch our product across hotels in Doha,” Aramouni declared.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the pace of development in Qatar’s hotel industry, Aramouni continued, “Qatar is home to many of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands, such as W, St.Regis, Anantara and Kempinski, and some interesting boutique concepts too, such as the Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels and the soon-to-open Mondrian Doha.”

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“Research from HVS shows that Qatar has an existing hotel base of 110 hotels, with 34 hotels in the pipeline. We expect these to continue to deliver the quality design and guest focus for which Qatar is already well-known and look forward to being a part of helping hoteliers deliver superior guest experiences. Take the upcoming Katara Towers development in Lusail Marina District, for example. This is set to become a new hospitality landmark and an architectural icon for Qatar,” he added.

Balancing Aramouni’s optimism is a realistic perspective of the challenges being faced by hoteliers in Qatar and the approach required in order to succeed. He commented: “From a recent trip to Doha and several meetings with hotel GMs, it’s evident that remaining competitive in the midst of the construction boom and the slump in oil prices is top of mind for many hotel GMs. Going above and beyond in delivering the ultimate guest experience will be key in helping hoteliers differentiate themselves and offer a unique value proposition on the market.”

He subsequently thinks the Qatar Hospitality Summit can offer a productive learning experience for hoteliers, saying, “Based on our recent visits to Doha, we expect delegates to be interested in receiving the latest market data and insights on benchmarking and performance. With competition increasing and a strong hotel pipeline, we believe hoteliers are keen to understand what they can do to stand out in the market and offer a superior guest experience. As we know, competition and market conditions have also put pressure on rates, which means general managers need to learn about new tools that can help them maintain RevPAR through increased hotel service utilization and enhanced guest experiences. These are some of the issues we plan to address in our workshop.”

As for the future of handy, Aramouni revealed that relentless innovation means new features are being added to the smartphone. He said: ”2016 was a very busy and important year for us. We introduced several new features in handy, including push notifications and 4G, which not only enhanced the user experience, but also the ROI for our hotel partners. In addition, the investment from Foxconn was a key milestone, enabling us to fuel our global expansion. Therefore, 2017 is gearing up to be a very exciting year for us and we plan to bring handy to more than 100 cities across the globe.”

“We will offer handy to travellers in dozens of new markets, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha among others,” Aramouni concluded.

To date, according to Aramouni, handy is available in 20 cities, covering over 100,000 hotel rooms and helping more than 12 million global travellers stay connected. As one of the top three largest start-ups in Hong Kong, Tink Labs raised US$125 million in its latest round of funding to expand globally, with investors including Foxconn, FIH Mobile, Sinovation Ventures and Cai Wensheng.

What: Hotelier Middle East: Qatar Hospitality Summit
Where: Grand Hyatt Doha, Qatar
When: April 11, 2017
For speaking opportunities or to attend: louby.maktari@itp.com
For sponsorship opportunities: stephen.price@itp.com
Website: www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/conferences/qatar/



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