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Hotelympia – it’s not just dishwashers and cookers but technology too!

Posted 04 March Allan Gallop

Walking into a venue such as the Excel Centre, you know it is going to be a big event. With the smell of various culinary delights and chefs milling around in their full chef whites, it’s hard not to get excited. However, we were there with a purpose and not to be distracted by the exciting wedding cakes and sugar statues.

The Hospace Hub, sponsored by Hospa and Oracle Hospitality welcomed a host of different technology providers; from EPoS, to Wi-Fi and AV vendors. There was a definite buzz around the hub about new technology and lots of people were talking about what could be the next big thing.

How to leverage new technologies to achieve a superior customer experience

Hospace Hub

It was very interesting listening to Mark Campbell, CIO at the Dorchester Collection, Timothy Griffin, Brand Director at The Hoxton and Lindy Veitenheimer, CSO at iRiS. Their main focus was determining which technologies can help their brands engage with their customers, whilst seamlessly integrating with their current systems and processes.

Interestingly, Timothy highlighted that their customer demographics would dictate what technology they would use and therefore it wouldn’t make business sense to introduce technologies that were of no interest to their customers. For example, in a 5* restaurant where guests are looking for a quiet setting, you wouldn’t install TVs to broadcast sporting events. Timothy also mentioned that any technology they decide to integrate into their hotels would have to be so seamless that the customer wouldn’t even know it was new. It’s the idea of hidden added value.

Ultimately, the hospitality industry and hotels in particular have an opportunity to be ahead of the curve with technology, especially with guest-facing tech that allows customers to do what they want and when.

Let customers create their own experience!

Drinks Time

Mark was keen to emphasise that technology, such as tablets in rooms, gives customers choice over how they wish to communicate with their business. This idea of choice comes from how they wish to interact with the brand at the point of their stay or even how they book online or over the phone. No longer are hotels and restaurants focused on traditional methods of service but want to give customers the opportunity to decide if they want more interaction or less. This is how technology can achieve a superior customer experience – by letting the customer create their own experience.

Customer Experience and ROI

Customer Exp ROI

Lindy made an interesting point about the ROI of technology when related to customer experience. From Lindy’s perspective, ROI of customer experience is not always directly quantifiable. This means that you cannot measure in a spreadsheet how good a customer’s experience has been, however you can measure if they have converted into a sale (or booking) and thus make educated judgments on behaviour . In the long run, it’s about making sure that you have all the right technologies that are suitable for the brand, the company’s digital strategy and ultimately for the customer, this will then ensure they convert into sales, which in turn can be measured.

Technology & Hospitality: staying ahead of the curve

The key items to take away from Hotelympia were how many elements there are to consider when running and managing a 5* business. With that in mind, they are no different to other businesses with many trying to target different demographics with new methods. Whilst they may not be early adopters in technology, it is a trend that is taking the industry by force. Hospitality as an industry are at a point where they can stay ahead of the curve, if they are bold enough to take the chance.

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