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Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport #43

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In The Field with David

In The Field with David Esseryk THE "INSIDE LINE" ON WHAT'S HOT IN HOSPITALITY TECHNOLOGIES PART 24 GENERATION Z DISCOVER YOUR FUTURE CUSTOMERS MILLENNIALS & e-REPUTATION In this edition of his regular report, David Esseryk takes a closer look at how “Gen Z” is starting to impact the industry, and what we can expect to see in the future. For hoteliers, it’s time to get one’s campaigns in a row, because this determined generation is the future of travel. While the elders of Generation Z turn 21 this year (born after 1995), members of this age boom are only starting to show their economic and social influence. The first true “digital natives” of our times, members of this generation have grown up with technology within their reach since birth and instant gratification with the click of a “like.” Following are some key points to keep in mind… THEME #1 WHERE AM I? Gen Z is particularly keen to explore (...) WHEN GEN Z SETTLES INTO THEIR TECH- their temporary community t h r o u g h the lens of a local perspective, taking in the signature experiences of whatever region they’re visiting. While boutique hotels and the Airbnb mind-set understand the importance of localised experiences, it forces larger chains to break their homogenous environment. That means finding a balance between a demand for variety and a need for brand consistency. Take dining, for instance. Rather than pitting a generic hotel restaurant against a burgeoning local culinary scene, a local chef might set up a permanent restaurant inside a hotel, bringing in local flavours. Down the hallway, a local business owner runs a wine bar, allowing guests to sample and shop for regional wines on the spot. And in lieu of the franchised Starbucks, and an independent cafe in the lobby encourages guests to mingle with other visitors. EQUIPPED HOTEL BED FOR THE NIGHT, THEIR ZEST FOR TRAVEL IS FUELLED BY EXPERIENCES MORE THAN PRODUCTS THEME #2 COMMUNAL EXPERIENCES Millennials appreciate places like the gym or the cafe as social hubs. Guests can sign up for boutique studio classes taught by local instructors, inviting people to connect through group fitness. Or they can opt for in-room exercise by streaming fitness videos from celebrity trainers. The same independent cafe and surrounding lounge spaces are also designed with human-centric connectivity in mind: comfy chairs and casual nooks where people can work, relax, or mingle with fellow travellers. THEME #3 HIGH TOUCH AND HI-TECH Technology plays a big part in the overall customer journey, but it’s more than just offering guests free Wi-Fi and integrated USB ports. The advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) means smart TVs, digital room keys, and robot butlers are contributing to new-age hotel services. And mobile messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and custom mobile loyalty programs make it easier for brands to build seamless travel experiences. At the end of the day, when Gen Z settles into their tech-equipped hotel bed for the night, their zest for travel is fuelled by experiences more than products. For this generation, it’s apparent they rely on thoughtful products or services to facilitate meaningful experiences, proving that the integration of the two worlds is now more important than ever SEE YOU AGAIN IN THE NEXT EDITION

INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport #43 2019 Summer Edition 37 37 WE SEE THE BLURRING OF BOUNDARIES BETWEEN DIRECT SALES AND CHANNELS Joseph Wang Chief Commercial Officer, TravelDaily China THE “TECH EFFECT” Technology in the hands of travellers… and in distribution Joseph Wang, Chief Commercial Officer – TravelDaily China – recently hosted two key sessions at the ITB China conference this year on the use by travellers of new digital tools and how technology innovations will impact the way travel products are distributed and purchased. We asked him why these topics are so vital today. China is now the largest source market for global travel and tourism industry, and technological innovations are redefining the way travel products are distributed and purchased. The behaviour of Chinese travellers today, especially millennials, has been changing with the technology evolution. Mobile, APP, wireless payment, Big Data, AI etc. and emerging new social media platforms like WeChat, UGC, short video APP and live streaming sites are also impacting the travel behaviour of Chinese millennials. Travel companies should try to satisfy this changing demand through personalisation, for example, in terms of product development and brand communication. From the industry backend perspective, the efficiency of marketing, operations, training, channel distribution management especially supply chain need to be improved, and technology can help to find a way out of the dilemma. In the past, you worked on direct sales in the hotel business. How have you seen sales channels evolving in the past years, and what will people coming to your sessions learn? After years of consolidations, OTA has become a highly concentrated landscape especially from the traffic perspective. In the future, big hotel chains are getting even bigger and will also reach a very high concentration landscape globally and regionally through continuous mergers. Under this situation, we see the blurring of boundaries between direct sales and channels so one of the biggest challenges today to the traditional hotel sales channels will be the lack of traffic sources, lack of the abilities of collecting, storing, cleaning, analysing, identifying customer data and tagging, the lack of abilities to differentiate channels and to connect with all potential partners agilely and cost effectively. In terms of marketing and channel strategies, hotels should redesign their product and sales with an integrated online and offline presence, a more relevant content with higher level of context aware, relevancy and personalisation, to refine their offering to the loyalty members in order to differentiate themselves in the crowd and to be adapted by different age groups of the members especially the Millennials leveraging todays' digital tools. "The right product should be delivered to the right audience through right channels at the right time and to avoid one-size-fits-all." as someone famous said SMARTreport Commercial Content