OUR BLOG

06 Nov 2017
The Travel Tech show

Introducing the Travel Technology Show at World Travel Market, London

Find out how the travel sector is harnessing the power of tech to create seamless experiences for travellers across the world

World Travel Market (WTM) is a leading global event for the travel industry, kicking off today at London’s ExCeL. As the travel sector increasingly embraces technology to improve efficiencies and create seamless experiences for travellers across the world, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the event organisers have introduced a dedicated Travel Tech Show, which will run simultaneously alongside WTM.

Showcasing the latest technology products and services to international industry professionals, the Travel Tech Show promises to provide a platform for suppliers to meet with key decision makers who are looking to source technology-powered solutions that will help them enhance their offerings and reinforce the customer-centric focus that lies at the heart of hospitality.

A hotbed for knowledge gathering and sharing, the show will also provide ample opportunity for visitors to discover the latest trends and themes that are high on the agenda for leading tech and travel media, globally. A host of experts will be imparting their insight and experience on how mobile, AI, VR/AR, big data, social media, blogging and travel tech companies are disrupting the sector.

 

Ahead of the hospitality tech curve

To get under the skin of what’s really happening on the frontline of the hospitality tech scene, we spoke exclusively with Samir Abi Frem, Corporate Vice President – Information Technology, Rotana – the largest hotel management corporation in the Middle East and Africa region, with a portfolio that spans across more than 26 cities.

With five main brands under its umbrella, and boasting a steep growth curve which has soared from just two properties in 1993 to a projected 100 by 2020, this relative fledgling has fast become one of the most dynamic leaders in its field.

Each sub-brand embraces the same impeccable service that is synonymous with the Rotana name. Wondering how a brand of such scale can consistently deliver service excellence? Especially in an ‘always-on’ world where the demands for ultra-convenience, tailored experiences and seamless connectivity are high on the agenda? Well, at Rotana, technological innovation takes a seriously customer-centric approach.

 

Making it personal 

Outlining the role that tech plays in creating personalised experiences, Abi Frem said: “As a pioneer in bringing technology-led and social media-focused innovations to the regional hospitality industry, Rotana continues to invest in technology to enhance the guest experience.

“We strive to enable a personal experience in every aspect of our guests’ stay at our hotels, starting from booking to check-out, by incorporating technology enhancements, which in turn, allow us to stay ahead of the tech curve.”

In addition to this, Abi Frem urged that data innovation is another key area of focus as it has the potential to increase operational efficiency and enable the hotel giant to meet its guests’ high expectations.

In a sector that prides itself on customer-centricity, it’s crucial for hospitality providers to strike the right balance between technology innovation and human interaction. So, for technology innovators to be in with a chance of securing and retaining business, they need to keep the guest experience at the core of their solution. At the end of the day, the business of hospitality is about serving people to deliver exceptional experiences.

 

Striking a balance

There is, however, a danger to consider when tech and hospitality collide – and it’s a threat that both innovators and hotel providers need to stay mindful of: aimlessly adopting the next big thing in tech for the sake of it.

To implement technology in this environment it needs to:

  • satisfy a need – enhancing the guest experience by removing friction, adding convenience or by heightening enjoyment
  • help the team, the hotel and the brand
  • be scalable across a diverse portfolio to unleash a consistent experience

There’s also a danger that the excitement of the tech will take over from what really matters in hospitality – the human element. How many ‘bot-cierges’ have we seen emerge on the hotel landscape, for instance? Sure, there’s a novelty factor. Maybe they can help to improve efficiencies, albeit momentarily. But do they really have longevity? Can they truly enhance the human interaction?

Done right – leveraging the power of IoT, embracing VR or developing mobile platforms with AI-powered tools – technology can pave the way for a more enriching and engaging customer experience.

Commenting on Rotana’s approach to balancing tech innovation with the human touch, Abi Ferm said: “Technology-driven enhancements can indeed transform the hospitality sector by enabling hassle-free hotel guest experiences. However, personalised human interaction will always remain the key ingredient to success in this business. While we facilitate enhanced guest convenience through features such as online booking and automated check-out, we remain dedicated to ensuring that the human touch continues to define every aspect of our services.”

Never one to rest on its laurels, Rotana is continuing to raise its tech game to another level in a bid to stay ahead of the competition. “Guest satisfaction is at the heart of our services, so we will continue to seek new ways and innovate technology to continuously enhance the Rotana experience for our guests – from check-in and check-out, to every step of their travel journey with us,” said Abi Ferm.

Blending an exceptional guest experience with just the right dose of tech innovation provides a distinctive recipe for success at Rotana. If you’re looking to cook up a storm in the travel sector, then it’s a recipe worth keeping in mind.

 

Make the most of your Travel Tech Show

And so, whether you’re disrupting the travel scene with new solutions or you’re a service provider looking to transform your business or iron out the wrinkles in your guest experience journey, then World Travel Market’s Travel Tech Show could be the right destination for you this week.

If you’d like to hook up with the Luminous PR team to find out how you can communicate your brand to the media and decision makers that are crucially relevant to you, then don’t be shy – get in touch!

So, make the most of your time at World Travel Market this week and check out the full schedule of conference sessions here.

Meanwhile, we’ve cherry-picked a few sessions that are piquing the interest of the media right now:

  • What personalisation really means in the travel industry – November 6, 13:30, Travel Tech Theatre TT390, by Inspiretec
  • Travel loyalty trends: what do millennial business travellers really want? – November 6, 14:15, Travel Tech Theatre TT390, by Wanup
  • The Future of Technology in Travel and Hospitality – November 6, 16:00, WTM Global Stage AS1050, in association with Travel Technology Initiative with speakers from Trivago, Gatwick Airpot, Stackla an Gray Dawes Group
  • Future Digital Thinking – Genesys Summit – November 7, 10:00, Platinum Suite 4
  • Innovative techniques for improving the guest experience – November 7, 11:15, Travel Tech Theatre TT390, by ReviewPro
  • How to use AI to maximise your direct bookings – November 7, 13:45, Travel Tech Theatre TT390, by Avvio
  • Unlocking the power of data in travel – November 7, 16:45, Travel Tech Theatre TT390, by Mastercard
  • Smart Tourism: big data, AI and robotics revolutions – November 8, 14:00, moderated by Bournemouth University

See you there!

melissa