Laurent A. Voivenel, CEO of HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings shared today a number of key industry insights at the 18th Hotel Technology Summit in Dubai . The two-day global conference, being held on 22 and 23 November 2015, aims to connect the Middle East hotels with Next-Gen technology innovators.

Adoption of the latest technology has been a strategic focus for HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings. Commenting on how hotels can make personal connections with tech-savvy Gen Y travellers, Laurent stated, “Let’s first agree on the fact that Gen Y are ‘NOT’ tech-savvy. Rather, they are tech-dependent and, therefore, cannot live without technology. They are looking for instant gratification and convenience at the touch of a button. They demand efficiency and speed at every step be it the booking process or the actual stay at the hotel. Basic to any operation today is high-speed connectivity and digital engagement.”

One of the new technologies that is getting quite a bit of attention currently is the ability to use geo location services.  According to Laurent, “While it is a great technology, the issue is guests want to feel catered to, not stalked around and up until now beacons appears to give the latter impression. That is why we have to tread this path carefully. It can be used as a concierge on the phone whereby if you pass the spa, it alerts you of the special offer or if you pass by the restaurant – notifies you about complimentary dessert. When used right, it is a great way to engage with customers and further personalize their experience”.

Talking about intuitive technology, Laurent said, “Intuitive technology basically means taking advantage of innovations in technology and implementing solutions that allow to anticipate and serve the needs of a guest.  Some examples can be in-room iPads that are interfaced to allow guests to order room service, schedule wake-up calls, book spa appointments, use smart phones as room keys or electro-responsive fibres in sleepwear and soft electronics in pillows that can monitor your blood pressure, sleep patterns and stress levels, and accordingly music and lighting can be adjusted to help you relax. Similarly, bathroom mirrors can function as interactive display showing news, weather and messages, etc. The possibilities with intuitive technology keep getting wider.

“When it comes to technology, like everything else, the key is to know what is it that your guests desire and expect? There is no point to load them with add-ons that complicate rather than simplify. Technology must complement the service and enhance the guest experience. It should not totally replace the human touch”.

Laurent ended the session by quoting Charles Darwin who had famously said: “‘It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.’ Technology is not only about addressing the current needs of our guests but preparing ourselves for the future. With advancements in technology comes change and we need to adapt ourselves to those changes”.