New generation, new business models for hoteliers?

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The 'new generation, new business models' breakout session at IHIF offered insights from entrepreneurs changing the hotel business model and shaping the future.   

Boutique Hotel News was a Media Partner for the 19th International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, attended by over 2,000 people from around 70 countries.

The 'new generation, new business models' breakout session offered insights from entrepreneurs changing the hotel business model and shaping the future.

Moderator Dirk Bakker Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International was in discussion with Gon Ben-David CEO & Co-Founder, Roomer; Charlie Osmond Chief Tease, TRIPTEASE; Dr. Stefan Tweraser Chief Executive Officer, SnapShot and Preben Vestdam Founder & CEO, HotelSwaps

The conversation started with Osmond highlighting the amount of 'new' innovation within online travel companies currently disrupting the status quo, citing technology enablers like TripBam that automatically cancels hotel guest advance bookings if the price lowers, and rebooks at the revised price allowing the guest to lock in additional savings - "I think there are dangers (to the hotel industry) here" said Osmond.

OTA's

Ben-David added that the "disruptive value created for the end user, in effect endorses the technology platform it's on," citing Accor as one of the most innovative hotel companies "open to all platforms" having recently launched its own OTA distribution channel for independent hoteliers.

Staying with OTA's, Tweraser said hoteliers should use them as a distribution platform at a "cost of distribution one can afford." He said SnapShot's product is designed to help hoteliers make a "transparent decision based on data and analysis, not the gut."

Data

The  general view was data would continue to become more valuable as the tools to disseminate it improve. "Data leads to information, which leads to knowledge and then greater vision and experience" said Ben-David. "Soon we will create hotels based on their target segment and guests' spending patterns" added Ben-David.

Although, Osmond said "Hoteliers are 'sleep-walking their way to losing data - who owns the data and how hoteliers target the guest using a mobile device guest will be crucial to success"  said Osmond

Tweraser agreed that the management of data and use of technology will be crucial, stating that data wasn't being given the focus by hotel professionals - "in today's market is it strategic advantage or not? - it is not" he said.

Vestdam agreed saying the hotel industry is conservative and old and generally lags the adoption of new technology, which leaves the sector behind on value.

The conversation led onto the difficulties with the transition of becoming more data-enabled, and that legacy businesses are generally slow to adopt to change "Micros Fidelio still rules, but will this change in the future?" asked Tweraser continuing "it is really difficult to get data out of a property management system and the impulse change needs to come from hoteliers - it is their data, if you don't own the data, there's no future for your business!"

Bakker delved deeper asking why one can't build a cloud-based system?

Osmond said there were more cloud-based PMS' being developed and highlighting that change may be imminent, "maybe Siteminder will go to a different part of the stack" he said.

Challenges for hoteliers

Bakker brought the conversation back by asking the question as to what the panelists felt would be the challenges for hoteliers in the future.

Osmond, perhaps unsurprisingly based on the Triptease product offering said, hoteliers should prioritise within their business, and be more aware of the booking.com threat (high volume commissions on booking)

Vestdam felt the continued growth of alternative accommodation on OTA platforms could eat into hotel market share

Ben-David suggested " not outsourcing data is the biggest risk to hoteliers, together with refundable rooms being cancelled."

Hotel complacency?

Perhaps controversially, Bakker inferred the hotel industry was being complacent to some of these threats - "we've seen the CEO panel earlier today - they are all aged over 50 years old - does this add value for investors or not? are there new business models to support hoteliers against the disruption we're seeing" he asked.

Ben-David suggested Apple will get to grips with mobile payments and the mobile phone will become an enabler for lots more hotel services like check in and room lock entry, "young people today ditch their girlfriends and boyfriends before their phone" he said to hoots of laughter. He felt Google's hotel products were "threats with benefits" for hoteliers. Vestdam disagreed, suggesting Google will ultimately dictate consumers' travel research and payments

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