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Big Data to measure the tourism sustainability of destinations

Mabrian expands its travel intelligence platform by adding a dashboard of sustainability indices for Smart Destinations. The new tourism sustainability dashboard uses big data analysis to measure a destination’s performance across multiple metrics. Index developed in collaboration with Mastercard and sus​tainability consultancy Ético.

SEVILLE, SPAIN –  Mabrian Technologies – a leading provider of travel intelligence – has launched the Global Sustainability Tourism Index at the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS).

This new dashboard of indicators of tourism sustainability allows a destination to measure, compare and follow those factors that indicate sustainability for a destination.

In total the dashboard has six indices grouped together by concept, formed by more than 20 different indicators related to sustainability, that come together to make the Global Sustainability Tourism Index for destinations. 

Through these indices destinations can measure aspects such as the level of distribution of tourism income in the local economy, the concentration of the tourism offering in the locality, the dependence on long-haul source markets, any excessive seasonality or the perception that visitors have about the sustainability of the destination, amongst others. 

Additionally, destinations using this can add to those indicators in the dashboard their own data that they consider relevant to create a measurement even more complete that helps the development of sustainability. 

Carlos Cendra, Director of Sales & Marketing, comments: “Can tourism destinations really convert themselves into sustainable destinations without the tools necessary to measure their sustainability performance?   

“In this reinvention of the sector that we are seeing right now, sustainability is going to be the cornerstone of the reactivation of tourism under a model that is more aware of the issue.

But there is a big gap when it comes to tools and indicators that allow the measurement and monitoring of the evolution of those concepts on the part of those managing destinations and tourism companies. With this index we hope to change that.

Mabrian, in collaboration with its partner Mastercard, has developed a dashboard of indicators about tourism sustainability based on the observation of global data, that can be tracked and corroborated in stable manner over time. 

Mabrian has a wide range of experience in extracting indicators of tourism trends based on big data analysis of diverse sources. With this latest development it complements the wide range of tourism indices, including Tourist Product; Perceived Security; Perceived Climate; Hotel Satisfaction; and Global Tourist Perception.

For the definition of these indicators Mabrian has also counted on the advice and collaboration of the consultancy Ético, specialists in tourism sustainability, that has brought its experience in how to define a sustainable destination. 

Laura Garrido, founder of ético comments: “The challenge for tourism destinations is to understand and monitor the indicators that affect their sustainability. Only through data and their correct analysis can they plan adequate actions for the sustainable transformation of their destination. At ético we believe that this tool is key and necessary for taking decisions and the creation of sustainable tourism destinations.”

Mabrian has announced this news within the international summit dedicated to innovation in tourism that is taking place in Seville, Spain between the 10th and 12th of November, the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS).

 Alex Villeyra, Operations Director at Mabrian, presented  the dashboard CET in the main auditorium of the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS), with participants including Antonio Muñoz, responsible for urban habitat, culture and tourism at the Seville city council, a pioneering destination in the application of such indices; Caroline Leboucher, Director of ATOUT France; and Nicola Villa, Executive Vice President of Government Relations & Strategic Growth at Mastercard. 

Source: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/big-data-to-measure-the-tourism-sustainability-of-destinations

Asia tourism reopens with big-spending Chinese stuck at home

Asia’s gradual easing of international travel curbs is proving a welcome relief for the region’s hard-hit tourism operators slowly opening up to visitors from around the world – with one giant exception.

China, previously the world’s largest outbound tourism market, is keeping international air capacity at just 2% of pre-pandemic levels and has yet to relax tight travel restrictions as it sticks to zero tolerance for COVID-19.

That has left a $255 billion annual spending hole in the global tourism market for operators such as Thailand’s Laguna Phuket to try and fill.

Managing director Ravi Chandran says Laguna Phuket’s five resorts have shifted their marketing focus to Europe, the United States and United Arab Emirates to make up for the loss of Chinese visitors, who accounted for 25%-30% of its pre-COVID business.

“Up to today, we have not done significant marketing or promotion in China … because we don’t feel anything coming our way,” Chandran said.

The pandemic has cost Thailand an estimated $50 billion a year in tourism revenue and Chinese were above-average spenders based on tourism ministry data.

Thailand hopes to receive 180,000 foreign tourists this year, a fraction of around 40 million it received in 2019, as it opened places beyond Phuket to tourists on Monday.

Many experts expect China to keep such stringent measures such as up to a three-week quarantine for those returning home until at least the second quarter of next year and possibly then open gradually on a country-by-country basis.

“Destinations have to identify new source markets and learn how to market and cater to different cultures,” Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chief Executive Liz Ortiguera said, citing the Maldives as a rare example of a successful pivot during the pandemic.

The string of islands in the Indian Ocean promoted itself heavily at trade shows and attracted more Russian and Indian visitors to its luxury resorts and sparkling waters.

China had been its greatest source of tourists before the pandemic but the Maldives saw overall arrivals in the first nine months of 2021 fall just 12% versus the same period of 2019.

“When we realised that Chinese travellers weren’t coming to the Maldives any time soon, we switched our focus to other key markets including Russia,” said a spokesperson for COMO Hotels and Resorts, which has two Maldives resorts.

CHINA TOURISM EVOLVES

Travel data firm ForwardKeys estimates it will take until 2025 for Chinese outbound travel to recover to pre-pandemic levels. That will also force airlines to re-evaluate their routes given its data shows 38% of Chinese tourists took foreign carriers in 2019.

Even as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia’s Bali gradually open up for international travellers, Thai Airways (THAI.BK) and Garuda Indonesia (GIAA.JK) are drastically shrinking their fleets as part of restructuring plans amid the absence of Chinese tourists.

When China does open its borders, industry surveys show a reluctance by many to travel internationally due to COVID-19 fears.

There has also been a boom in domestic holidays to Hainan Island which now offers duty free shopping in a threat to future visits to nearby destinations such as Hong Kong and South Korea.

“I honestly do not have much enthusiasm for international travel,” said at Kat Qi, 29, a researcher in Beijing who travelled to Southeast Asia and Britain before the pandemic. “A lot of places that I wanted to visit are in less developed countries with gorgeous natural scenery and they tend to be the least vaccinated countries.”

Her preference for natural scenery is also a trend emerging in surveys of Chinese travellers. Many are focused on the outdoors at a time when domestic camping holidays have become popular and tourism operators will need to adapt accordingly, experts say.

“The market will have changed so the Chinese people travelling in 2022 will be different from the Chinese travelling in 2019,” said Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute. “I think the trends will go away from this shopping and rushing around.”

Large group tours that have also fallen out of favour on domestic trips could also be a thing of the past, to be replaced by independent travel and smaller customised tours with family and friends, said Sienna Parulis-Cook, director of marketing and communications at advisory firm Dragon Tail International.

“You might have organised travel and everything but it would be with a small group of people that you know, rather than 50 strangers on a tour bus,” she said.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/asia-tourism-reopens-with-big-spending-chinese-stuck-home-2021-11-03/

Robotics operation in travel and tourism industry set to grow, says GlobalData

The utilization of robotics will continue to grow in importance in the travel and tourism industry. However, companies need to be sensitive in how they deploy this form of smart technology, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to a recent GlobalData poll*, 31% of the respondents stated that their company will invest in robotics in the next 12 months, with robotics being the third most popular answer for this question, above the likes of IoT and cloud. A significant contributing reason as to why business executives and employees think that investment in robotics will increase is due to the long-term cost savings this technology can provide along with its ability to meet the sudden changes in consumer demands.

Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Prior to the pandemic, the utilization of robotics in tourism was mainly seen as a gimmick. Robot butlers in hotels would provide good Instagram opportunities for guests, creating exposure for the accommodation provider, and customer service robots at airports would entertain guests to reduce feelings of boredom. These same robots are now a necessity for the likes of hotels and airports due to the need for COVID-safe experiences.”

According to GlobalData**, 74% of global consumers are is still either ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ concerned regarding the impact of COVID-19. These robots reduce the need for human contact, which increases safety for travelers across multiple stages during their trip.

It is also no secret that COVID-19 has battered the finances of many companies involved in travel and tourism. Although the initial cost of investing in robotics to replace human jobs will be high, many companies will recover what they have invested in just a short number of years. Subsequently, companies will then continue to shrink fixed costs and increase profit margins.

Mr. Hollister concludes: “Investing too heavily in robotics to replace human jobs could tarnish brand image. Travel and tourism employment has fallen substantially across the globe due to the pandemic, and many consumers will feel that it is a company’s social responsibility to employ people in need of work as travel recovers, especially if they have appropriate skill sets. Filling vacancies with robots could be deemed as insensitive in the current climate, especially in destinations that heavily rely on tourism as a key contributor to the local economy.

“Through increasing operational efficiency and improving traveler confidence, robotics in tourism will continue to grow. However, companies need to ensure that they are not seen to be shunning their social commitments. It must be emphasized that the robots are deployed to work alongside humans, not instead of them.”

Source: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/robotics-operation-in-travel-and-tourism-industry-set-to-grow-says-globaldata

Garth, a luxury neo-Bistro opens this week at Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates

Located inside a new private members club, The 9 Lounge, at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, the premium culinary hub has opened its doors to those with a penchant for refined, delicious medleys of Italian, Greek, and Southern French cuisines. Guests that are not members of The 9 Lounge are encouraged to make reservations in advance and abide by the formal dress code, suited to the elevated ambiance of the locale.

The space comprises of a beautiful verdant terrace, a cigar lounge, and a restaurant, where guests can indulge in the finest mix of seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes. Whilst diners can enjoy a host of raw fish and seafood plates courtesy of a specialty raw bar, the menu also includes an array of meat, vegetarian and vegan options that are guaranteed to gratify even the most selective appetites.

Guests are promised satisfaction as they acquaint their palates with the gastronomical innovations, born from the proficiently sourced quality ingredients at Garth. The food and menus are expertly designed by celebrity chefs Sergei Andreychenko and Mohammed Musthafa. A team of professional mixologists and sommeliers assist guests in selecting from a carte of Old World and New World wines, cocktails, and premium spirits.

The mouthwatering menus include dishes such as Zucchini Carpaccio, Beef Cheeks Paccheri, Poached Sea Bass, Truffle Risotto, Niçoise Salad, Beef Tartare, Burrata Grande and many more.

At the raw bar, guests can opt for the Salmon or Tuna Tartare, Sea Bass Ceviche, or indulge in an assorted tartare platter featuring three varieties of the dish. The desserts menu is home to rich classics such as Basque Burnt Cheesecake, Tiramisu, Almond Crumble with Berries, Dark Chocolate Mousse, and hand-crafted Ice Creams and Sorbets.

Garth features a new lunch menu each week, featuring daily specials, to keep it fresh and interesting for afternoon guests, from 12pm till 3pm. Although the culinary adventure is the primary focus of the experience, the menus will maintain the sophisticated taste and plating associated with the brand.

Open daily, from 12pm till 12am on weekdays and from 12pm till 2am on weekends, the lounge creates a relaxed atmosphere with unique sound design, featuring a distinct combination of genres. Produced skillfully by an ensemble of instrumentalists from Moscow, the music will include streams of new wave funk, soul, jazz, chill rave, and afro beats genres. Breezy terrace evenings can be enjoyed with a soundtrack of electronic chill rave beats, whilst soulful piano music will grace special dinners at the restaurant.

The layered interiors feature neutral tones of cream, beige and brown, complemented by blush pink furniture. Plush pampas grass lines the windows and the bar canopy, accented by bright neon lighting that lends an effortless luminous glow to the space. A promising venue that is bound to be the next hotspot in Dubai, Garth takes guests on a journey that goes beyond the plate, offering an ideal space to socialize and indulge in finer experiences.

Source: https://www.hotelnewsme.com/hotel-news-me/garth-a-luxury-neo-bistro-opens-this-week-at-kempinski-hotel-mall-of-the-emirates/

New American Express Meetings & Events Research Explores the Evolving Landscape of Technology in Meetings

Technology influences every aspect of global commerce, and new research released today by American Express Meetings & Events explores the many ways emerging technologies are changing the meetings industry landscape, as well as how that innovation can be harnessed to increase engagement and productivity and generate a greater return on a meetings investment. The American Express Meetings & Events report, titled “GREAT EXPECTATIONS: The Evolving Landscape of Technology in Meetings”, reveals the similarities and gaps in attendee and planner expectations across three areas of technological advancement: virtual and hybrid meetings, social media and events apps.

“Over the past decade, smartphones and wireless data have revolutionized the meeting and events experience for both planners and attendees, enabling the possibility of anywhere, anytime participation via virtual technologies and the integration of apps into meeting programs,” said Issa Jouaneh, Vice President and General Manager, American Express Meetings & Events. “These technologies provide planners with greater opportunities to increase engagement and generate and capture real-time feedback, while attendees can gain a richer and more connected experience throughout the event life cycle.

“What our research has found, however, is that there can be an ‘expectation gap’ between the technologies meeting planners believe should be incorporated into an event, and the solutions attendees expect to be part of their meeting experience. What they have in common is that as good as technology is, there is simply no substitute for in-person meetings.”

Meeting Apps Considered Essential for Scheduling

Meeting apps have increased in popularity at large industry conferences and events as they provide the ability to deliver real-time information to attendees right at their fingertips. According to the research, 67 percent of meeting planners found event apps to be important, compared to 55 percent of attendees. Communication and scheduling ranked among the most important features within a meeting app for both planners and attendees, and the ability to participate in games and contests was least important to both groups. Both attendees and planners cited having access to event schedules and session descriptions as key, and attendees explained that they often use meeting apps to schedule meetings with exhibitors and other attendees while on site.

Social Media Valued Higher by Planners than Attendees

The use of social media in the meeting and events space has grown exponentially in recent years, with meeting planners and attendees using social tools to communicate, obtain information and share feedback in real time. The study revealed that social media is more vital to meeting planners than to attendees, however, with 43 percent of planners feeling social media capabilities are very important, while only 35 percent of attendees felt the same way. And while creating social media buzz has become a significant part of the overall marketing strategy of meetings and events, having a meetings hashtag is more important to planners than to attendees with 41% of planners indicating it is extremely or very important.

Similarly, only 39 percent of attendees felt that posting and reading commentary or reviews about a meeting or event is very important, while 50 percent of planners felt that way. Participating in games and contests via social media ranked low among both groups, with 54 percent of attendees and 41 percent of planners indicating that this feature was not important.

Interest in Virtual Meetings Rises, but In-Person Meetings are Still Preferred

The surveyed attendees and planners cited a wide variety of reasons as to why they attend virtual meetings and events, but both strongly agreed that in-person attendance continues to provide the best overall experience. Of those surveyed, 74 percent of attendees and 85 percent of planners believe that in-person meetings offer greater value because they enable more opportunities for social interaction. While the number of virtual meetings offered and attended continues to grow, meeting organizers and technology providers still need to work on the overall experience, as 47 percent of attendees and 49 percent of planners agree that it’s difficult to participate when attending virtually and 68 percent of planners feel that attendees are too easily distracted when they attend virtually.

That being said, the study showed that attendees are nonetheless looking for more opportunities to attend meetings and events virtually: 63 percent of attendees agreed they would attend more meetings and events virtually if the option were available, while only 17 percent disagreed. However, planners don’t seem to realize that this appetite exists: 48 percent of the planners surveyed did not agree that attendees would attend more meetings and events virtually if the option were available. Moreover, 45 percent of attendees believed virtual attendance should be available for all meetings and events, while only 35 percent of planners agreed. Interactive features such as surveys, real-time Q&A and other techniques used in meetings can help keep virtual attendees engaged, making the time and cost invested worthwhile.

Source: http://www.htrends.com/

Thailand’s ex-PM develops food robot to test Thai food

A machine that can scientifically evaluate the make-up of Thai food has been developed with the help of the country’s ex-prime minister.

Fed up with poor Thai food when visiting other countries, Yingluck Shinawatra came up with the idea of a machine to rate food samples against authentically-prepared dishes.

The food robot was due to be unveiled in Bangkok on Tuesday.

It is part of a growing trend to use computers to analyse food.

The machine, dubbed e-delicious, has ten sensors which create a chemical signature for food, which is then measured against a gold standard recipe, as approved by 120 taste testers.

According to the website, the machine is composed of three parts:

“An electronic nose for measurement of smell by an array of 16 gas sensors, an electronic tongue that allows us to measure sourness, sweetness, saltiness, spiciness, and a central processing unit that gathers data and interprets the result.”

Each test takes no more than 30 minutes.

The food is analysed on a range of criteria.

Thai food is one of the world’s most popular cuisines but, according to the website, “the flavours of Thai food in many restaurants and in hotels abroad are deviating from the authentic ones.”

The government, which was ousted by a military coup in May, was so concerned about the idea of inferior Thai food that it set up the Thai Delicious committee and gave it $100,000 (£61,000) to build the machine.

Each recipe has had its chemical make-up recorded in a database to compare with other versions.

Food samples are inserted into the box to be analysed and are rated out of 100.

In the case of a Thai green curry, the dish will be tested to ensure it has the right mix of basil, curry paste and coconut cream.

The team from the Thai Delicious committee has also created an app with authentic recipes for chefs to use.

Improving Digital Customer Experience is Key to Increasing Traveler Loyalty in Hotels

The report examines the needs and expectations of travelers, the types of digital offerings from hotels that are most compelling to them, and documents the importance of mobile features to make travelers’ stays more convenient and informed. Respondents indicated that, in return, the hotels might gain their loyalty.

In today’s world, consumers are always connected – even, and perhaps especially, when traveling. As such, a travel company’s digital offerings are more important than ever. In fact, 70 percent of travelers indicated that a hotel’s website, app and other digital tools impact their decision to book a stay, with those who feel most strongly about this also being twice as likely to consider customer service/experience as their top priority when booking. Moreover, once the guests have arrived, 74 percent of travelers want substantial digital involvement from the hotels, in order to make their visits better. And 80 percent of travelers find it important that a hotel allows them to set personal preferences that can be updated and saved for future use , happily exchanging personal information for a more customized and streamlined experience.

“With competition as fierce as ever, hotels looking to stand out to today’s travelers need to meet their rising expectations for great digital experiences,” said John Caruso, creative director, partner at Magnani Caruso Dutton. “In particular, there is a huge opportunity for hotels to make better use of the device that is always with the traveler: the smartphone. Using mobile to increase personalization and convenience will create a better experience for guests, and factor into their next decision of where to stay.”

Desired Smartphone Capabilities

Travelers were asked which specific mobile capabilities they would be most likely to use if offered by a hotel. Indicative of a desire for timesaving and convenience, the top-five features were:

– To easily see offered amenities and hours (80 percent of travelers would be likely to use)

– To engage with maps of the areas they visit (78 percent of travelers would be likely to use)

– For automated check-in to bypass the front desk (73 percent of travelers would be likely to use)

– To request a late check-out (73 percent of travelers would be likely to use)

– To see concierge tips about the places they visit (68 percent of travelers would be likely to use)

For Business Travelers, Experience Is a Top Priority

Business travelers present particularly powerful opportunities for hotels to earn their return visits and increase customer lifetime value by giving them the digital experiences they want. This segment tends to stay with the same hotel brand again and again, more so than family and leisure travelers. When asked how frequently they tend to stay at 30 major U.S. hotel brands, business travelers selected “often” or “always” 2x more than family travelers and 3x more than leisure travelers. In addition, business travelers ranked past positive experience higher than participation in their preferred rewards program as an influencing factor when choosing a hotel.  This, along with their ability to de-prioritize price, points to the opportunity to increase customer lifetime value.

Methodology

This study was fielded online from October 28 to November 5, 2013 and includes responses from 1,000 U.S. consumers evenly segmented as business travelers, leisure travelers and family travelers. Traveler type was assigned based on travel behaviors and patterns, and travel was defined as including a hotel stay. Respondents were 18 years or older, own ed a smartphone, and were diversified in age, gender, household income, and level of education.

Source: http://www.htrends.com/

Photography, Mobile Technology and Social Media Combine to Increase Brand Awareness, Generate Revenues

Knee-deep in budget season for 2015, hoteliers and meeting planners alike are looking for that special “something” to add differentiation and personalization to their venue offerings and event packages that will result in a quick return on investment and increased loyalty. RoamingAround, hospitality’s mobile engagement experts, has developed a unique solution that combines mobile technology, photography and social media to engage hotel guests and event patrons on a personal level. Mobile Photo Share by RoamingAround delivers event pictures wrapped by a custom-designed picture frame to attendees’ cellphones via SMS to showcase branding and jump-start customer engagement. With one click, digital photos — which can highlight the hotel, an association, corporation or the event itself — can then be shared via social media, taking the event branding viral.

“One of the best ways to heighten customer engagement is to get hotel guests or event goers actively involved in marketing your hotel or special occasion,” said Michael Garvin, RoamingAround President. “Mobile Photo Share by RoamingAround is a fast and fun way to put social media to work for you by promoting a property or event through the sharing of digitally-branded pictures. But the ‘picture-taking’ is just the first step in the customer-engagement process. Once armed with each guest’s mobile credentials, Mobile Photo Share can be used to deliver surveys, send single incentives and multi-redemption mobile offers, and even capture digitally signed photo release waivers in real-time. It can also drive traffic to onsite outlets. For example, a text message can be sent offering a bottle of wine ‘on the house’ when one is purchased from the hotel’s wine shop; or, a coupon for a complementary spa treatment can be offered if the guest participates in a quick mobile survey. Mobile Photo Share software provides analytics to determine campaign effectiveness and tracks event exposure by recording the number of photos shared.”

Photography, Mobile Technology and Social Media Combine to Increase Brand Awareness, Generate Revenues

Mobile Photo Share by RoamingAround enables hoteliers and event planner to:

  • Build a presence and promote their brand by marketing the company, its products and services
  • Use imagery to take a social media campaign viral
  • Connect with customers on a new, personal level
  • Capture information and opt-ins for engaging with customers continuously to cultivate loyalty
  • Generate revenue and drive traffic to in-house outlets (retail, spa, food, shows, casino) by offering coupons and offers through the MPS platform
  • Get involved in Cause Marketing

“Cause marketing is a great way to incentivize attendees to share their photos on social media to raise money for a specific organization’s cause,” said Sarah Smith, RoamingAround Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Event planners can offer a ‘Money Raised’ thermometer viewable for all to see the total donation dollars increasing on a live streaming monitor as they share their photo.”

Distinguish Events by Distinguishing Guests

When event planners engage their guests with Mobile Photo Share, they are creating fun, interactive and memorable occasions that drive customer loyalty and strengthen the brand. From corporate events, holiday parties, tradeshows and conventions to weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, sporting events and political campaigns, Mobile Photo Share by RoamingAround is the ideal tool to collect guest data and directly market to a qualified audience.

Photography, Mobile Technology and Social Media Combine to Increase Brand Awareness, Generate Revenues

“RoamingAround’s professional photographers or ‘Brand Ambassadors’ will take celebrity-style photos that will make attendees feel like they are gracing the Red Carpet,” Smith said. “Our team is trained to create an enchanting atmosphere by making event attendees feel like they are being honored and celebrated. On the back end, our in-house graphic designers will create custom photo frames that captures the distinctive essence of each event and its individualized brand. Attendees pose, preen and smile for our photographers, and then receive their photos in a flash on their mobile devices. Then those images can be shared on a variety of social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter, or via live social feeds, such as trending #hashtags or following @brands. This takes the event and its branding to an entire new audience which can turn into potential new customers.”

Source: http://www.hospitalitynet.org/

The Newest of the New Generation Hotels: Hetras Helps Travel24 Rewrite the Rules

For the first time, an online travel agency launches its own chain

Travel24 Interior

Hetras, the technology provider for new generation hotels, and Travel24, an established German online travel agency, have announced a long-term partnership to support the launch of Travel24’s new hotel brand.

The first property, a 170-room hotel in a reconstructed historic Leipzig building, is set to open in 2015. Travel24 plans to open 24 additional hotels over the next five to seven years. Like most new generation hotels, the Travel24 properties will offer eye-catching style, convenient locations and quality amenities at attractive prices. But Travel24 will add its own twists. Guests receive a 2D bar code with their reservation. This bar code, with which guests are already familiar through air and train travel, serve as an identification upon check-in and check-out and can be used to operate the hotel kiosks as well. hetras is largely responsible for the design, development and integration of the technology.

The real novelty of the concept, however, is the fact that Travel24 is already well known as an online travel agency. The combination of an OTA with a hotel chain creates unprecedented possibilities.

“As an online travel agency, it is imperative that we maintain a neutral position towards all of our hotel partners, including our own,” explained Armin Schauer, CEO of Travel24 (pictured right). “The difference is not on the OTA side but on the hotel side. Our hotels do not need to differentiate between the direct and indirect channel. After all, each channel is essentially commission-free.”

“Travel24 is indeed stretching the definition of new generation, yet this is nothing new for us,” added Tanja Baier, senior account manager at hetras. “Virtually all of our customers have pioneered new technologies and we are always excited to be at the forefront of change.”

“Our choice for hetras was simple,” continued Schauer, a former executive at Accor. “We looked for vendors with positive references and experience in, among other areas, kiosks, OTA integration and digital signature technology. Only hetras could check off all the boxes. It’s no surprise that hetras is the standard for new generation chains.”

Source: http://www.hospitalitynet.org/

The World’s Most Hi-Tech Hotels

As consumer demands advance alongside technology, these hotels are responding with iPads, concierge robots and Google Glass

The Yotel, New York

By Victoria Monk

8:00AM BST 25 Sep 2014

Comments1 Comment

A robot concierge waiting politely to take your luggage, personalised mood-lighting at the swipe of an iPad and virtual postcards. This is just a taster of what’s on offer at the world’s most hi-tech hotels.

Novotel München Messe, Munich

Here, guests are not only welcomed by a real concierge, but also a virtual one. There are impressively large touch screens distributed around the hotel, offering accessible information on local attractions, weather and flight information. Guests can even send a virtual postcard at the tap of a button.

Yotel, New York

Self-service kiosks greet guests at this New York Hotel. In the mean time an automated robot, known to the staff as amicable YOBOT, will help you with your luggage and stow away your valuables in a safe deposit. Bedrooms come equipped with techno walls that have the ability to stream audio, super strength Wi-Fi and air conditioning is activated by motion sensors.

Eccleston Square, London

While the exterior of Eccleston Square emanates history, technology is at the heart of this hotel and is reflected in the extensive list of techno-amenities. Rooms are equipped with touch sensitive keypads to control music and lighting, an in-room iPad which doubles as your personal concierge, shower walls that turn from clear to frosted at the touch of a button and flat screen televisions concealed within bathroom mirrors.

W Taipei, Taipei

W Taipei is located in the hub of cosmopolitan life, right in the centre of the vibrant Xinyi district. It boasts state-of-the-art technology with large LCD flat screen televisions, modern sound systems as well as some of the suites offering video projectors.

Blow Up Hall 5050, Poznan

An enormous digital art installation captures guests entering this hotel and then projects the image back in a series of stylised surveillance shots. Instead of room keys guests are handed iPhones upon check-in that use digital recognition to navigate users to the correct room and unlock the door.

Prizeotel, Hamburg

Each of the rooms in this Hamburg hotel has a hi-tech music lamp that allows guests to listen to music via Bluetooth, recharge mobile phones or make phone calls as well as a flat screen television. Business travellers may also benefit from the Work&Surf Station and the digital newspaper kiosk.

Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine, Spain

This hotel, 120 miles north of Madrid, is the first hotel in Europe to offer Google Glass – free – to guests. Annie Bennett who visited Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine earlier this year, was surprised at how easily she could take photos and make videos.

If you haven’t come across it yet, Google Glass is a spectacles frame without lenses but with a clear plastic, rectangular prism mounted on the right-hand side. This prism forms a virtual screen on which you can access the internet, just like on a smartphone or tablet, only with a roll of your eye rather than the stroke of a fingertip.

Hotel 1000, Seattle

Built-in infrared detectors alert housekeeping staff as to when a room is occupied, thus avoiding any unwanted post-shower encounters. Hotel 1000 also has a fully converged IP infrastructure that allows guests to choose their own room temperature, artwork and music.

The Peninsula Hotel, Tokyo

No hi-tech hotels list would be complete without a representative from Japan. Guests at The Peninsula have access to an electronics service department if they run into difficulties with gadgets that include a nail polish dryer, unlimited internet radio with over 3,000 stations, a mood lighting pad and wireless phones with Skype capability. Also, the hotel is currently offering children who stay a digitally-interactive Pokemon treasure hunt, brought to life by augmented reality.

Citizen M, Amsterdam

Check-in is also automated here at Citizen M, with everything done through a self-serve computer. Each of the rooms comes equipped with its own ‘Mood Pad’ allowing guests to navigate the lighting, temperature, curtains and television to create the perfect ambiance.

Read the Citizen M hotel review here

Mama Shelter, Paris

As well as being very chic, each of the rooms in this hotel is fitted with an iMac entertainment system. This allows guests to watch television, free movies on demand, listen to the radio, connect to the internet and use Airplay and Skype.

A recent HRS ‘Hotel of the Future’ survey revealed that smartphones, tablets and corresponding apps are becoming increasingly important when planning a holiday.

The findings showed that 42 per cent of guests from the UK would rather operate their hotel room’s lighting, air conditioning and television via a display instead of using a separate remote control or switch.

Jon West, managing director for HRS UK and Ireland, said: “As the fast-paced high-tech world finds its way into hotels with tablets instead of guest folders, smartphones instead of room keys, and apps instead of remote controls, the findings show that the hotel industry quickly needs to adapt to the new user behaviour of many of their guests or risk falling behind.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/