Hotel industry thought leaders convening at I Meet Hotel Amsterdam on 6 March said that while the full impact of coronavirus on the hotel and tourism sector was uncertain, six underlying driving forces would continue to transform the future of hospitality and tourism.
Tourism needs to contribute to the quality of life of residents. In high-demand destinations there needs to be a movement towards slower, sustainable inclusive growth based on respect for inhabitants. Geerte Udo, CEO of amsterdam&partners and founder of the iamsterdam campaign, told the audience of over 100 hospitality professionals that the soul of a city was a dynamic interplay between residents, visitors and companies. However, the quality of life for inhabitants should be the number one priority. "No resident wants to wake up to tourists puking on their doorstep."
Instead of trying to do it all themselves, hoteliers should work with expert partners who have expertise. "Partners are plentiful and they are less risky than doing it yourself," said James Lemon, CEO of The Growth Works. He told the audience that smaller more dynamic companies can help big ones address three priorities: short-term commercial needs (important as Covid-19 suppresses demand); sustainability through creative approaches to recycling, reducing and reusing; and helping distribution -- by recommending direct and indirect channels to plug demand gaps such as midweek leisure bookings. "It is a time of unparalleled opportunities," he said.
Embrace the Membership Economy
Michael Ros, the CEO and co-founder of Bidroom online travel community said that the number of memberships and subscriptions that people have is growing. (In Holland it is 10 per person in 2020, compared to five in 2018). Using the Spotify, Netflix and Bidroom model, the new membership economy puts the emphasis on access, not ownership, small recurring payments, not bigger one-offs, relationships, not transactions, cross-marketing and partnerships, and not trying to do it all yourself.
Talk to the heart, not the head, said Matthijs Kooijman, Commercial Director at Attached language intelligence. If hotels want to really connect with target markets, they need to look at language translation and localisation of content. It should be seen as an investment, not a cost. Competent translation by native speakers leads to better conversion rates, word of mouth advertising, positive reviews, and social media amplification. If you talk in a language the recipient understands, it goes to their head. But talk to them in their own language, it goes to their heart. In travel and much else, the heart rules the head.
Now Not Later
Hotels and their distributors need to be able to make booking confirmations immediate for consumers, said Bas Lemmens, President of Hotelplanner.com. He told I Meet Hotel attendees that consumers prefer hotel booking sites with a large variety of hotels, a one-stop shop. Hoteliers shouldn't try to build software. It's not their competence. "Licence it!" he said.
Greens Shouldn't Be Grumpy
Sustainability is a competitive advantage, but it suffers a branding problem. "It shouldn't be about being green and grumpy. It should be green and positive," said Martine Kveim, co-founder of CHOOSE, a platform for consumers to reduce air pollution in travel. A panel of sustainable tourism practitioners at the event said the next big things in sustainability would be less meat, a commitment to reduced food waste, and a move to wipe out single-use plastics. There will be more sophisticated tools to measure carbon emissions inherent in clothes, food, construction - everything to do with hospitality. The end result will ultimately be that we move from carbon neutrality to climate positivity in tourism - where your holiday carbon emissions are more than offset by green verification programmes.
The next round of insights into the future of hospitality will take place at I Meet Hotel in Paris (15 Sept), Milan (29 Oct), and SHMS Switzerland (28 Nov).
Further information at https://www.imeethotel.com.
ABOUT I MEET HOTEL
I Meet Hotel is the first global industry event connecting hoteliers to the future of hospitality. Together, we will give our audience the keys to higher revenue and a customer loyalty approach with insightful conferences. We put emphasis on the networking session which enables all the participants to get to know each other, talk, exchange experiences and develop new business and personal relations. It is the perfect occasion to inspire and be inspired. I Meet Hotel events have recently taken place in Krakow, Istanbul, and Amsterdam. Upcoming ones in 2020 are in Paris (15 Sept), Milan (29 Oct), and SHMS Switzerland (28 Nov).
Bidroom is the world's first membership-based hotel booking platform. It has offices in Amsterdam, Krakow, Istanbul, and Paris and is on track to have over 140 employees by the end of 2020. Bidroom's fair-minded and transparent view on booking hotels and its unique, self-developed technology has gained praise in the hospitality industry worldwide since its introduction in 2014.
Since then, the company has earned many awards and accolades: Best "Grown Startup" from Hospitality Technology Forum 2019; Top Foreign Travel Startup 2018 at the Uzakrota Travel Awards; Tourism Trends Award 2018 - "IT for travel"; Startup Of The Year 2018 by travmagazine; Startup Innovation 2017 from World Tourism Forum Lucerne; Best Travel Startup of the Year 2017 from Uzakrota Travel Awards; Best Start-up in the Grown Startup category at the Hospitality Technology Forum 2019 in Zurich. Wired included Bidroom in its Hottest Startups in Amsterdam list in 2019; Forbes included it in its Eight Entrepreneurs And Their Startups That Are Shaping Travel Tech (2019)
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