Industry Update
Opinion Article 2 November 2018

3 Countries, 8 Events, Countless Conversations – Dispatch from Asia

Two weeks at hotel-industry events in India, Singapore and Hong Kong reveal key themes for what’s ahead

By Klaus Kohlmayr, Chief Evangelist at IDeaS Revenue Solutions

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The Asia-Pacific region has always had a special place in my heart. Before moving to IDeaS HQ in the US in 2010, I spent a number of years based in Singapore, first helping IHG grow their footprint in the region and then educating hoteliers across Asia Pacific about revenue management by launching and growing IDeaS' then new consulting services arm (now called IDeaS Advisory Services).

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Over the years I have seen the Asia-Pacific hotel industry grow and mature. During a two-week trip to India, Singapore and Hong Kong, attending or speaking at eight different industry events, I was keen to have in-depth conversations with hoteliers, innovators, startups, and investors to understand the latest developments and needs of the industry across this vast region.

Totally focused on Total Revenue Management

For many hotels in Asia Pacific, 50 percent or more of revenues are generated from non-room revenues, including meeting rooms, conference, spa and others. Many hotel companies and brands feel their capabilities for rooms revenue management is sufficiently advanced, but it is now time to focus on the other revenue generating areas. Total Revenue Management has been talked about for a long time, and some companies have started to tackle it either through regional efforts or through creating dedicated global teams focused on optimizing the totality of a hotel's revenue potential.

Accessibility to clean data is still a challenge as hotels struggle to consolidate information from a variety of sources; however, with new technology comes better and more efficient access to data, better insights and increased ability to make revenue enhancing decisions. In roundtables in Mumbai, Pune and Singapore, with experts from hotel companies, consultants and technology partners, all parties confirmed that now is the time to focus on Total Revenue Management, with some allocating significant efforts toward it.

The evolving tech stack & the rise of the machines

At the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), Asia Pacific's largest gathering of hospitality movers and shakers, Microsoft distinguished engineer and technical evangelist James Whittaker kicked off the annual proceedings with a dire prediction: it is inevitable that "the machines" will outsmart and outperform humans in the not too distant future. And the reason is that "everything is data" which can be digitized, analyzed and optimized. As the world is transformed into a sea of data, we will generate 163 zettabytes of structured data by the year 2025, equivalent to 40 trillion DVDs. An increasing amount is generated by devices talking to each other through the Internet of Things (IoT), with the data stored in the cloud.

In a panel conversation I led with participants from Oracle, Sabre and German BI company Snapshot, we discussed the implications of this transformation. This includes cloud-based platforms, increasingly efficient ways to access data, unparalleled insights into consumer behavior and more and more engaging ways to interact and connect with customers along the entire buyer's journey, and across all revenue streams.

In a world where it is more efficient to order food from an app-based delivery company (Deliveroo, Foodpanda, BiteSquad and others) than from hotel room service and fully automated restaurants, hoteliers of the future will need to be mindful that disruption is increasingly coming from tech-minded entrepreneurs outside the traditional hotel space. It is no question that the rise of the machine will alter our lives, in many cases making it better than ever before. However, in order to stay relevant, the hotel industry needs to start reinventing itself, become data savvy, embrace technology and be ready for the age of the machines.

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Klaus Kohlmayr

As IDeaS Chief Evangelist, Klaus Kohlmayr challenges strategic processes, stimulates thought-provoking conversations and reinvigorates the future of revenue management and pricing within the hospitality and travel industries. A natural contrarian, Klaus has challenged the status quo in the hotel industry for over 20 years.

    More from Klaus Kohlmayr

    About IDeaS

    IDeaS, a SAS company, is the world's leading provider of revenue management software and services. With over 30 years of expertise, IDeaS delivers revenue science to more than 11,000 clients in 129 countries. Combining industry knowledge with innovative, data-analytics technology, IDeaS creates sophisticated yet simple ways to empower revenue leaders with precise, automated decisions they can trust. Results delivered. Revenue transformed. Discover greater profitability at ideas.com.

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