World Panel
Special Series 8 October 2020

Special Series:Visioning a Post-COVID Era in Guest-Facing Tech

Visioning a post-COVID Era

— 10 suppliers shared their view

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Visioning a Post-COVID Era in Guest-Facing Tech

In this viewpoint, we asked 9 leading guest-facing tech providers to share their views and thoughts on how guest-facing tech will change in the post-COVID era.

Gary Patrick
CEO at Hotel Internet Services — website

Since its onset, the global health pandemic has undoubtedly represented an upheaval of the hospitality market with virtually all industry professionals recognizing a need to reevaluate their offerings to conform to new guest needs, behaviors and expectations. With many guests seeking to self-isolate within guestrooms and social distance for the foreseeable future even once the threat of COVID-19 has begun to pass, hotels will increasingly find that the updating of in-room amenities and services will play a crucial role in ensuring an enjoyable stay experience while further reducing health concerns. Such efforts will revolve around the need to adopt guestroom-based technologies that can simultaneously cater towards personalized entertainment preferences while providing a safer means of requesting hotel information or services, along with the ability to interact with in-room amenities in a way that eliminates the need to risk contact with shared surfaces. From content casting to ordering room service and controlling in-room thermostats via voice activation, properties now have a range of solutions available at their disposal to ensure that guests can experience a hotel environment that addresses their latest demands and that maximizes the ability enhance revenue.     

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Moritz von Petersdorff-Campen
Founder and Managing Director, SuitePad GmbH — website

The pandemic has shown just how important guest-facing tech will be for the hotel room of the future. But, with so many options on the market, it can be confusing for hoteliers to know which is the best solution for them. In this article, we'll explain why guest-room tablets will breakthrough as the optimal platform of choice, leaving hotel apps in the dust! You'll learn about how the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of hotel apps, and why guest-room tablets really are the only viable long-term solution for any hotelier that wants to bring their hotel rooms into the 21st century. 

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Steve Burk
Marketing Director, SALTO Systems — website

It goes without saying but bears repeating, things will never be the same again. As the industry welcomes travelers back, I believe the entire guest experience must be reimagined and reengineered to emphasize and safeguard the health and safety of guests. The way we, as an industry, choose to reopen will not only physically reshape our properties and transform the guest experience but will redefine the future of travel itself. Hospitality industry technologies were already transforming hotel and resort operations before the pandemic but are now becoming critical components to the industry's recovery. SALTO has continued to innovate and support our hospitality partners throughout this crisis with access control products and technology that offer antimicrobial surfaces, automated self-service check-in, contactless mobile keys, and the ability to perform digital contact tracing in the case of an outbreak. 

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Robert Stevenson
CEO of INTELITY — website

As a member of our executive team put it when COVID descended upon the world and demand for the INTELITY platform rose significantly, “I always knew mobile technology would become really essential for hotels. I just didn't think it would be a game-changing virus that would make it happen.” And it's true: really robust guest-facing technology has long been regarded as a core part of the future of hospitality—but one that hotels could put off investing in for the next few years. With COVID around for at least the near future, the world has changed and that's no longer the case. But what really sets its long-term future apart from other COVID must-haves?

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Roy Friedman
Founder and CEO of EasyWay — website

With the hospitality industry still struggling to find some semblance of normalcy in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, innovators across the board are turning to contactless technology that allows hotel staff to deliver the same quality of care and service to guests while still safely minimizing in-person exchanges. Hotels that cannot rise to the occasion of incorporating this new way of personalizing guest experiences are risking extinction.

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Markus Boberg
Global President Hospitality at ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions — website

As hotels begin to resume business within markets throughout the world, it is up to the hospitality industry to create and provide solutions that can meet guest needs and concerns during the era of the New Normal. In order to do so successfully, hoteliers must first understand how guest expectations are changing post-COVID-19, and how contactless technology can be used to side-step potential health risks while preventing any lapse in service quality by enhancing convenience and satisfaction. As we work towards regaining guest trust, it's just as important to provide employees with technologies that allow them to likewise minimize the potential to come into contact or spread germs while still equipping them with the ability to ensure a physically secure, operationally efficient, and seamless hotel environment.

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Don DeMarinis
Senior Vice President Sales, Americas — website

Choice is empowering, provides convenience, and creates opportunity.  It is hard to find the right words to describe how difficult these times are for hotel operators. The challenges are unprecedented and some of the solutions require precious resources that are hard to come by. From a technology standpoint, the investments needed to enable guest choices, are transformative in the industry, and in a very good way.

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Eugene Jones
CEO at RoomOrders, Inc. — website

You will have to forgive me for being a bit dark. COVID-19 is jangling my nerves and work, the pursuit of excellence and client satisfaction are not high up on my priority list right now, compared to more existential things like life, and survival. I run a start-up called RoomOrders, and I shouldn't be so despondent. We enable contactless ordering and payment of goods and services, considerably reducing risks of viruses and bacteria. What I'm trying to say is, we actually help hospitality venues like hotels, resorts and restaurants survive, and prosper - even in desperate times like corona. Ironically, our tagline is "... bringing your business into the Low Touch Economy." What is this global catastrophe if not a crash-course in going digital, contactless, frictionless, touchless? And business has spiked. We're getting more calls than ever. But, to be honest, my enthusiasm has been sapped recently. So has my energy. What good is it to be a product that helps restore guest confidence, when there are hardly any guests or none at all? What good is it to be a raincoat for somebody caught in a hurricane?

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Pierre Agrario
Vice President of Account Management and Business Development at Bartech International — website

The entire hotel experience is currently in a state of transformation due to the spread of COVID-19, and hoteliers are in a position to leverage technology to transform the guest room into a profit center. By making PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) along with a wide range of other products available for purchase in the guest room, hotels have an opportunity to fulfill guests' needs at a distance while creating a new profit center in an environment where revenue-generating sectors appear to be disappearing by the day.

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Alex Shashou
President & co-founder of ALICE — website

COVID-19 has created the need for contactless hospitality, which connects guests and hotel staff, while reducing contact and face to face interactions, and often leveraging technology. But the real revolution that we're realizing as an industry is that any technology that is guest-facing needs to have an effective staff interface as well. As guests make requests with guest-facing technology, staff facing technology must be utilized so that the request can be completed properly and efficiently. 

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