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International Hotel Technology Forum 2024 Special

Updated: May 30

At the International Hotel Technology Forum (IHTF) 2024 in Barcelona, industry leaders converged to explore the latest trends shaping the future of hospitality technology. The event provided a platform for industry professionals to share experiences and strategies for navigating the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry.



Travel Market Life hosted live discussions featuring insights from hoteliers and technology experts on innovative approaches to hotel management, revenue optimisation, and the significance of digitalisation and direct bookings:


Henrique Tiago de Castro, General Manager, EVOLUTION Cascais-Estoril Hotel tells us about the challenges they have faced before opening the only lifestyle hotel in the coastal side of Lisbon.


James Lemon Travel, Transport & Leisure Lead at Stripe talks about the decision-making nuances between the big global brands and large group of portfolio companies and he addresses how the small groups move quicker about making decisions on investment in innovations.


From the IHTF organisers Charlotte Newton, Senior Analyst at GlobalData Plc shares the exciting news about IHTF Singapore coming soon which will be targeting APAC market and potentially expanding IHTF to the Middle East.


Alberto Plaza, Hotel Tech Specialist | Revenue Expert, IDeaS Revenue Solutions express the importance of using the machines for analysing data. He explains how their technology gather the data to produce a forecast and share the data automatically with the hotels to help with pricing decisions.


Raimund Notz, Director, Hotel Revenue Optimization - Central & Eastern Europe, Preferred Hotels & Resorts addresses the recent focus within the hospitality industry on technology adoption within properties. He highlights advancements in Property Management Systems (PMS), automation, and digitalisation, emphasizing their crucial role in optimising market potential. Additionally, he underscores the importance of technology in enhancing the guest journey experience.


Carsten Wernet, CEO at SIHOT Group discusses the significant role of cloud and SaaS systems in the present-day hospitality landscape. He elaborates on the considerations hotels are currently prioritising when selecting their PMS. Wernet sheds light on the questions hotels are posing and the aspects they aim to explore when contemplating investment in a PMS system. He also tells us about how their payment system are different to many other payments providers in the market.


Markus Mueller, Managing Director, GauVendi talks about how using emotions during the booking process has an immediate impact on guest behaviour. He also explains they use a unique way to use dynamic pricing.


Piergiorgio Schirru, EVP, Head of Revenue Management and Research & Development, Blastness highlights the significance of revenue management and direct bookings in the hotel industry. He addresses the significant challenge when hoteliers neglect an analytical approach and underscores the importance of integrating direct bookings into the strategy of the revenue management team.


Gérald Lampaert, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, VERTU Hotels and Resorts outlines the advice he offers to hoteliers regarding the aspect of project management in technology adoption. He also shares their goal of potentially increasing their portfolio by about 50% in the next 12 months.


Christoph Peppers, Director E-Commerce, H-Hotels.com, discuss the significance of affiliate marketing in the hospitality industry, noting its underrepresentation in conferences like IHTF. He highlights its effectiveness as a channel for driving direct bookings, improving direct performance, and directing traffic to hotel websites. They also emphasise the significant role affiliate marketing plays alongside platforms like Google Ads and Meta Search.


Jon Siberry, Group Revenue Manager, Sarova has been attending IHTF for 11 years and shares insights into what's new this year. He notes meeting new individuals and highlights the increased prominence of AI as a major theme, surpassing its presence in previous years. Siberry observes that vendors have embraced this technology and integrated it into products and solutions for use in hotels. Additionally, he discusses the concept of 'digital workers', which he encountered for the first time at IHTF. These digital workers are programmed to perform repetitive tasks through hotel systems like PMS or finance systems, thereby assisting hotel staff with their workload.


Matthew Prosser, Senior Sales Director, Agilysys discusses the value they derive from attending IHTF. He explains that as a supplier, it provides them with an opportunity to present their proposition to delegates and gain insights into the challenges faced by the industry. Prosser emphasises the importance of such events in understanding the industry's challenges and engaging in discussions about resolving these issues.



Catch up with our IHTF Special Interviews



In this episode, Ryan brings a series of quick-fire interviews with industry experts, offering invaluable perspectives on the ever-evolving landscape of hospitality technology.


IHTF's host Ted Horner kicks off the discussion, sharing key insights into Wi-Fi advancements, contactless solutions, and hyper-personalization in hotel operations, gleaned from his extensive experience in the field.


Steve Johnson from Ruckus Network delves into the evolving role of Wi-Fi in the hospitality sector, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities posed by the digital nomad phenomenon and the integration of smart technologies in guest rooms.


Asam Nawaz from BeCause emphasizes the importance of sustainability data in the travel industry, providing insights into initiatives aimed at streamlining data collection and reporting for hotels and OTAs.


Sal Capizzi from Book4Time offers a deep dive into revenue management tools and strategies, highlighting the pivotal role of technology in driving ancillary revenue growth for hotels and resorts.


Jory Garcia from Flexkeeping discusses the challenges and opportunities in streamlining hotel operations through digital solutions, focusing on housekeeping efficiency and guest experience enhancement.


Chris Bowling from Best Western shares insights into multi-channel marketing strategies, including the shift towards targeted advertising and the use of customer data to drive personalized guest experiences.



Cheval Collection - Hoteliers' Voice S4E4 with Mustafa Gokcen: Purpose of hospitality and its relationship with technology


We spoke with Mustafa Gokcen, Head of Information Technology at Cheval Collection, delving into their innovative luxury apartment management across London, Edinburgh, and Dubai, setting new industry standards through tech and sustainability.


Drawing from his extensive hospitality experience, Gokcen emphasised the importance of prioritising guest-centric innovations over cost-saving measures in technology adoption. He highlighted Cheval's strategic focus on enhancing their cloud presence, utilising AI and machine learning, and bolstering security measures.


Despite challenges in talent retention, Gokcen stressed the crucial role of IT in operational success. Trust, reliability, and shared vision were cited as key qualities in selecting technology vendors. Cheval's initiatives reflect their commitment to excellence and foresight in meeting modern guest and staff needs, positioning them as leaders in hospitality innovation.



Marriott - Hoteliers' Voice S4E3 with Florian Hepp: Employer branding, attracting talent and managing staff today

In this episode of Hoteliers' Voice, we talk with Florian Hepp from Marriott about recruitment challenges in hospitality. They explore the difficulty of filling specialized roles, such as culinary positions, due to various factors like location and market competition.


Florian stresses the importance of changing the industry's image to attract talent and the need to align with younger workers' expectations for culture, development, and work-life balance. They discuss leveraging Marriott's intranet and social media for internal communication and employer branding, highlighting the effectiveness of platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn in reaching potential employees.



Clink Hostels - Hoteliers' Voice S4E2 with Diogo Vaz Ferreira: Hostel market trends and developments

Diogo Vaz Ferreira from Clink Hostels discusses the evolution of the hostel market and the company's growth. He details Clink's expansion from London to Amsterdam and Dublin, emphasizing the brand's family roots and adaptability to modern traveler trends, such as remote working and digital nomadism. Diogo also addresses challenges like staffing and gender policies in hostels.


With a background in hotel revenue management, Diogo shares his transition to the hostel industry, finding excitement in the sector's dynamic nature. He highlights the use of technology in improving guest experiences and revenue, such as automated upselling tools and potential future trends like voice command technology, while stressing the importance of human interaction in hospitality.


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