Alex Shashou is the co-founder and President of ALICE, the hospitality industry's first fully integrated operations platform. Alex was recently awarded the "Next Gen Leader" award, by the Hospitality Media Group (HMG), presented to young leaders who are shaking up and making a positive difference to the hotel industry. In advance of presenting at 'Revenue Management and the Connected Customer', we caught up with Alex to get his thoughts as to how the 'connected customer' is driving change within hotels and revenue management.
How is the ‘Connected Customer’ forcing us to change the way we think and operate in the hotel industry?
The ‘connected customer’ is driving the ‘connected hotelier.’ Last year was the first year in which mobile smartphone shipments did not increase, which means we’re reaching a saturation in smartphone ownership worldwide. 1 in 3 bookings in the hotel world are now made on mobile, yet when it comes to the actual on-property experience, mobile payments and mobile services are still only a very small part of the guest experience. This does not align with our guests’ fast-growing demands. Consumers are becoming increasingly connected to services and goods in their daily lives, forcing hotels to adopt technology in operations. To thrive in this new digital economy, hotels are arming their staff with devices and digitized operations in the continual operational shift online. Hotel technology is evolving, from point-to-point thinking to thinking of the whole operation as a connected platform.
What are the main challenges for revenue management in adapting to the requirements of the empowered and informed customer?
The main challenge is there is no foundational technology infrastructure to build on top of. Some say the pace of innovation is holding the industry back. However, catching up with this innovation is not possible without investment in the underlying technology. Currently, too much of the hotel’s operations, goods, and services are stuck “offline” in radios, on paper, and in excel spreadsheets... or hidden inside silo’d department-specific systems. It is only when hotels shift all these silos of information into cloud-based, open platforms like ALICE, that the industry can adapt more quickly to the constantly evolving demands of the connected guest.
If you had one piece of advice for hoteliers and revenue managers in 2019 to enhance their business and profitability in light of increasing customer demands, what would this be?
I would take my management team offsite and ask them each to think about what data might drive their business and prove their team has had a good day and delivered on their SOPs. Then, I would work with them to make that dream a reality. Without software, we cannot have data, and without data, we cannot understand and improve our profitability.
To hear more, register now for ‘Revenue Management and the Connected Customer', the industry-leading one-day revenue management conference on 12th February 2019. Join thought leaders and innovators who are spearheading change as they discuss what the growth of the ‘Connected Customer’ means for revenue management. Listen, debate and network as we discuss how customer's increasing demands will shape your revenue agenda in 2019. Conference website here www.opportunity2019.co.uk