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Your tourism business will not survive without the right technology – John Alwyn-Jones chats with two experts

August 7, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

I am always incredibly impressed when I speak with industry professionals who practically at a stroke, create clarity in the mysterious world of technology.

Now, that may be because although I consider myself pretty well clued up and well informed, I also recognise that like many of us, I am from the world and a time when computers first appeared in our lives.  I will always recall our first office computer arriving, an Amstrad with 16mb of RAM and we thought it was the bee’s knees!

In any case moving on, I met with two leaders in technology in travel on our recent Global Travel Media webinar on Tourism Technology, Kevin Tatem, Managing Director of STAAH and Troy Filson, Customer Success Manager at PROS and w

e chatted about how technology has changed the industry and what their companies do and can offer your business, helping it not only survive but also grow and do better…so, I reckon you should read on!

Kevin Tatem, Managing Director of STAAH describers the company as a leader in Online Hotel Booking Systems and Travel Management, technology, which I have to say, not so many years ago, we had never heard of, with Kevin telling me that  right now hoteliers need to look at their current technology stack [now stack is also a new word for me!] to ensure they are prepared to compete hard for bookings and revenue.

Clearly, competing hard for bookings is how hotels survive and while I am sure it is a normal part of life for the big operators, I wonder whether some small accommodation operators realised when they entered the business that they though was nice easy life, perhaps even a retirement job of managing a nice accommodation business, that all this technology would be such a large part of their lives, and actually even their survival…to do so they needed very smart technology like STAAH.

One of Kevin’s phrases that really struck me was , “The right technology will provide the winning edge in the highly competitive ‘new normal’”.  When I gave that more thought, I realised that he is absolutely right, because  irrespective of the size of the accommodation business, with the “new normal”, which is happening right now, is a brave new world for which all of us have to be very well prepared…or we could well fail.

Kevin and my discussion also made it very clear to me that any scale of accommodation today really has to be using a channel manager for booking along with other solutions that offer huge assistance to operators, including online review management platforms, rate shopping tools and website widgets, with how operators manage their revenue and make good revenue decisions being crucial for the future, and to do this they need data.

Even more so, if a hotelier or accommodation operator does not understand the data that they are receiving, they are wasting their time, so hoteliers need to understand the data, who is visiting their website, where their bookings are coming from, when and why, because they need to analyse all this in order to prepare properly for the future.

Kevin is very clear, and I agree with him, in his assessment that in many ways we are at ground zero.

What does this mean?

It means that a return to the old ways, skating along on the seat of your pants, going with hunches and experience is no longer reliable.

Hoteliers and accommodation operators have to learn to adapt, meet the challenges and the only way to do that is to take on powerful and easy to use technology solutions to take the strain…and make sure they not only survive but compete effectively and grow their business.

Oh, and if you don’t embrace and implement the technology such as Kevin is talking about, then the guy down the road will, and he will take business from you, as you wonder why he is fully booked and you are not…a pretty simple message!

Of course, Kevin represents STAAH so he was not going to promote anybody else’s solutions, but when he demonstrated STAHH to me and explained how it all worked and the cost, which I thought was amazing value for money, the lights came on and it all made so much sense to me, with STAAH’s platform essential  and full of tools to assist hoteliers large and small.

Yes, it will require hoteliers to learn new skills in order to use the technology effectively, but you know, it isn’t rocket science, but it is a necessity, with another phrase Kevin said to me making even more sense, “a fool with a tool is still a fool”.

So, Kevin’s message is very clear for hoteliers and accommodation operators, “It is time for you to get more savvy and work harder than ever”, with technology the way to achieve that.

Finally, Kevin also mentioned that one great way hotels are currently benefiting from STAAH technology right now is through “Gift Vouchers” – which are great for cashflow and offers more choices for customers and STAAH can help you with gift vouchers.

So, where do you obtain more information on STAAH?  Visit www.staah.com and there is even button for a free demonstration, so what could be easier.

So moving on to our second industry technology expert, Troy Filson, Customer Success Manager at PROS which describes its mission as to help people and companies outperform by enabling smarter selling in the digital economy having developed their predictive and prescriptive guidance over decades of testing in complex, real-world business cases, and their team of experts represent the industry’s best.

Now I don’t know about you btu the only words I really understood were, help, outperform, smarter selling and digital economy so I asked Troy to tell me about PROS.

He said that due to the current global travel situation, demand forecasting based on historical precedence, as we previously knew it, has completely evaporated, so the entire industry needs to respond and use innovative solutions to solve demand forecasting challenges.

Also while we all know that the airline sector in particular had been badly hit by the pandemic, Troy told me that airlines that use technology based on modern scientific methodologies such as Bayesian forecasting will be front runners in the recovery period and beyond, in other words using sophisticated technical based forecasting models for example, to predict where they need aircraft to satisfy demand and maximise revenue and of course what they charge!

I asked Troy about PROS technologies and he explained that they are based on smart AI algorithms, which was way above me, but what made it much clearer was that they took guesswork out of complex demand forecasting and pricing and help airlines identify customers’ willingness to pay.

To achieve all this and provide what sounds to me like some amazing technology solutions Troy added that PROS has assembled a team of data scientists to gather data from PROS’ customers as well as global health and movement restriction data to develop models, with those PROS scientific models providing insights and clues for the industry about signals to identify trends in global travel recovery, which without doubt the industry will need as we all move into the “new world”!

In closing, Troy told me that in his opinion and I have to say I agree, airlines that do not adopt a robust strategy for technology will face insurmountable challenges in both the competitive space and ultimately revenue performance, I think not something to be taken lightly.

So, where do you obtain more information on PROS?  Visit www.pros.com.

My thanks to Kevin Tatem from STAAH and Troy Filson from PROS for chatting with me.

John Alwyn-Jones

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