Thursday, 7 February 2013

Report back on Hotelier Roundtable

A Hotelier Roundtable on ‘Using technology to enhance Guest Experience’ / H&C News and Swisscom Hospitality Services

by Will Corry on February 7, 2013 in Events, Events & Awards, Lead story, London & South East, Nuggets, Retail, Retail News, Small Business

H&C News and Swisscom Hospitality Services joined forces last Thursday to present a Hotelier Roundtable on ‘Using technology to enhance Guest Experience’.

The event was hosted by citizenM Bankside in London, attended by hoteliers from leading hotel groups across Europe, and proved a great success with delegates: not just informing, but even ‘inspiring’!

Delegates were given a tour and introduction to citizenM Bankside and its facilities, before Michael Levie, COO of citizenM, discussed current industry trends, and then presented citizenM’s tactics and strategies in response to those trends, including their use of technology to enhance guest experience.

 

Delegates embrace future challenges at Hotel Guest Experience Roundtable

 

Michael was open in explaining the genesis of citizenM – ‘to create a luxury contemporary hotel for the cost conscious traveller’ – and how its operational model has been constructed to deliver the concept.

 

Hotel Guest Experience Roundtable: delegates embrace future challenges

 

Guests know what they want, style, value, sociable environment and atmosphere, comfort, good location, and cost transparency. In order to deliver all of these, citizenM has examined its costs very carefully – from construction (where the use of room ‘pods’ ensures speed and quality) through technology and staffing.

Intelligent use of technology is at the heart of the operation, and Swisscom is the key partner in delivering it to citizenM. From hotel management software through to check-in and the SMART rooms, where all functions are controlled by tablet (to the great satisfaction of guests), all systems are part of an integrated network, and the technology is not only cost-efficient, but has become an ‘enabler’, making it easy for citizenM to adapt and add to systems as necessary. All without the need for or cost of an in-house ICT resource.

So successful has citizenM’s use of guest technology been, that – to Michael Levie’s satisfaction – guests now accept and largely take it for granted: comprehensive evaluation of guest review data shows that WiFi, internet and tv are mentioned infrequently.

‘Guest centric’

But the ‘guest centric’ culture ensures that the guest requirement for access to friendly, helpful staff is not just met but exceeded: citizenM invests heavily in recruitment and training, seeking ‘smiley’, intelligent and empathetic staff – and it works, as delegates on Thursday all mentioned on the night, and as guests regularly testify.

It’s worth noting that guests remember and rate the staff highly, but that citizenM is able to operate on just 0.2 full time employees per room!

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a difficult subject for many hoteliers: mysterious, expensive and often ‘difficult’ to manage, maintain, and keep up to date. However, Simon l’Anson, Vice President of Marketing for Swisscom Hospitality Services, was able to point to the successful citizenM experience in demonstrating that state of the art user technology can indeed be a service differentiator, delivering ‘modern luxury’.

Delegate reactions

Hotel Roundtable delegates embrace future challenges

Pictured
left to right – Michael Levie, COO citizenM, Mark Campbell, CIO Dorchester Collection and Stewart Fidom, IT Director Dorchester Collection.

 

It’s safe to say that the Roundtable delegates went away challenged and with much to consider:

Antonio Fernandez, VP Projects Construction & Engineering, nH Hotels  - I found the round-table very interesting and I’m looking forward to having the chance to develop some similar technology projects.

Kelly Newlands, Marketing Manager, The Vineyard – The event was interesting and thought-provoking as well as being relaxed and informal which was great.

Kishor Tahiliani, Operations Manager, Ibis Birmingham City Centre – Michael Levie, citizenM and Swisscom have delivered a product in keeping with the future. I Loved the room controlled by the sleek Samsung PAD and the citizenM Ambassadors provided service with a smile. Inspired by Michael  Levie, the citizenM product and Swisscom, vision translated into reality.

Final words from Swisscom – Swisscom attend many business events and the calibre of delegates around the table at this one means we will be working closely with H&C News developing more round-tables soon.

More feedback and more images can be seen on our Facebook page here

Hotel Guest Experience Roundtable delegates embrace future challenges

Pictured left to right

 

Matthew Bell, GM, citizenM Bankside, Giorgia Giuliana, Manager Quality Assurance and Customer Experience, Novotel Italy, Denis Sheehan H&C News, Kelly Newlands, Marketing Manager, The Vineyard and Anthony Cox, Hotel Director, The Vineyard.

Future Roundtables

H&C News would like to thank both Swisscom and citizenM for the opportunity to hold this Roundtable on ‘Using technology to enhance Guest Experience’.

If youwould like to receive information on future Roundtables, or to suggest future Roundtable topics, please contact our Editor Rowan Crowley

 

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