The Think Turf session in Hyderabad discussed enhancing the guest experience using technology.
BY TEAM HOTELIER INDIA
With an aim to further explore the connection between technology, innovation and efficiency combined with guest experience, the Think Turf forum, hosted in collaboration with Samsung, assembled a congregation of hotel developers, engineers and other industry professionals in Hyderabad last month. The evening was inaugurated with a keynote address, delivered by SP Reddy, founder, chairman and MD, Terminus Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. His address elaborated on how customer loyalty can be won in the hospitality industry today. Emphasising on the importance of data collected and shared via technology across various divisions and properties, he stated that routing and processing this data to address customised needs is very critical. âItâs time to re-imagine the loyalty programme. Developing a 360-degree approach is the future of hospitality in order to win and retain loyalty,â he said. This was followed by a presentation from Puneet Sethi, director-enterprise business, Samsung Electronics India, on âHospitality that remembers.â
The forum gained further momentum as the panel discussion moderated by Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Publishing Group India began. Delving on the very essence of the role technology plays in our day-to-day life, K Mohanchandran, area director-Hyderabad and GM Taj Krishna, pointed out that it is one of the most integral part of mankindâs evolution through history and the only way forward is embracing it. However, he added dissents the effect technology has on human connect. âWe need to be cognizant of the technology as being an enabler, and not to replace human interface,â he said.
Endorsing Mohanchandraâs belief, Rajneesh Malhotra, GM, Radisson Blu Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills, reiterated that, âAutomation has advanced in the past two decades, with substantial tangible returns. It enables oneâs stay to be comfortable and needs to replace humans, where it is error prone. Yet the human touch in the hospitality industry is essential.â
Sharad Dutta, GM, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre, added, âHoteliers, as the window of future, need to embody technology. However, various factors such as finances, type of hotel, etc, work as deciding parameters in the adoption process.â
Given that some of the major challenges are adaptability, awareness, return of investment, training, etc, hoteliers look to purchasing equipments that enable them to stay abreast with technology for a minimum of next five to seven years. One of the systems thatâs gaining impetus is cloud connectivity. Illustrating his experience, Dutta shed light on the technology recently adapted by Marriott India. âWe are very focused on ensuring that we are up-to-date with the technology trends prevalent globally. We have launched a mobile app that allows a two-way interface for the hotel staff and the guest. In addition, we also launched âMeetings Imaginedâ â an interactive app that allows meeting planners to talk to customers in terms of banqueting, primary setups, menus, etc. It allows a prompt dialogue between the hotel and the guest and saves time, creates an impression that we are a company, keeping pace with moving times,â he explained.
Technology is now also embedded within the buildings management system, providing timely reports that help evaluate the structureâs efficiency. Thus, from customisation of guests needs to managing building energy consumption, technology is playing a fundamental role in the development of hotels and its services.
Moving a little away from technology, the evening ended with the felicitation of Subir Bhowmick, director projects, Taj GVK Hotels and Resorts Ltd for his contribution to the hospitality industry. Later all guests were seen carrying on the technology discussion informally over drinks.