Hotelier Indiaâs technology platform for the hospitality industry, âThink Turf â Using technology to enhance the guest experience and win loyaltyâ, presented by Samsung, brought together key hoteliers in Kolkata for an enlightening evening on the latest and best tech trends in the sector.
From in-room technology, automated solutions for bars and restaurants, smooth check-in and check-out processes, wi-fi services and smart, interactive, high-definition television sets to websites, mobile apps, social media and energy efficient technology, the speakers at the event touched on a number of these relevant aspects and much more.
In keynote speech, Debashis Ghosal, MD & CEO, Daiwik Hotels Pvt. Ltd, set the tone for the evening as he spoke about the technological challenges for the hospitality sector and the rapid strides hotels have made to address the same over the years. Ghosal went on to provided some interesting statistics.
Saying that 36-40% of travellers use their mobile devices to locate a hotel, he further added that a study by Google showed 96% of all travellers rely on search engines to look for accommodation. âThis is fantastic for hoteliers who have beautiful and responsive websites with easy booking facilities,â he said.
âHeavy flash files are outdated now. HTML websites are in. Hoteliers need to keep pace with the millennial customer who is very comfortable with gadgets and must make booking and looking options smoother than ever before. If a guest finds your website difficult to open and manage and leaves your site, you have probably lost your guest and a customer,â Ghosal added.
However, he also laid stress on the importance of human interaction. âWhen the website is easily navigable and offers a chat-box where you can talk to a real person, Iâd then say you are doing really well. The human touch is always at the back of technology. You canât do without it in hospitality,â he explained. âFinding the right mix between technology, automation and human touch is ever more important when it comes to the changing dynamics of purchasing power.â
Next, Puneet Sethi, Samsung Indiaâs head of hospitality business, gave a presentation titled âHospitality that Remembersâ in which he provided an overview of Samsung India and touched on aspects of its hospitality business as well.
Following on from Sethi, Varun Thapar, Samsung Indiaâs solutions manager stepped up his presentation a notch for the audience as he demonstrated the experiential nature of Samsungâs in-room technology. With the help of a volunteer, Thapar showed how a guest would be able to control a light switch and the movement of the curtains from his or her tablet. âYou can come up with any idea and we can design it for you as per your hotel theme and to help you give a better experience to your customer,â said Thapar.
Towards the end of the event, awards were in order and Sethi felicitated on stage Atul Bhalla, general manager, ITC Sonar, BR Oberoi, founder and MD of Elegant Group, George Kuruvilla, general manager, The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, Manu Sharma, general manager, The Gateway Hotel and Raju Bharat, CMD, New Kenilworth Hotel Pvt. Ltd and member, World Presidents Organisation.