Staying Ahead of the Times… and the Competition
David Esseryk, the Accor Group’s vice president of consumer technologies, is in charge of guest facing technology for all brands. In the first of what is to become a regular “spot” in our SMARTreports, David lists his key concerns at this point in time…
The main topic today is the Internet. You can do what you want to do if you have the right network. If you want to run applications for your guests, if you want to do video conferencing, run an efficient business centre, they all need excellent Internet bandwidth. This is where we’re focusing all our main efforts today.
What about VOD?
VOD is not dead, but the old business model of VOD – pay TV – is dead. Today, people want an interactive system. We’re talking about a platform that can be on the TV, the mobile, the tablet, it’s the same platform what we call a “unified experience”. This means you get exactly the same platform on all your devices… not only VOD, but content, an interactive hotel guide, room service, tips about where to go in the city and so on… it’s much more than VOD.
You are heading to the HITEC conference in the US. How important is the show for you?
There are two important shows in the US: the Consumer Electronics Show, giving a nice overview of technology and devices; and the second one is HITEC. I think it’s really THE show for guest-facing technologies. But it’s much more than a show; it’s a networking opportunity. If you’re going from PMS to POS to VOD, Internet, HITEC has excellent discussions and panels. At this show you don’t need to focus on a specific area. You need to see everything at the same time, because everything is connected.
You can do what you want to do if you have the right network.
One of the themes of our current SMARTreport is “the future of luxury” and the Accor group has been evolving the Sofitel brand. How can technology help a luxury brand become more competitive and how does it help it develop luxury in general?
People today often come to a luxury hotel with their own device and have their own needs. At Sofitel, in many properties today, we already provide Quadriga’s Sensiq system, which covers most of the guest’s needs. It provides VOD, online room service and a concierge service on the guest’s tablet, which is what they’re looking for. In terms of helping us in luxury, technology gives us many tools that help us to know and acknowledge the guest much better. We use HotSOS software to find out what the guest needs at a certain time and at a certain place. The software also helps with house keeping, maintenance, and is a kind of internal CRM. This is the kind of software that luxury hotels should be using today, and can really help improve the guest experience.