The global electronics giant plans to invest directly into the development of the hospitality industry at large

Nicolas Mercier is Practice Lead – Hospitality & Travel at Samsung Electronics. We asked him how the Korean electronics group is evolving in the hospitality sector…

In 2017, we are looking at a very major paradigm change at Samsung Electronics, in that rather than being a service and equipment supplier to the hospitality sector, we now aim to be at the heart of the sector’s development in a number of ways. Indeed, last year, we already made some big changes through the fact that we were evolving very much into becoming a service partner of the hotelier, rather than just being a TV and display sales organisation. That spirit of service continues to evolve, but much more importantly, Samsung has decided to become a key element in moving the industry forward: in “growing the pie”.

How do you mean by that?
As the industry leader, we decided to take our responsibility to heart and to not just sell devices and supply services, but to actually create the means for all the players in the industry to do more and better business. For this, we are launching a Hospitality Center of Excellence and are developing specific tools and activities that will help to inform, educate and instruct industry professionals, wherever they may be around the globe.


Can you be more precise?
It’s all about getting better at understanding the vertical, getting more people within the organisation being exposed to hospitality, and from there, extending our offering in terms of products and solutions to the vertical. There are a number of external initiatives. One of the projects is the creation of an Advisory Board, which will bring together the best minds in the hospitality market all together around one table. It’s a mix of hoteliers and technologists and some integrators as well; all the actors that are currently involved in hospitality technology. The aim of the advisory board is to identify “pain points” across the industry and try to find solutions to them, as well as thinking together about the future guest experience – what it’s going to be like in two or even five years from now.

As much as possible we will be trying to align our offering to the market’s wishes. They will be meeting face-to-face at least once or twice a year and we’re aiming to have the first meeting up and running in Q3 this year.


People working out on treadmills in gymnasium

Who is leading the initiative?
The visual display division is leading the initiative, but we will be bringing people from mobile and appliance divisions, as well as those representing the cloud solution from our memory business.

Why is it so important to bring this group together?
From in the past just asking us to provide products, the hoteliers are now completely rethinking the entire guest journey, putting technology at the centre of it, and to make sure we are on target with what we deliver, we need this consultative approach.

Tell me about the Centre of Excellence.
The Centre of Excellence is a collection of activities and projects including the advisory board, but we are also implementing an internal hospitality steering committee. Through this initiative we will be able to align product planning, R&D, and other groups, to ensure we have a converged approach to the hotel vertical market. The group will meet on a regular basis working on finding synergies between products and solutions. An example is the idea of bringing together people from the visual display division with those from the memory team who have been working on a new cloud platform allowing interconnectivity of thousands or, moving forward, even millions of devices.

Another activity will be our commitment to the industry to release white papers on a regular basis that will be informative tools for hoteliers. Samsung decided to invest in ways to bring useful information about technology to hoteliers via speci c reports and studies. The rst one should be released this summer.


We understand Samsung is also planning to invest in the future in a different way – through education…
Exactly, in a more direct educational role, we are developing the “Samsung Innovations Chair”. This will consist of the sponsoring of, and input into, a series of educational courses in collaboration with some of the world’s top hotel schools, helping to explain how technology is impacting the hospitality business.

Samsung_LobbyThis is a key to plotting an intelligent course for the years to come, and also through which we hope to foster and develop creative thinking that will also help the entire trade to move in the right direction. Another educational activity is the organisation of client specific Innovation Workshops. This is a consultative exercise, bringing together our best minds from various disciplines to work hand-in-hand with a client on a dedicated project or problem. The output can be impressive, often leading to a 12- to 24-month roadmap and global deployment”.