WIT 2017 CONFERENCE: TRADITIONAL HOTELS CAN STAY RELEVANT IN ERA OF ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION – GET LOCAL

While mature markets are seeing a shift in hospitality from traditional hotels to alternative accommodations, in younger markets such as Indonesia, there are people whose first trips are already with alternative hotels.

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Graham Hills at WIT

Graham Hills, chief commercial officer, BeMyGuest, said: “It’s not new for millennials to go online to book their travels.”

At the same time, travellers are seeking out more unique local experiences. Does this mean that traditional hoteliers are obsolete?

Sean Dee, chief marketing officer & executive vice president, Outrigger Enterprises Group, does not think so. In fact, Outrigger properties have been able to take guests into the local communities because of their local staff, he said.

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Sean Dee at WIT conference

“At any one time, there are 250 on property to attend to the guests. We can actually take our guests from our properties into the community, spending time in the villages,” he said.

For Charmaine Wee, general manager, Unlisted Collection, her company has positioned themselves as “somewhere in the middle”. Unlisted Collection properties have hotel amenities, but also take in qualities of the neighbourhood to provide a more local and authentic experience, she said.

Unlisted Collection has even partnered Airbnb, with Wee saying that disruptors make the playing field bigger.

Added Dee: “Disruption and competition is generally just good for business. You see the taxi services around the world improve when Uber comes into town. I think we need to continue to raise our game.”

Jeff Manheimer, founder & COO, Tripping.com, said the disruption also depends on smaller players coming online. “Right now you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to get at alternative accommodations. But as inventory comes online, that is going to slowly start to change. And we’re seeing lots of supply coming online.”

“But it’s about building the right tech to help these businesses go online,” added Hills.

Meanwhile, moderator Puneet Mahindroo, corporate director of revenue management Asia Pacific, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, polled the audience on whether brand power is equal to data power. About 38% of the audience agreed.

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Russell Young at WIT

Russell Young, managing director, Asia Pacific, Sojern, said hoteliers can definitely use data to build their brands. “From looking at data, you can create personalisation and the message that you’re delivering. This subsequently feeds back into your brand and creates a consumer experience.”

Wee, however, felt data cannot be all there is to a brand. “Data is useful, but it can be fickle. It follows trends. Data is an element of brand — together with human touch and other elements — it’s not the panacea.”


Published with permission by WIT – Source: http://www.webintravel.com/traditional-hotels-can-stay-relevant-era-alternative-accommodation-get-local/