The HBAA Technology and Innovation Committee (TI) announced its industry predictions for 2016 at the HBAA Members Meeting at Leicester Tigers conference and events venue on 15th March. The predictions were delivered in a presentation by TI Committee Chair, Caleb Parker (CEO, MeetingRooms.com). The presentation also highlighted current technology and innovation updates by NH Hotel Group, QHotels and Village Hotels.
“Now is an exciting time for our industry,” said Caleb Parker. “We’re seeing a lot of change, which can create fear for some. But most of the innovation we’re seeing enables a better guest experience and will ultimately grow the market. To me, that’s something we all need to embrace in order to adapt to the changing business environment.”
Parker presented thoughts on the “Sharing Economy”, contradicting recent media coverage, Parker pointed to a Jefferies financial report to demonstrate the significance of sharing economy leader, Airbnb, and its effect on the hospitality industry. According to the report, the room sharing industry could reduce hotel revenues by 5-10% by 2020. The sharing economy will be on the HBAA’s radar to ensure members have the support needed to be proactive and implement new processes and technology to stay competitive.
On current Industry Innovation he highlighted that NH Hotel Group’s video collaboration and remote connectivity, along with holographic projection for 3D presentations and live streaming for remote delegates was the most impressive technology and innovation updates. Also mentioned was QHotels £2.2M Wi-Fi upgrade and Village Hotels replacement of their legacy PMS with a new cloud platform.
Parkers Predictions for 2016:
- Proliferation of free Wi-Fi - To meet millennial expectations, Parker predicted free WiFi will become the norm in hotels, regardless of star rating.
- Remote Connectivity - Venues will update their ability to host more virtual and hybrid meetings.
- Increase Demand for Small Meetings – 73.69% of enquiries last year were for meetings with less than 30 delegates according to VenueDirectory.com. Entrepreneurship is on the rise; at 50% of the 5.5M UK SMEs do not have their own office space.
- Small Meeting Online Booking Tools – Venues will embrace online booking tools to support the increase demand for small meetings.
- Venue Websites will get personal – Taking a page from the Airbnb book, venues will create a personalised look and feel which in turn will give guests the feeling they are engaging the local team instead of a static brand.
- Considering Airbnb as a distribution channel – Serviced apartments and hotels will look to Airbnb to drive bookings.
- Airbnb for business – Agents, TMCs and in-house travel managers will include Airbnb accommodations in their list of offerings.
HBAA Chairman Leigh Cowlishaw, commented “ As Technology continues to dominate the way in which we interact, book, view, feedback and compare business travel and meetings; it is increasingly important for the HBAA to serve up and share with the Association and wider industry; technology developments that will change and enrich our experiences and support our choices and behaviours.”