Members of our Product, Sales and Account Services teams had the pleasure of meeting with industry leaders and attending inspiring sessions to explore the current distribution and technology landscape, and what the future holds at the 2018 HEDNA Global Distribution Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. In honor of HEDNA’s goal to advance distribution through knowledge sharing, we have compiled our top 8 takeaways from the conference that we believe can help hospitality companies be more successful today and in the future.
Milos Krsmanovic, VP Global Sales, Leonardo
1. Embrace change
“The industry is willing to change, embrace social media, new ideas and technology, AI – things that help make the guest experience more unique and aligned with current guest expectations. I just don’t think it’s changing fast enough.”
2. Personalize guest experiences
“Personalization has to be embraced by the industry as a whole but it will definitely need to be driven by the technology companies within the hospitality space. I was very encouraged that a lot of time was spent discussing personalization at the recent HEDNA event in Lisbon and it was also nice to hear there are organizations that are trying to figure out the best way to deliver this experience. The challenge will be as always how to get content as a whole (both static and dynamic) to follow and meet the industry needs. As an industry, hospitality has not been great at standardizing processes so this will be an interesting challenge to overcome in this instance as well.”
3. Invest in technology
“When it comes to chains, many lack the resources to monitor how they’re presented online after rates and availability, which impacts the way they take travel shoppers down the purchase funnel. I believe that technology and in parts ideology are most likely the biggest obstacles for the chains in this regard but change is necessary to evolve and fend off some of the new players entering the accommodation space. The chain strategy I believe needs to be on the properties and specifically about what makes each one of them unique. They need to take responsibility for creating more personalized, local, digitally-driven visual experiences that differentiate their properties and do a much better job on selling the experience of the property and surrounding areas. In order to do this without adding overhead, they need to invest in technology and this is another example of where the right partner with the right technology and processes can provide the answer.”
Vanesha Ramsamy, Account Director, Leonardo
4. Turn guests into advocates
“You need to turn every guest that walks through your door into an advocate. They have a mobile phone in their hand which is a powerful tool. There needs to be something interesting, unique or different that makes guests want to take a photo or video and share it on social media. This goes much further than a brand saying, “Hey, follow us on Instagram.
5. Sell experiences, not hotel rooms
“People are not looking just for a hotel room, they’re looking for the whole experience. This is what the future is and this is what the Millennial customer is looking for – hotels need to start adapting. In this traditional business, we just do the same thing over and over again.”
Peter Dyer, Senior Technical Product Manager, Leonardo
6. Explore new technology
“The business of distribution, which is what HEDNA is all about, feels like it hasn’t changed. But it does seem that, as a group, they’re aware that the world is changing around them. The industry as a whole is trying to figure out if blockchain is a meaningful technology for them. Blockchain promises this immutable audit trail. Their thinking of it as a way to be able to trace how a room gets booked – as a single source of truth for transactions essentially.”
7. Meet the new mobile
“It’s all about mobile, which we all know that isn’t new, but it has evolved. It’s very much about bots and AI today. We’re interacting in a new way. It’s no longer about interacting with an app on a small screen anymore. It’s about interacting in a new pattern.”
8. Build a targeted experience
“The industry is getting narrower and narrower in who they’re targeting. It’s no longer male, 30-45. It’s male, blonde hair, likes roller coasters. There’s a very detailed persona for everyone now. Someone is literally going to build an experience for every traveler. If a business traveler is looking for a room for one night, the experience should be marketed to that person as such.”
9. Create context to improve personalization
“When we can take our visual content and frame it with additional data that can allow a hotel chain or channel to present it in a more personalised way. Tagging is important. Right now, we deliver an image and it says “pool” but its bare minimum. The more detailed information a hotel or chain can provide about the content of an image, like “pool on a sunny day,” the more data can be delivered to the OTAs to create more personalized experiences.”
How Leonardo is leading distribution into the future
As a leader in the hospitality industry for more than a decade, Leonardo addresses these opportunities and challenges through its technology. While we are known for automating the process of delivering brand approved hotel images to travel booking sites, our value reaches far beyond image distribution.
We help hotel chains, management companies and hotel properties organize and display the right hotel content when and where hotel shoppers want it online, helping sell the hotel and brand experience (not just a room night) to increase revenue. Visit Leonardo.com to learn more about our solutions.