Editorial Board   

Mr. Rajagopal

Venkat Rajagopal

Professor, Pacific International Hotel Management School

Venkatraman Rajagopal known as Venkat is currently a lecturer teaching hospitality and tourism management subjects at Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Venkat holds a degree in Commerce, a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in International Hospitality Management. With more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, Mr. Rajagopal has worked his way up in all departments of the industry, holding senior management positions such as Director of Finance, Director of Food and Beverage and General Manager. He has worked with city hotels, beach resorts and game parks, in India, Middle East, Africa and New Zealand. Most of the properties have been owned and operated by such well known chains as the Indian Hotels Company Ltd., (which owns and operates Taj and Taj groups of hotels in India and abroad), Intercontinental Hotels, The Kempinski Group, (Leading Hotels of the World), Preferred Group of Hotels, Stamford Plaza and Sheraton to name a few. Mr. Rajagopal has also been responsible for computerization of front office, food and beverage and interfacing of the same with back office accounts for one of the best beach resorts in Mombasa, Kenya, East Africa. He is very proud to have introduced “expatriate business” as one of the important segments for a city hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr. Rajagopal has conducted many training sessions and workshops for middle and senior management staff in the hotel industry as part of “Training within Industry”, and has also been guest lecturer at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in India. Mr. Rajagopal has chosen to live and work in New Zealand because of the unprecedented growth of the hospitality and tourism sector within the country. In recent times that has resulted in increased opportunities for skilled and qualified personnel.

Mr. Rajagopal can be contacted at 64 9 8350535 or venkatr@pihms.ac.nz

Coming up in January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.