Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Edwards

Jeff Edwards

Head of Global Hotel Business, Amadeus

Jeff Edwards is a hotel industry veteran whose experience spans the hotelier, hotel distribution and hotel IT sectors. His role at Amadeus focuses on expanding the fast-growing hotel IT and distribution division, and his background is ideally suited for the job: Mr. Edwards’s experiences give him a unique insight into both the hotel world and the customer world, having worked for a major global hotel chain and as an industry consultant. Before joining Amadeus as Head of Global Hotel Business, in February 2012, Mr. Edwards was CIO and Executive Vice President of the Wyndham Hotel Group for more than 5 years. Mr. Edwards was responsible for the Information Technology organization (Central Systems, Property Based Systems and Corporate Systems) as well as all reservation distribution channels; including reservation platforms, property based systems, enterprise-wide data warehouse, brand websites, global distribution systems and third party reservation providers. Before joining Wyndham, Mr. Edwards was CEO of Open Table, the online restaurant reservation website. Over 20,000 restaurants use the management software designed by Open Table to manage reservations, tables, guests and marketing activities. Mr. Edwards previously spent more than five years as president and CEO of Micros Systems, the global provider of enterprise applications for the hospitality and retail industries. Micros provides property management systems, central reservation and customer information solutions to more than 26,000 hotels. Mr. Edwards began his career as a hotel industry consultant, running his own hotel and hospitality consulting business – Edwards Consulting. The firm provided consultancy services to CEOs of travel services and hotel companies, where his clients included Travelport, TravelCLICK and SoftHotel. With a strong background in corporate business strategy, CRS, PMS and corporate systems, and sales and distribution networks, Mr. Edwards is an expert on hotel IT and distribution systems, with a strong understanding of what travel buyers need and look for.

Mr. Edwards can be contacted at 34-91582-1227 or jeff.edwards@amadeus.com

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.