Sales Still Demands the Personal Touch

By Michael McCartan Managing Director Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Duetto | July 21, 2013

During the last decade selling has changed dramatically and this has been a result of the way social interaction has been altered with the advancement in communications technologies in the age of internet.

Our yearning for more information and quicker interactions, fueled by our thirst to reduce costs, has had a profuse impact on what we expect from suppliers and how we secure deals. The development in conferencing technologies to replace expensive travel programmes pushed the utilization of email and websites as a way to capture, store and access information. Business travel began to decline, hitting the core of a hotel’s corporate business.

With the introduction of new technologies, more and more people started adopting them for personal consumption– first for the wealth of information that was being generated, second by the opportunity to access a broader choice of options, and third to purchase products at significantly cheaper prices from new businesses that had found a way to work smarter and faster more cheaply.

Everyday items had their prices slashed; businesses no longer had the expense of huge shop fronts or the need to be located near the highest footfall. As a result their outgoings significantly decreased, profit margins increased and their chance to access a wider global market became instantly apparent.

We stopped buying by phone, submitting orders by fax or arranging long-drawn out meetings to secure a deal. Instead Online Shopping Carts made purchases immediate and emails were used to thrash-out contracts. This removed all necessity to interact personally between supplier and buyer. Many businesses made customer service near impossible to access, you were lucky to have an email or comment page on the website in order to complain or negotiate.

Intermediaries Took Control

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.