Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Mahony

Des O'Mahony

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bookassist

Dr Des O'Mahony is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Bookassist (bookassist.org), an Irish-based privately-owned international company specializing in technology and online strategy for hotels and one of the leading European hotel booking technology providers. He is a Chartered Physicist and holds a PhD in Physics from Trinity College in Dublin. Involved with web technology since the early nineties, he pioneered web-based city guides in 1994 with Bookassist co-founder Dr Robert Whittle, developing the Softguides brand for cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Dublin. The Softguides network used customer comments and feedback extensively in its online content, pre-dating the social media revolution by over a decade. In 2005, he was the Irish Internet Association's "Netvisionary" winner for online trade and in the same year was the recipient of a prestigious eircom.net Golden Spider web design award. In 2010 was the recipient of the Internet Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Irish Internet Association in recognition of the success of Bookassist. He has frequently keynoted large travel and hotel technology conferences, most recently presenting on and appearing on a discussion panel on the implications of mobile technology for hotels at the BTO Conference in Florence, Italy in October 2010. Bookassist was formed in Dublin in 1999 and has since grown to encompass six offices in Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Prague, Vienna and Rome handling in almost half a million bookings for its clients and in excess of $100M in hotel booking revenue annually. At Bookassist, Des is responsible for the strategic direction of the company and for research in new product and strategy areas. Bookassist was first to market in 2009/2010 with an innovative and comprehensive mobile solution for hotels and hotel booking on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms with their market-leading webapp solution.

Mr. O'Mahony can be contacted at +353 1 676 2913 or des.omahony@bookassist.com

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.