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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.