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 September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.