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 July 2019...

Hotel Spa: Pursuing Distinction

The Wellness Movement continues to evolve and hotel spas continue to innovate in order to keep pace. Fueled by intense competition within the industry, hotel spas are seeking creative ways to differentiate themselves in the market. An increasing number of customers are searching for very specific, niche treatments that address their particular health concerns and, as a result, some leading spas have achieved distinction by offering only one specialized treatment. Meditation and mindfulness practices are becoming increasingly mainstream as are alternative treatments and therapies, such as Ayurvedic therapies, Reiki, energy work and salt therapy. Some spas specialize in stress management and offer lifestyle coaching sessions as part of their program.  Other spas are fully embracing new technologies as a way to differentiate themselves, such as providing wearable devices that track health and fitness biomarkers, or robots programmed with artificial intelligence to control spa environments, or virtual reality add-ons that transport guests to relaxing places around the world. Some spas have chosen to specialize in medical procedures such as liposuction, laser skin therapy, phototherapy facials, Botox and facial fillers, acupuncture and permanent hair removal, in addition to cosmetic body shaping procedures and  teeth whitening treatments. Similarly, other spas are offering comprehensive health check-ups and counseling services for those who are interested in disease prevention treatments. Finally, as hotel spas continue to become more diverse, accessible and specialized, there is a growing demand for health professionals with a specific area of expertise. There is a proliferation of top class, quality wellness practitioners who make a name for themselves by offering their services around the globe, including athletes, chefs, doctors, physical trainers and weight loss specialists. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.