Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Connor

Peter O'Connor

Academic Director, Institute de Management Hotelier Int.

Peter O'Connor is Chaired Professor of Digital Disruption at ESSEC Business School, France, where he also serves as Director of the MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI), Europe's leading MBA program specializing in international hospitality management. Dr. O'Connor's primary research, teaching and consulting interests focus on the use of technology in the hospitality and tourism sectors. In addition to his textbooks on hospitality technology,

Dr. O'Connor has published articles in leading academic journals including the Journal of Marketing, Harvard Business Review, Tourism Management, the Cornell Quarterly and the International Journal of Hospitality Management. Dr. O'Connor also works with PhoCusWright Inc. as a senior analyst specializing in the hotel technology space, as well as serving as Editor-at-large of Hotel Analyst Distribution & Technology, a leading industry publication focused on the sector. In 2015, he launched the first MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) on Hotel Distribution (coursera.org/learn/hotel-distribution) which currently has over has over 9.500 active learners.

In addition to his academic duties, Dr. O'Connor also works with managers from a large variety of travel industry clients to help shape their electronic distribution and electronic marketing strategies. He is regularly quoted by the international press and consulted by investment companies and private equity firms on developments in the hotel technology arena.

Prior to joining Essec Business School, Dr. O'Connor was a lecturer at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. He has been a visiting researcher at the University of South Australia and held a visiting position at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration as well as worked in a variety of positions in the international hospitality industry in sectors ranging from luxury hotels to contract food services.

Please visit http://www.essec.fr for more information.

Mr. O'Connor can be contacted at +33 134433177 or oconnor@essec.fr

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.