Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Barker

Ned Barker

President, Grill Ventures Consulting, Inc.

Ned Barker is a hotel industry veteran and principal of Grill Ventures International. In a former role as Vice President of F&B Franchise Services for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Mr. Barker worked with both hotels and third-party restaurants to create win-win partnerships. Specializing in F&B solutions, Grill Ventures works with both hotel and restaurant companies. Grill Venture's work includes concept development, strategy, operations / marketing review & analysis, and special one-off project assignments. Mr. Barker is a noted speaker who delights at sharing his expertise at hospitality and hotel management conferences. He is a frequent contributor to food and beverage publications such as In The Mix Magazine and Hotel F&B Magazine. Mr. Barker serves on the board of the Global Soap Project (www.GlobalSoap.org) which recycles discarded hotel bar soap into new bars that are shipped to vulnerable populations around the world. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and serves on the American Hotel & Lodging Association's (AH&LA) F&B Council.

Mr. Barker can be contacted at 404-547-1900 or Ned@Grillvi.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.