Hospitality industry gets wake up call at The Hotel Show

Published July 14th, 2008 - 05:55 GMT

Hospitality industry gets wake up call at The Hotel Show

Regional hotels classed as ‘dinosaurs’ unless they embrace sustainability and technology 
With more than 13,000 regional and overseas visitors to The Hotel Show in Dubai earlier this month, mounting competition in the battle for occupancy and room rates is forcing the industry to reassess its role. Trends such as sustainability and the application of new technologies are now paramount to the success of regional hotels.

Raphael Auphan, President of Zyken, summed up the trend, “In five years’ time, luxury hotels still using alarms and wake up calls will be dinosaurs,” he predicted.

Zyken produces NightCove, a colour technology gizmo that claims to soothe a guest to sleep. The hi-tech gadget emits combined scientific sound and light therapies to build melatonin levels conducive to sleep, while blue light in the morning helped guests to wake up in a relaxed fashion.

From mirror televisions in bathrooms to brand scents, the hospitality sector is gearing up to pamper guests in a bid to secure more business, sourcing products from Belgium to Brazil with the aim of differentiating their resorts and hotels.

According to exhibition director, Maggie Moore, this globalisation is reflected in the exhibitor roll-call at the event: “We attracted exhibitors from 46 different countries, proof that the industry is waking up to the unlimited opportunities in the thriving hospitality sector here in the Middle East. However, with hundreds of new hotels due to open over the next few years, regional hotel owners and managers are preparing to out manoeuvre each other, in the face of the intense competition they are about to witness. This undoubtedly accounted for a significant proportion of the 30% increase in visitors witnessed this year.”

In a dedicated section, technology had a key role to play with sponsor Samsung Electronics typifying the trend for integration in hospitality solutions that includes both interactive LCD screen televisions for guest rooms and back office systems designed to enhance efficiency and service.

General Manager for business development, Marco Vocale, said technology was going green too: “We offer a wide range of products that have low power consumption – therefore, hotels can significantly reduce their energy consumption by using them.”

Another major regional player, Bond Communications, showcased some of its product range that will enhance the guest experience by enabling many of the hotel communications systems to ‘talk’ to one another, ensuring seamless service at every stage of the check-in and service process.

Hospitality systems account manager, Mani Anand, said storage and retrieval of guest histories, with preferences and dislikes, was becoming easier, and this would enhance the personalisation of the customer experience.

“Interactive TVs are another trendsetter, where guests will be able to make restaurant bookings, call room service, book a wake-up call or a spa treatment, and even go e-shopping, all from his or her room,” he said.

In the furnishings sector, too – displayed this year in a dedicated Textiles & Editeurs pavilion – many exhibitors had recycled products on show, ranging from soft cotton-style fabrics made from plastic bottles recycled in to polyester, to carpets that can be revamped as new floorings.

According to Valley Forge Fabrics, one of the largest textile suppliers to hotels worldwide that has pioneered recycled production, the environmental trend in the region is beginning to become apparent: “We are seeing hotels here starting to build their sources in this area and prepare to become more eco friendly,” said director of sales, Kimberly Roeser.

“The price point is the same or lower than traditional materials and this is the message we need to get across – eco materials are not necessarily more expensive or less beautiful than those ‘natural’ products whose use is not always good for the environment.”

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