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    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

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    Palma, Mallorca - Spain

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Hospitality Experts Come Together to Discuss the Future of the Industry Driven by Technology at HITEC Dubai 2018

Swiss-Belhotel 5 December 2018
Kicking off the proceedings today at the HITEC Dubai's global stage was a session on Futuristic Talk moderated by Nicholas Watson, CDO of Naseba. Participating on the panel was HITEC Dubai's Advisory Council Chairperson Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India for Swiss-Belhotel International; Mahmoud Kamal, CIO, Habtoor Hospitality; Ajay Rathi, Group Sr. Director IT, MERAAS; and Lyle Worthington, Group CIO The Student Hotel.Nicholas stated, "The future of the hospitality industry in the Middle East, like the rest of the world, is being shaped by unparalleled advances in technology. Hotels are compelled to rethink the hotel design, guest services, experiences and concepts in keeping with the travellers' expectations. Emerging technologies like virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, are all taking the first steps and it is interesting to hear from the experts in the industry on how they are embracing these innovations."Commenting on the future of hospitality, Laurent stressed, "Innovations in hotel technologies are, no doubt, opening up new opportunities for optimizing guest experiences and enhancing operational excellence. However, the future of hospitality lies in having the right mix of technology and human touch. It is important to understand the existing ecosystem and adapt the best practices to boost efficiency and competitiveness as well as guest satisfaction. What is required is a structured approach to tap the great potential of technology. Like everything else, it is a two-way process and needs to have a conversation engaging customers to offer a personalized experience that makes travellers' lives easier, simpler & more convenient."Speaking about automation, Mahmoud Kamal, CIO, Habtoor Hospitality, said, "Technology continues to transform the hospitality industry revolutionizing every aspect of the business. Having an integrated network of systems will enable hotels to build and foster the necessary connections for guests in order to cater to their requests and predict their needs. Currently, there is a great deal of work under way related to in-room automation to help bring the smart home concept of integrated and connected solutions into the hotel room."For more information or to register for HITEC Dubai 2018 visit Amir Abdin on +971 44 55 7920 or Rouf Hyder Beigh +971 44 55 79 32About HFTPHospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) is a global non-profit hospitality association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, that uniquely understands the industry's problems. HFTP has members and stakeholders across the globe. HFTP assists its members in finding solutions to industry problems more efficiently than any organization via its expert networks, research, conferences such as HITEC and certification programs. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality specific search engine, HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segment of the hospitality industry.About NASEBANaseba offers global business facilitation services. The company creates growth opportunities by bringing together people, partners and ideas. It helps clients raise capital, enter new markets, secure partners, close sales and educate workforces. Naseba's goal is to create opportunity and add economic value at every stage of its client's journey. It does this through three key areas: investor services, commercial services and leadership services. Since inception in 2002, Naseba has facilitated deals totalling billions of dollars for its clients. The company has connected over 100,000 global executives through more than 1,000 proprietary business platforms and is an expert in growth markets.About Swiss-Belhotel InternationalSwiss-Belhotel International currently manages a portfolio of more than 150* hotels, resorts and projects located in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Georgia, Italy and Tanzania. Awarded Indonesia's Leading Global Hotel Chain for six consecutive years, Swiss-Belhotel International is one of the world's fastest-growing international hotel and hospitality management groups. The Group provides comprehensive and highly professional development and management services in all aspects of hotel, resort and serviced residences. Offices are located in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, China, Europe, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.*Numbers may fluctuate

Laurent A. Voivenel - SVP MEA & India For Swiss-Belhotel International - Speaks At HITEC Dubai On PMS In 2020 & Future Of Guest-Facing Technology

Swiss-Belhotel 14 November 2017
Dubai -- Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International, participated today in a panel discussion on the future of PMS and guest-facing technology at the HITEC Dubai organised by Naseba and HFTP. Others on the panel - that was chaired by Jyoti Narang, Partner, WayfareVC - included Ingo Dignas, Co-Founder, CEO Xnprotel; Nigel Hattersley, Sr. Director Technology MEA, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Samir Abi Frem, Corporate VP, Rotana Hotels & Resorts.Laurent drew the panellists' attention to the constraints faced by hotels in terms of budgets available for technology upgrades and installation. He stressed, "We all know investing in technology helps to reduce operation costs, increases efficiency and results in better business conversion and profitability. Yet, budget is the biggest constraint and challenge in technology upgrades. In our business technology is taken as a cost rather than an investment. Often hotel owners' and operators' technology priorities are not in sync, and in many cases at odds."According to industry reports, in the hospitality sector, IT spending in the Middle East is considerably lower than in regions like USA. Laurent said, "This is mainly due to large number of smaller, independent properties in the Middle East which do not enjoy massive tech budgets like big brands. Until recently PMS has been the single biggest technology investment by hotels. However, there are other technology priorities that hotels in the region need to address such as higher internet brand-width for faster speed, seamless integration of mobile technology and upgrades of in-room entertainment systems. Also, Data security is extremely critical, particularly compliance requirements for payment cards in the era of mobile."Integration has become more and more complex and dense with distribution costs increasing year on year. Laurent stressed, "Future PMS with cloud computing will accommodate easy integration with other software applications, even if these applications don't share the same provider. The all-in-one business solution is ideal for small hotels that integrates direct booking technology, channel management technology, and property management technology all into one system. The PMS, the central reservations system (CRS) or channel manager and the revenue management solution all need to seamlessly connect and share data -- preferably, in real-time. A roster of partners is the way forward for solving such issues as data security, network bandwidth and cloud computing."Most importantly, Laurent believes, "Technology is a two-way process and needs to have a conversation engaging customers to offer a personalized experience that makes travellers' lives EASIER, SIMPLER & MORE CONVENIENT. We need software that can keep up with the changes. Architecture and development practices that support frequent updates enable today's next generation system to stay with changing hospitality business practices."For further information visit

Laurent A. Voivenel, SVP Operations & Development For Swiss-Belhotel International On Advisory Council For 2017 HITEC Dubai

Swiss-Belhotel 10 August 2017
DUBAI -- Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International, participated last evening in the kick-off meeting of the advisory council for 2017 HITEC Dubai. The objective behind the high level meeting was to define and outline an agenda for HITEC Dubai based on the rapid innovations in technology and the specific needs of the Middle East region, especially Dubai, in order to keep up with the expectations of international travellers. The advisory council for the mega event also includes representatives from leading hospitality brands in the region including Jumeirah Group, Al Habtoor Group, Marriot International, Hilton Worldwide, Rotana Hotels & Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels among others.HITEC is the largest hospitality technology show for hotels worldwide and it is going to take place for the first time in the region organised by Naseba in Dubai on14th and 15th November, 2017. The advisory council members discussed in detail many pressing topics such as emergence of Airbnb as a distribution platform, advancements in property management system, robotics, cloud technology, data analytics, etc.During the discussion Laurent highlighted a number of key issues that need to be addressed. He stressed, "First and foremost it is important for technology providers to understand that while, as hotel operators, we all wish to move in the direction of smart hotels adopting the latest advancements in technology, it is not always easy to convince owners to make the necessary investments in that direction nor are the guests willing to pay any extras. So how can we make technology affordable both for the investor and consumer?"Laurent believes HITEC could also be a great platform to directly ask the customers 'what is it that they need in a hotel?' He stated, "We are not here to train the customers. As hoteliers we are here to deliver on their expectations and give our customers what they want. Speed is perhaps the single most important thing that is necessary at every step of a guest's journey. Right from the moment he makes the booking to when he steps into a hotel. And this is where technology plays a critical role in enabling seamless connectivity and mobile integration. Technology makes it possible to check-in with Apps, have keyless room entry, control lighting, room temperature, TV, curtains and wake-up call with a single smart device."He added, "We operate in smart cities such as Dubai, hence our hotels need to be smart too. Intuitive technology is certainly moving fast. For example it allows us to anticipate the needs and desires of our guests to the extent of monitoring blood pressure, sleep patterns and stress levels and accordingly adjust music and lighting".Speaking about cyber security, Laurent stressed, "When it comes to technology hundred per cent security does not exist anywhere. IT loopholes are everywhere. However, there is a basic that needs to be ensured in terms of security when it comes to data protection, payment gateways and sharing of information and platforms with third party solution / application providers."Laurent concluded, "Ultimately, technology should be for well-being of people. It should be simple. It should not be complicated like we hoteliers make it".Share your posts with us using hashtag #swissbelhotelme For further information visit

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