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  • Next Event

    HITEC EUROPE 2019

    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    April 10–11, 2019
    Palau de Congressos
    Palma, Mallorca - Spain

  • Upcoming Event

    HITEC MINNEAPOLIS

    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    Minneapolis Convention Center

    June 17-20, 2019

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    HITEC DUBAI

    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    November 12 - 13, 2019
    Festival Arena
    Dubai, UAE

Article by Abdullah Rashed Jasem Al-Abdooli (B.Arch.)

Synchronised for Success -Marjan

MEED 10 March 2019
The overarching theme of the Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference 2019 - 'Synchronised for Success' - underlines the spirit of collaboration that has fostered the growth of the hospitality, leisure, tourism, retail and property development sectors of the region.It is a befitting take on the real need of the hour: collaboration and co-creation of experiences that consider the rapidly evolving aspirations of the customers, who are increasingly discerning, demanding and seeking higher value across every touch point.I believe that for years our industries had operated in silos. Before the era of big buzz mergers and acquisitions that have transformed the hospitality industry, the major players were intent on competing on prices. It is no secret that the hospitality industry was among the laggards in adopting tech innovation, and now it is catching up for lost time with gusto.Similar trends have prevailed in in the property development and retail sectors so much so that digital innovation has forced both industry players to relook at their business model and evolve quickly to be relevant for the new generation of tech-savvy customers.Four drivers are critical in the new 'synchronised model for success' that every business must consider: Innovation, positivity, tech-adoption and creativity.These are not just options but imperatives in today's changing market dynamics. Innovation must become part of an organisation's DNA and a work culture, whereby every stakeholder voluntarily involves in identifying new ways to do things more efficiently.With innovation becoming a watchword in today's business lexicon, there is a tendency to associate it solely with some ground-breaking invention that will transform the entire organisation.It need not necessarily be so: I believe that innovation can roll-out even in the simple things, from the way guests are greeted and welcomed to hotels to, say, adding a personal touch to the customer journey. Small incremental measures that innovate on old practices add up to create positive change.But what is important is for every employee to be open to ideas and for the management to be receptive to them.The second key driver is the ability of organisations, including every stakeholder, to remain positive even in the face of challenges. There is never a perfect market situation. Every market has its share of challenges, and then again, there are the economic cycles that are inevitable. It is key for business to learn from the experiences of the past and to stay upbeat in the face of challenges. Market difficulties are not an excuse for inaction: Continue to do what you do and focus on creating value because with every challenge comes an opportunity.The third driver is the need to be tech-savvy and to adopt the realm of digital revolution that is transforming the way we work, live and play. Big data and advanced analytics offer a tremendous opportunity in understanding guest preferences, and this must be leveraged to finetune and perfect customer service standards. Data, per se, is of little value unless it is used to achieve tangible business objectives.Finally, it is important to promote a culture of creativity among your stakeholders. With a team of creative and dedicated stakeholders, organisations can build resilience, achieve goals and sustain their success for the long-term.All these also take us to the fundamental pillar of success in any business - one's purpose. As Simon Sinek, author and organisational consultant observes, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." Your organisational purpose indeed defines you and your business today, and when you work together with partners from diverse sectors towards a common goal, you march towards success and progress in harmony.I can think of no better example than Ras Al Khaimah, an emirate that today stands synchronised for success. The spirit of collaboration that drives the emirate - integrating all business sectors to create a destination that is sought-after by investors and tourists makes Ras Al Khaimah a compelling success story today.Hosting events such as AHIC and welcoming the world to share their success stories further deepens our focus on the spirit of collaboration that indeed ushers in a win-win era for all.
Article by Haitham Mattar

Focus on the Future - Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)

MEED 1 February 2018
In the lead up to the 2018 Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), we asked a number of industry partners what their focus for the future is.This year, AHIC 2018 looks to the future, which it sees as being defined by "the Four I's"- intelligence, investment, Innovation and Inspiration. I've been tasked with looking at what our particular focus will be, and, for a rapidly emerging tourism destination, the answer is simple: all four must be balanced and work together in harmony if we are to steer a steady course through 2018 and beyond.Looking at intelligence first, in the simplest terms, increased competition and ever tighter margins means we must simply "be smarter" in how we conduct business. Digging down a little, I think accurate, customised business intelligence will be the single most effective business tool that separates the smart destinations, investors and operators from the mainstream. To be effective, any strategy needs to be built on a foundation of solid evidence. How can we convince businesses that a particular sector or region is ripe for investment? How do we persuade customers to choose one offering out of dozens, or even hundreds? Where should governments focus their budgets to get the best bang for buck? And, at the end of the day, what do customers - be they holiday makers or business guests - really want from a destination or a hotel? Customised market research answers all these questions. And, in our tech-focussed world, automated survey technology and big data analysis are bringing down the cost of bespoke market research for all.We still need to ask the right questions, and I think the most important question is simply: what do people really want? For example, the past few years have seen a rush for investment in technology in the sector. Smart rooms with curtains that close at the touch of a button; on-screen orientation for hotels, apps replacing room service calls and other labour-saving tricks and tools. But is this really meeting a real demand from customers? The result may be more convenience for operators and customers alike, but it comes with a loss of strong brand positioning that is going to be detrimental to hotels and guests alike. If every hotel offers the same tech-focused experiences, what are the differentiators? Will booking a hotel room just come down to "order by price" and clicking the lowest?I like to think that travel - be it business or leisure - is about collecting memorable experiences. When it comes to innovation, therefore, the old maxim applies: just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should. It's about understanding the audience mind-set and determining what will truly enhance their overall experience. One size does not fit all and investment in technology needs to drive differentiation and fuel a unique and unforgettable stay.If we get the above right, inspiration follows. Good market research will inspire operators to improve their customer offerings; investors will be inspired to put money into more unusual and ultimately rewarding offerings; and innovation will create richer, more rewarding experiences for customers, and staff alike, inspiring loyalty and fostering strong, clearly defined brand growth.
Article by Stefan Leser

How will you be a global catalyst for change?

MEED 19 April 2017
In 2017 Jumeirah celebrates its 20th anniversary. As we prepared for this important milestone we considered not only our brand, our portfolio and offering but also our success and our responsibility. Being a catalyst for change is a responsibility. Hospitality companies effect change and are a driver for social and cultural evolution. Change comes in various guises and, certainly, today we are more able than ever to influence the way we live and the way we spend our valuable time. We are offering experiences and travel destinations that only a few generations ago would have been inconceivable for many.You cannot be a catalyst for change unless you are prepared to innovate. You must be comfortable with risk, however calculated it might be. You need to operate in a positive environment - where trying a new venture that does not ultimately succeed is not seen as failure. And you need to accept with ease that your decisions and actions are going to be open to scrutiny. Again, it comes down to being bold. An important spur in our own culture of bold thinking, and in maintaining our brand positioning as a leader in luxury hospitality, is our commitment to continuous improvement. It is one of our most important tenets. It applies as much to our colleagues, who are encouraged to develop and upskill, as it does to our brand and properties.If I look back just one year since I took the helm as Group CEO, I am astounded by the number of improvements and enhancements introduced across the company. Two of the most significant were the launch of The Terrace at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and the opening of Jumeirah Al Naseem. The Terrace reinvigorated an already unmatched and iconic hotel, offering guests a completely new and unique experience. Jumeirah Al Naseem completed the Madinat Jumeirah resort and took our Jumeirah brand in a fresh direction, with its contemporary modern luxury styling, without diminishing the Arabian hospitality, which so importantly underpins the Jumeirah experience.One important pillar of continuous improvement is to embrace technology. This is much more than investing in technology; it's understanding technology and what it offers. Many technologies created for one industry have an indirect impact on other industries. Don't limit your thinking to hospitality tech - look outside the sector. What other technologies are being used and how can you adopt, in part or in whole, within your own business. Be inspired by technology and adapt it.Virtual reality was created as an entertainment experience and was adopted, and adapted by the gaming industry in the 1990s. Google adopted and adapted it to create Street View and it became a tool for architects and town planners. Soon it was adopted and adapted by theme parks, augmenting reality to provide the thrills of the rollercoaster without the ride. And last year the world chess championship was broadcast live in 360 deg VR and VR has been adopted by American football, and other sports broadcasters.We innovated VR tech to create Jumeirah Inside, the first collaboration between Google and a hospitality company. VR means we can offer viewers a personalized, curated journey around our properties. And it gave us global reach. It is available in five languages, across mobile, tablet and desktop devices. Although a substantial investment, it is a simple idea that has transformed the guest experience - it's now about the pre-guest experience. VR has enabled us to reach the guest before they visit the properties and we treat them as guests before they walk through the door.We have used technology to effect change in how travel choices are made and close the gap between aspiration and reality. We have sought to eliminate the risk that a holiday or travel experience will disappoint or that time will not be well spent. In a world where time is the most highly valued commodity of all, who can afford to waste it? We have also eliminated some of the uncertainty that can procrastinate the decision-making process. In a world of choice - you can't choose.If we can be a global catalyst for change it is through being a visionary and inspiring others to be bolder. Our bold thinking is a reflection of Dubai and driven by the inspiration that surrounds us. We are consciously creating an environment that embraces continuous improvement. We believe that we have a responsibility to be catalyst for change - and we are fulfilling that responsibility and sharing our insights with the hospitality community. Our aim is not only to inspire our guests but also our industry peers.

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