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.”


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LAURENT A. VOIVENEL - SVP MEA & INDIA  FOR SWISS-BELHOTEL INTERNATIONAL – SPEAKS AT  HITEC DUBAI ON PMS IN 2020 & FUTURE OF GUEST-FACING TECHNOLOGY Economic News  Dubai   hinabakht has not set up a biography yet. You can view more information about this author using the link(s) below.

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