Laurent A. Voivenel Speaks At The Arabian Travel Market On Future Of Hotel Distribution

DUBAI – Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India for Swiss-Belhotel International, made a special presentation on the future of hotel distribution at the ATM and GENESYS Digital Futures Summit, Travel Tech Theatre.

Addressing the gathering, Laurent said, “Hotel distribution has undergone a radical change over the last few years. For travellers the process of booking a hotel has always included three phases i.e. search, book and stay and it is still the same. The difference today is that this is now increasingly happening online in a mobile world. That is why hoteliers need to start embracing new marketing tactics and technologies, so that they can meet the needs of their potential guests exactly where they are looking for information and win direct bookings from them. Efficient channel management systems, metasearch marketing and online reputation management is essential for optimization, dynamic pricing and better rate yield.”

Highlighting some key areas of concern in the distribution landscape in the Middle East, Laurent stressed, “Over the last few years we have seen disruption in our industry by a number of non-traditional players. Competition is increasing from OTAs, new players like Airbnb and larger, more marketing-savvy hotel brands. Any transformation is virtually impossible without owners having a strong belief in the value of making technological investments. Moreover, the ‘abundance of technology’ available to hotels can be overwhelming. Hence well-trained people with new skills are required and the hospitality industry must find ways to prepare talent for the future.”

Talking about the evolution of hotel distribution in the coming years, Laurent said, “Technology will continue to transform the distribution dynamics. We are today in a shared ecosystem defined by collaboration, quality and consumer value. This change requires a new strategic approach from hoteliers that would enable us to succeed in the new environment. We all have to work more closely together as yesterday’s tourists aren’t tomorrow’s and hotels need to be ready.”