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Technology


transformation. The teams are also implementing a new PMS [payment management system] across all their hotels, and moving their CRS from a legacy mainframe system into the cloud as part of the company’s bet on making good use of this time. We began shifting into a cloud technology strategy in 2015, and this has proved to be immensely worthwhile during the worst months of the pandemic. The ability to reduce our digital distribution costs as the demand lowered was a relief for a shaken cash flow. At the same time, we were able to respond to all-time record peak demand when we released 20,000 room nights for free to Spain’s healthcare professionals. Meliá is not only making its digital channels more efficient with the movement into the cloud, but we are also using machine learning to improve the experience of customers. I can already see that some of the concepts of agile development and DevOps, which are very well known to technologists, are starting to be used in business process and planning strategies. Data and automation are core elements of agility. The digitalisation of the sustainability strategy – core to MHI – from the sourcing process, through corporate and hotel operations to the customer experience is also a long-term bet. If we’ve learned something from this pandemic, it is about being more human and taking care of each other and our planet. Data and technology allow us to have strict control of what products we use, how we use it and the impact they have. We want to make sure our guests know we take good care of them and on their destinations.


Patrick Mendès, group chief commercial officer, sales, marketing, distribution and loyalty at Accor The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered and accelerated a palpable digital shift within the hospitality sector. Guests, naturally, view strict health and safety standards as essential criteria when deciding upon travel plans and accommodation. Technology – and its contactless nature – enables hotels to continue to deliver bespoke customer experiences while adjusting and adhering to Covid-secure safety measures, and ensuring the well-being of all parties. We can see that apps and automated systems are increasingly being deployed to limit physical proximity during the guest journey and deliver a ‘contactless’ experience. For example, we recently launched a digital door entry solution, Accor Key, whereby on arrival guests receive their room key virtually upon downloading the digital key app; they will then be given access to rooms, meeting rooms and floors via lifts using their smartphone. This is an innovative technological answer to hotel access in the age of Covid, effective in reassuring guests and employees,


Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


and provides a more streamlined and convenient journey. It also complements our existing system, Property Management System FOLS Mobile, which ensures smooth arrival and check-in and with our various digital payment options. Combined, these systems can – and have –


transformed the arrival and departure processes into seamless guest and colleague experiences. In 2021, the Ibis Styles London Gloucester Road hotel became the first Accor property in Northern Europe to offer guests a fully digital experience, with contactless solutions at each stage of the stay. This marks the first hotel in a roll out that will be extended to half of our European estate in the next five years.


“Technology – and its contactless nature – enables hotels to continue to deliver bespoke customer experiences while adjusting and adhering to Covid-secure safety measures.”


Patrick Mendès, Accor It’s also no secret that Covid-19 has deeply


impacted the meeting and events [M&E] market: total digitalisation was rapidly implemented globally, and hybrid formats have become an essential element of business. In April 2021, Accor launched ALL [Accor Live Limitless] Connect, a new hybrid meetings concept powered by Microsoft Teams. This enables companies and organisers to plan physical meetings at hotels while simultaneously ensuring remote interaction with multiple external, virtual attendees. We know that consumer behaviours now move faster than ever, and so, to maintain pace with these trends, we are also witnessing the acceleration of AI within the hospitality industry. As we are moving from the interactive to the predictive era, AI can react and


Quotidian hotel actions have been given a signifi cant technological boost, as the biggest players in the industry look to limit guest interaction with staff.


Patrick Mendès 27


ezphoto/Shutterstock.com; headshot: Abaca Press/Sandrine Roudeix


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