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ORACLE


JB: Most of the Las Vegas Strip is running Oracle software then… SL: It’s difficult these days to find a business that’s not using one or another of Oracle’s technologies.


JB: The vision and reality of the touchless hospitality experience is more vital now than any other point in our history; people are likely to retain greater awareness in future of disease transmission and all they’ve learned in the peak of COVID globally; where does Oracle fit into the solutions the industry needs today? LC: First of all, touchless should not mean careless as we are still hospitality. While a lot of customers and hoteliers are thinking about implementing solutions, they’re also paying attention to what the experience of the customer is going to be. The second thing to say is, this is nothing new – touchless solutions have been around for a long time to some extent. I think what COVID has done is to accelerate implementation. All the vendors providing solutions are now perfecting and advancing their solutions as a result. There are opportunities for touchless or low-touch experience through every stage of a guest journey; booking has been largely already touchless for a while. Check-in can be completed using an app or mobile technologies as well. What we see also is perhaps some prepayment options, pre-check-in options that people may want to implement. And we want to ensure that staff in properties have good mobile solutions for their operations systems, which is where our systems come in to play, so they can check in customers and still give a good experience. Besides providing the staff application and the UI, we also


provide APIs (Application Programming Interface) on our platform that can be opened up to all of our partners and vendors in the industry so they have no limitations in what they can provide in terms of a total solution for the guest journey. Working with our customers we can then help them expand their solution. For example we hosted Innovation Week, where we had around 500 of our partners join us so we could help perfect their solutions, add features based on our APIs. We are focussed on providing customer solutions and we are looking at what we can do on the operations side as well. SL: Specific to the casino market, our customers have certainly been looking at executing a seamless, touchless check-in experience on the hotel side, with digital keys, identity validation, then checkout. Properties were already working towards that and they absolutely accelerated that project to get that complete. In some of the larger customer businesses they have their own DevOps team, so they have access to the tools Laura just mentioned. We also have customers in Macau doing the same thing, and their business is really picking up now. It’s not about being 100% touchless, it’s being able to offer


the touchless experience to the people that want that. There will still be a group of customers out there that want hospitality to be part of the experience, and there’s a group that don’t want to talk to anybody. On the food and beverage side it seems like the customer


is slower to adopt than we are seeing on the hotel side. Or perhaps we should say the organisation is faster to implement the technology on the hotel side. I’m still seeing a lot of full service restaurants, even though fully digital engagement with the menu, menu ordering, automation is all available it hasn’t been adopted quite as quickly. We’re


seeing it in quick service with demands for kiosks, and we are seeing QR codes all over for looking up the menu. Some places are saying that’s all they need – they’re just finding what works for them right now. LC: We have put a lot of effort into creating a guide we named “A Technology Guide For a Touchless Guest Journey.” The guide goes through each touchpoint for the guest’s journey and either suggests how our technology might be implemented or provides guidance on which recommended partners we have seen that could work there.


JB: You must be well-positioned to see trends globally. Where is the industry heading in 2021? LC: Talking about hospitality generally, I like to be an optimist, and people will always like to travel and make memories. I remember all of my travel with my family. I believe when the vaccine is more widely distributed there will be a resurgence of interest in travel. Hoteliers need to be ready for this. I also believe hoteliers will need to continue to reimagine their brands and what their hospitality experience should be, because certain things will never be the same. They need to think about the adoption of contactless technologies, this is skyrocketing. There are other things like people working from home; business travel will change in the future, people may work from hotels so they need to adapt their model and offer working spaces where they can. Maybe now that we don’t meet in offices so often, we might want to meet quarterly as a team so some business may come from that. Whatever it will be, hoteliers must maintain guest confidence, so they need to build messaging around wellbeing and healthiness, that must continue. Confidence will matter hugely with bringing travel back. In tech terms, because of the reduction of staff, hoteliers


are trying to do more with less. There are lots of thoughts around automating certain tasks, operational efficiencies, reducing costs by reducing the number of solutions implemented – so a consolidation of technology which will drive the need for open systems that communicate well with each other. SL: When I look at casinos, you have to recognise there are many smaller markets – Canada was closed down, and casinos could open but with a maximum of 50 guests in the entire building. It doesn’t make sense to open a casino for 50 people. In the US we have tribal and that came back pretty quickly, while regional casinos are doing ok – but this ebbs and flows. The Vegas market has always done a good job of managing rates and demand, so I think as soon as people are comfortable coming back, Las Vegas will do a good job of attracting them. And for the casino operators, there is the responsibility


to ensure a safe environment for guests and staff. There is a lot of talk in the industry about whether you can create a ‘bubble’ within a resort, where people can be tested when they walk in and be tested while they’re visiting – so you can have an in-person conference, you can have groups together. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all goes.


You can read the second part of this interview in the June issue of Casino International.


MAY 2021 33


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