| Hospitality Today | Feb / March 2017
Delegates Networking : Nicholas Walley ( L ), Manager & Patrick Burke ( R ), Proprietor ; Atlantic Hotel Jersey .
After dinner speaker Dr . David Bryon entertained guests with anecdotes about his time as Managing Director of bmi baby , and his experience within the travel industry .
On day two , Foresight Factory ’ s Director of Content Dominic Harrison shared insight into food cultures and how the “ rate of innovation and disruption in food cultures is huge and truly global ”. He said the global middle class would rise from 2bn today to 4.9bn in 2030 – a huge new customer base for leisure and hospitality .
Harrison explained that consumer trends have momentum and reshape attitudes and behaviours towards food . Hotels that can offer a range of food experiences and choices are more likely to find a returning audience . “ Food is a key marker of an individual ’ s personal brand for Generation Y , where one in four will share images of food and 71 % say that food is important to their identity .”
Professor Peter O ’ Connor chaired a panel discussion on disruptors to the industry and how using data can help improve services . The panellists advised delegates that hoteliers are ‘ bad at using data efficiently ’ and urged them to utilise disruptors to create experience and personalisation . O ’ Connor commented : “ In this room , Airbnb is a dirty word ”.
TripAdvisor ’ s Industry Outreach and Strategy Manager Gavin Greene explained : “ There needs to be a more savvy approach from hoteliers to retaining customers who book direct .” Jonathan Langston FIH , Co-Founder of HotStats followed on and said :
“ Once a guest comes through your door , never let them come through a third party again . Hoteliers are naturally discreet , they know everything about their guests but they ’ re not going to use it to their advantage - let ’ s take back the customer .”
Olga Polizzi CBE ( below ), Deputy Chairman and Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels , reminded delegates that today ’ s traveller has changed little in terms of their desires . She said : “ technology is there to serve hospitality , and never to be its master ”.
She added : “ only your staff can read a guest , there is no app that can do that ”.