The impact of new technology in the hospitality sector was the hot topic of a panel discussion hosted by Cheval Residences, and featuring representatives from Booking.com, Sideminder and Four Engage.
Around 70 individuals from the hospitality and legal sectors attended the 2nd edition of the Serviced Apartment Networking Group to hear about issues ranging from the impact of Artifical Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain technology, to making the most of the data we as hoteliers already hold.
On the panel were Carmen Hui, Global Commercial Director of Owner Partnerships for Booking.com; Kath Ludlow, Managing Director of Four Engage, and James Bishop, Vice President of Sales EMEA for SiteMinder, moderated by George Westwell, Director of Cheval Residences and Diane Scott, Senior Hotels Consultant for Katten Muchin Rosenman.
The panel discussion started by touching on recent advancements in technology and how they are used in the hospitality industry, particularly the use of social media channels to maximise user engagement and boost conversion rates. The discussion continued on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning introduced by George Westwell.
Carmen Hui began by explaining how Booking.com has heavily invested in machine-learning technology so that automated chatbots now handle 30% of their customer queries in the English language. The platform currently handles around 1.6 million room night bookings per day, and machine learning and automation play a crucial role in the user experience.
Moving to today’s hot topic, GDPR, Kath Ludlow of Four explained how real-time data is the key to successful social media campaigns, but that data collection is the easy part; using the data intelligently to increase benefits for users is the key.
The discussion ended with two important topics introduced by George Westwell: voice-recognition and Blockchain technology. The panellists shared their visions on how the two technologies might be used to anticipate user needs and simplify the booking process.
SANG was hosted in the London offices of Katten Muchin Rosenman adjacent to St. Paul’s Cathedral.