YO! What's trending?By Terence Ronson - Hospitality Professional, Technology Consultant, Public Speaker and Inventor
As we near y/e 2011, I can't wipe away the feeling that as far as the economy is concerned, we are still on a wild roller coaster ride. I'm just not sure though if we are on the incline, or just about to reach a peak with yet another stomach churning steep decline in our midst. Whichever way it goes, these are for sure interesting times we live in.
Without doubt, one of the most disruptive technologies that we coexist with is Apple's ecosystem - called IOS. It is as omnipresent as the air we breathe, and I doubt a conversation regarding technology goes by, without some mention of this beast. The coming year, will likely see us immersed even deeper with new IOS based devices, and the most interesting one on my radar, is something I previously Blogged about - The Apple TV (maybe called iTV). This is a real TV - maybe in two to three different sizes, you could hang it on the wall - it will be app driven, with content coming from the Web. Definitely a game-changer, and one where Apple fanboys will likely line up days ahead of the launch to get their hands on.
In my mind, this along with software and operating systems that we now happily and instantaneously download sounds the death bell for Blu-ray, DVD, CD and the associated players. Since they will no longer be required, it's very likely that Notebooks (such as already done with the MacBook Air) will also drop them in the coming year to save space and cost.
While on the subject of media, I can't believe that one PPV provider recently issued a list of Top Ten movies watched in Hotel rooms and there was no porn on the list... Must be a unique group of clients that they have compared to normal trends. Besides that, I just wonder how many people really purchase movies in a Hotel Room versus carrying their own, or sucking it (freely) from the web.
One can draw a parallel to the app world we now live in, and the Wild West land grab/gold rush of the bygone era. Everyone is trying to get a piece of the action. Whether you are launching a ninety-nine cents app, or a proprietary one, you are trying to get a slice of the valuable real estate on someone's i-device. It's a bun fight!
Saying there is an app for that - is not as ridiculous as it once sounded. There are zillions of them, and all manner of folks are launching them with similar functionality as to what we invented in 2000 - called "Hotelinmyhand" for Hong Kong's Rosedale on the Park and heavily featured on CNN. The only real differences between that and those of today, are made possible by advances in technology.
Email, IM and SMS, voraciously erode the art of one on one, face-to-face conversation - and I wonder if your handwriting has become as ineligible as mine. On those occasions when I've stayed in Hotels and receive a nicely handwritten card, I speculate if some form of smart printing was involved to closely resemble the penmanship of a fountain pen. Vocal conversations have been reduced to Tweet sized soundbytes, and the usage of three to six character acronyms has exponentially increased.
Web sites are swiftly becoming passé, and if you are a business without an app, a hashtag or some kind of storefront on a SNS [social networking site] - then you might as well pull down the shutters, and hibernate. Even the most popular SNS have apps, with this being an integral part of the mobile world we so enjoyably endure.
Hotels continue to struggle to find ways in which they can morph SNS into ATMs'. Turning Lookers into Bookers is an elusive recipe for them. But having said that, apps are taking over the role of the OTA, especially since booking windows are reduced - and being made at the last minute - sometimes on-board the very transport taking them to that destination. Thanks to technology that can sweep up excess inventory, customers can now take advantage of late booking windows, which may sometimes yield better pricing than bookings made 21 days in advance.
The Cloud looms large - and there are growing concerns over the viability, stability and security as I pointed out in an earlier BLOG. Interesting development is that the US Justice Department is now raising concerns over the Cloud, and how it potentially impacts data security and could contravene the Patriot Act. Go figure that one!
In an increasing effort to trim costs, Outsourcing and the use of Managed Services is on the upsurge. Groups are looking at constructive ways to benefit from both of them, and yet still maintain Company Standards and manage the Guest Experience.
The coming year should prove as interesting as the one WE are currently sun-setting, and I for one, can't wait to see what it brings.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!
See you on the other side...
Terence Ronson is the Managing Director of Pertlink Limited. Now residing in Manila after almost two decades in Hong Kong, Terence launched his diversified hospitality career as a chef, later holding various general management positions with well-known hotels in the UK and Asia. In the mid-80s he developed his penchant for technology, and in 2000 started Pertlink Ltd., (Hong Kong) a hospitality technology consultancy, becoming as well the Technology Editor for HOTELS Asia Pacific and authoring since then numerous industry-related articles. In 2001, CNN's eBizasia program featured him for his innovative work at Rosedale on the Park Hong Kong, the first cyber boutique Hotel. It was at that point he originated the first hotel app – HOTELINMYHAND. Terence also helped Langham Place Hong Kong win many accolades for its technology deployment as well as various other well-known hotels across Southeast Asia. In China, Terence was heavily involved in establishing and delivering the IT strategy for Jumeirah Himalayas (Shanghai), Puli (Shanghai), Sofitel Wanda (Beijing), and Guoman (Shanghai). He also participated in the development of the technology vision for Disney Shanghai and Tangula Luxury Train. Terence often chairs and speaks at global industry events and sits on various advisory boards, in addition to holding a Visiting Lecturer position at Hong Kong Polytechnic. He is a CHTP (Certified Hospitality Technology Professional) and runs an active hotel technology blog.Information TechnologyGlobal