Vijay Choudhary, General Manager – Information Technology, I.T. Department, HRH Group of Hotels, Eternal Mewar, pens down an article for ‘Hotelier India’ September 2012 Issue.
He talks about ‘How heritage hotels provide the perfect blend of old-world and new-age experiences’ in the article, “Exploring Heritage, Hospitality and High-tech environments”
You can also read the content of the entire article below:
Exploring Heritage, Hospitality and High-tech environments
How heritage hotels provide the perfect blend of old-world and new-age experiences.
– By Vijay Choudhary, Head IT, HRH Group of Hotels
Blending tradition with innovation, technol¬ogy is a must-have for resource optimisation, monitoring, customer acquisition and guest-feedback processing for the heritage hotel industry. It finds applications in this sector for man, machine and materials. In heritage hotels, we need to continuously look for av¬enues to fulfill our promises of delivering perfectly gracious In¬dian hospitality, in part through high-tech technology.
Travellers’ needs do not begin or end with the amenities like room, food, laundry or spa, but with technology like high-speed wi-fi to experience better info¬tainment and luxury. At heritage properties, mostly located in remote areas, providing uninter¬rupted technology is a big chal¬lenge. The connectivity technol¬ogy in the hospitality industry, including VSAT and high-speed broadband using radio frequen¬cies, are preferred in these areas.
Technologies that are being implemented among heritage brands tend to be dependent on the a number of key initiatives and areas, that I list below.
It is always a big challenge to install and deploy necessary IT infrastruc¬ture, especially when it comes to laying and connecting cables for various services, and keep the prop¬erty’s architecture undamaged. the physical-layer infrastructure are basically consist of a number of technological components.
All guest services start process¬ing from the first point of demand generation, such as from the heri¬tage hotel’s website. Prospective visitors look for value in terms of both a heritage experience and the availability of technology-driven services.
Similarly, back-end services, which guests may not experience directly, are prime factors for effi¬cient operations. These include an automated process flow for service delivery using integrated software that covers eCRM, cen¬tral reservations systems, front-office management, point of sales, housekeeping, laundry, back-end accounting and finance, material management and HRM. This workflow is automated keeping in mind the three As: accessibil¬ity, accountability and authorisa¬tion, and is accelerated towards quick and efficient service to heri¬tage hotel guests. It also delivers a way to monitor various KPIs in terms of RevPAR, ADRs, future projections and occupancy, cost and consumption per unit of efficiency.
Across heritage properties, there is major communication deploy¬ment which takes place: IP phones, high-speed wi-fi, voice¬mail and social-platform enabled HDTVs.
Surveillance enabled by tech¬nology through CCTV moni¬toring systems is necessary for properties that have guests, in-room guests, staff and service-providers constantly coming in. Digital security policies are being implemented and infrastructure is building up to keep the delicate nature of the architecture of heri¬tage properties in mind.
Also being considered steadily are P2P videoconferencing solu¬tions, audio-video infrastruc¬ture, modern BMS comprising of fire alarms, energy monitoring, access control, biometric finger print machines for monitoring, control and compliance for the ultimate benefit of guests. HI
The writer is deputy general man¬ager – information technology at the IT department of HRH Group of Hotels.
Global communication and technology has transformed the way heritage hotels market themselves. More steps are bgeing taken for greater property visibility within global markets to generate customer demand. These include:
• Adopting web strategies, competing at OTA/GDS/IDS platforms, e-marketing initia¬tives, integration of online payment gateways through websites, bulk SMS campaign¬ing, eNewsletters, e-greetings and brand-building using social media platforms.
• Integrated BI tools are being used for revenue optimisation and monitoring, and building demands through technology.
Critical success factors for technology at heritage properties:
• A technology roadmap and strategy should be in complete sync with business strategies, clearly defined roles and ROI matrices.
• The CIO or technology head should directly report to the board of directors.
• Information and awareness of regulatory compliance to the technology department.
• Competency of the IT team, with domain expertise of the industry.
• A considerable stakeholder acceptance level and technological awareness.