Hotels in the Middle East need to look at technology as an investment rather than a cost. That is according to Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice president, operations and development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International.
He was speaking at a panel discussion on the future of PMS and guest-facing technology at the HITEC Dubai event.
“We all know investing in technology helps to reduce operation costs, increases efficiency and results in better business conversion and profitability,” he said.
“Yet, budget is the biggest constraint and challenge in technology upgrades. In our business technology is taken as a cost rather than an investment. Often hotel owners’ and operators’ technology priorities are not in sync, and in many cases at odds.”
According to industry reports, in the hospitality sector, IT spending in the Middle East is considerably lower than in regions like the USA.
“This is mainly due to large number of smaller, independent properties in the Middle East which do not enjoy massive tech budgets like big brands. Until recently PMS has been the single biggest technology investment by hotels,” he said.
“However, there are other technology priorities that hotels in the region need to address such as higher internet brand-width for faster speed, seamless integration of mobile technology and upgrades of in-room entertainment systems. Also, Data security is extremely critical, particularly compliance requirements for payment cards in the era of mobile.”
He added that the hospitality industry needs software that can keep up with the changes.