Adrian Ellis MI FIH, General Manager at The Lowry and Chairman of the Hotel Leadership Conference.

How important is technology for the future of the hospitality industry?

Technology is moving at an alarming pace in the Hospitality industry and businesses need to adapt quickly. The importance of understanding what is available and how to use this is becoming increasingly important for industry leaders. There are opportunities here to improve efficiencies, guest services and the work environment for team members and therefore understanding how this can be impacted by technology is crucial to the success of a business in the future.

In your experience, how can hoteliers balance technology and the personal customer experience?

The advancement of technology shouldn’t be confused with replacing our customer service. The idea of much of what is available today and in the future, is to enhance the guest journey. Technology should be able to provide more information, create new guest experiences and improve the overall service to our guests. The ability to create bespoke packages/offers or experiences will be there for Hoteliers to use and the availability of more and faster information to help the guest make choices will enhance the overall experience.

What do you think has held back the industry from investing in new technologies previously?

I believe that there has been some nervousness about new technology and how it can work alongside a people driven business. There is also the investment and research budgets which typically have been low for hotel companies. There is a concern from operators that guest services might be impacted, and that technology would replace staff in their properties. I think there needs to be much greater emphasis on enhancement of service and efficiencies with technology rather than replacing team members.

What should attendees expect from the Hotel Leadership Conference?

The conference will provide an insight into new technologies that are coming to the market. On day one the conference explores the technologies that are available today and what is coming up or being talked about for the coming 10 to 15 years. It will encourage Hoteliers to embrace the future and to get on board with technologies that are being discussed. The second day is much more about the human aspect of managing with technology talking about how to prepare your employees managing the ethics around technology and preparing leadership styles for the future.

How did you come up with the theme Breaking Boundaries?

We wanted a conference that looks past the next twelve months. We wanted to look at what’s out there for hospitality 10 to 15 years from now. We wanted to break down the fear of technology and ask hoteliers to embrace the future. We want our delegates to break down their mental boundaries about what’s possible and give them some tips and ideas of what they need to be thinking of, to prepare their businesses for an exciting future.

How do you think that Hoteliers can Break Boundaries in the future?

I think the guest experience and travel will reach a point where technology allows the customer/guest to make travel easier without the need for documentation and hotels will adapt to provide more than just a place to rest your head or have breakfast in the morning. Hoteliers will be more creative in their offers providing increased technology alongside multiple guest experiences which will allow hotels to become community hubs or destinations in their own right.

How do you plan to implement further technology at The Lowry?

We are looking at advancements that can be made in back-office functions and how we can further improve our services to our guests. We are looking at introducing technology to help our inventory and laundry management whilst front of house we are looking at apps for personalised services/experiences for our guests and for guests attending events.

What is your advice to Hoteliers that are on the fence about implementing new technologies?

My advice is to embrace the new technology that is out there and don’t be concerned/frightened about its impact. The opportunities are there to learn and adapt and technology providers are keen to talk to operators about how this can be introduced into operations. I would recommend that Hoteliers attend an event like the Hotel Leadership Conference or speak to any of our amazing sponsors to see how technology is advancing and the opportunities that are now becoming available.

 

The Hotel Leadership Conference is being held at Park Plaza London Riverbank on January 15-16 2024, where industry leaders will meet and discuss the future of the hospitality sector. To find out more about the conference and to book tickets, please click here.