Digital has emerged as an integral part of all businesses in India and in the hospitality industry, digital does not constitute the core activities of the business but a communication platform that has seen good adoption over the course of last few years. Digital is a perfect platform that allows the hotelier to stay connected with the consumer.
“Hoteliers are doing a good job in terms of usage of technology to service its guests but are lagging behind in terms of using digital to acquire new consumers,” said Siddharth Dabhade, Head of Travel Verticle at Google at the debut of India Digital Hospitality Conference and Awards 2015. The event was organised by Digital Market Asia which brought together hotelier and hospitality service providers in the domain to discuss digital opportunities and challenges in the hospitality space.
Baldev Dhir, Head of Digital Marketing at ITC Ltd Hotels Division emphasised on the evolving state of technology in India. “Seriousness of hotel towards digital is increasing but there is a large scope of improvement on the infrastructure front that is required for digital communication by hotels in India,” he said.
The industry is going through a phase of transition but infrastructure in digital hospitality is lacking in term of awareness of the subject, resources, technological set-up but Mr Dhir believes that the space has seen improvement in the last three years and is expected to grow further, going forward.
Nevertheless, the secret of digital lies in integrating the use of digital as a channel of communication and give your consumer what he is looking for at the right point of time. Digital technology cannot replace human touch which is crucial in the industry but digital can be seen as a way how consumers are looking at the business, according to Aditi Sud, Head of Digital at Starwoods Hotel.
Furthermore, Mr Dabhade also decoded the big data story of digital hospitality in India. The huge amount of data cannot be ignored and it is interpretation and usage of consumer data that is key to successful marketing. Another critical feature of data in digital hospitality is real-time as pointed by Ms Sud.
Therefore, data must be used as insights to learn about the tastes and preference of the customer and this will help the development of India digital hospitality industry to the next level. Summing the experience in data insights, Mr Dhir said that the aspirations of the millennials are not widely different but with the advent of social media the way they express it has changed.