HITT speakers & sponsors: Transformation will be radical

HITT speakers & sponsors: Transformation will be radical

(April 19, 2019). “I would love to have the problems of the hotel industry!” Dr Marc Schumacher meant that seriously in the preparatory discussion leading up to his appearance at the 2nd HITT Think Tank on the seminar ship in Berlin on May 19/20. According to the retail specialist from Liganova, this industry – in contrast to most other industries – has ideal prerequisites for the digital era. It is just not aware of the fact.

This is exactly what HITT wants to achieve: an open discussion with people who think outside the box and who encourage hoteliers to embark on the new “experience economy”. Register now under www.hitt.world. Our sponsors of the first HITT will also be there again, and they will tell you here and now how they see the development in digitisation, and why they are back at the 2nd Think Tank.
“When the HITT Think Tank event was born last year we were enthusiastic: this new approach – offering a joint stage for hotel development, financing, investment, hotel management and technology experts was needed in times of digitalization. And the first HITT Think Tank last year was a great start into an era of exchange – with experts from all disciplines openly discussing future requirements of successful companies and where they see challenges which need to be addressed to stay on top of the industry. Guess what? – we’ve discovered that they are more or less the same,” says Richard Wiegmann, Managing Director & Chief Commercial Officer EMEA of Sabre Hospitality Solutions. “This is why Sabre is back in the Think Tank,” he adds.

Sabre Hospitality took home valuable insights from the first Think Tank, and prioritized a hospitality tool in the central lab at the company headquarters in Dallas: HITT participants will be the first to hear about it exclusively!

Sabre: Transformation will be radical!

“The forthcoming transformation will be radical for hoteliers,” emphasises Wiegmann, bringing retail into play as an example industry: “What we are seeing in the travel industry, in particular the retailing experience of the hospitality space, is the growing demand for a dynamic customer engagement. The opportunity for hotels is big… It demands enablement through deep retailing technology to sell any item or service, just as easy as selling rooms at different rates today. A pivotal element of these retailing capabilities is to encode every sellable entity – room, spa appointment, dinner package, event tickets – as a merchandizing unit, just like any typical retail business.”

Customer service on Four Season’s level

Holger Greif, Head of Digital Transformation at PwC Schweiz AG, shows to what extent this transformation will develop into a rollercoaster ride in the near future. He develops digital strategies with companies from all sectors, and knows where the hotel industry stands. His colleague, Nicolas Mayer, Leading Partner of Lodging & Tourism Clients Group EMEA, will delve into the deeper challenges of the hotel world and has already aroused curiosity in the preliminary talk with statements like this: “Customer service will reach the level of Four Seasons everywhere.”

AccorHotels: Challenge and opportunity at the same time!

AccorHotels feels that the general awareness regarding digitisation has risen sharply throughout the hotel industry, and, of course, within its own company, which has already begun its transformation. “We consider this both a challenge and a big chance at the same time,” says Daniela Schade, Chief Operating Officer Central Europe at AccorHotels, referring to the new, highly digital loyalty programme named “ALL – Accor Live Limitless”: “Our customers can use it to redeem bonus points for cross-brand offers at any time and almost effortlessly via a website or app in a global network. We trust in ‘money can’t buy’ experiences that our guests receive in exchange for their loyalty points.”

Experience economy on the rise

This brings us back to the “experience economy” mentioned by Marc Schumacher, in which hotel lobbies and rooms play an important role within a dedicated network. And this trend will no longer be a matter for operators alone. Quite the opposite: digital networking will allow brand concepts to merge with real estate and literally penetrate the walls of the buildings.

Drees & Sommer: Emerging victorious as an asset class

When it comes to the residential sector and construction of mixed-use complexes (which increasingly integrate hotels or serviced apartments), the understanding of digitisation has already progressed further than in the hotel industry. The second HITT post event in Aachen made this clear: the internationally active project manager of Drees & Sommer invited the young HITT community to the RWTH campus in February 2019, where the company has an office in order to be as close as possible to the 40 tech companies accelerating their research there.

“This all-day workshop on ‘smart hotels’ provided concrete examples to show everyone how far digitisation has advanced in the real estate sector and especially in user real estate, and what opportunities, chances and challenges currently exist. We believe that the hospitality industry must learn from these examples if it is to sustain its position as an attractive asset class,” says Gesa Rohwedder, Head of Hospitality at Drees & Sommer, summing up this excursion into the future. “We are looking forward to continuing this excursion at the 2nd HITT in Berlin,” she said happily in Aachen and pledged her continued support as an HITT sponsor.


Richard Wiegmann, Managing Director & Chief Commercial Officer EMEA of Sabre Hospitality Solutions:
“We work with our partners and customers, as much as HospitalityInside is, to anticipate the tech and consumers trends, not only to talk about them. We are seeing the big picture, and silos are not contemplated: we all need to collaborate to drive the innovation forward. And this is why we are enthusiastic to join and support the HITT Think Tank also in 2019.”

Gesa Rohweder, Head of Hospitality at Drees & Sommer:
Digitalisation meets Legacy.
“Drees & Sommer is very pleased to be a partner at the 2nd HITT again this year and spend a day with various, lateral thinking and interested experts from the hospitality industry.”

Daniela Schade, Managing Director Accor Central Europe at AccorHotels:
“We are very glad to be back at HITT as a partner in 2019, and to be able to continue the exchange with the community that has formed since last year.
HITT is an innovative format that reflects our principle of out-of-the-box thinking and, in the course of this, also promotes exchanging ideas with other industries. As a company, we benefit from this mutual learning and can thus further advance our innovations and develop new concepts.”

Aside from the mentioned sponsors, Europe’s leading real estate and investment trade fair, EXPO REAL Munich, is also loyal to HITT and will continue supporting the “floating forum” in 2019.