Year in review: Pentahotels
As part of our Year in Review series, I present an excerpt from my interview earlier this year with Heiko Rieder, VP of Revenue Management and Reservations at Pentahotels, a global brand of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels serving upper-mid market business and leisure travellers at 29 locations in eight countries on two continents.
As a brand that prides itself on providing an experience which is simultaneously luxurious and informally relaxed, Rieder and his team are constantly using technology to support the agile values and vision of the brand in a way that accounts for an ever-changing world. Rieder and I talked digital transformation, CSR and the changing nature of the hospitality space.
There are many things that make up a truly great hospitality experience: a sense of luxury, peacefulness, access to new and exciting activities – ask someone why they enjoyed their stay or meal somewhere and you could get a different answer every time. From fluffy towels and exquisite room service to eye-catching art on the lobby walls, at the heart of each and every positive experience is, it could be argued, a sense of attentiveness to the needs of the guest. Identifying and providing what will genuinely delight a guest can be the difference between a lifelong customer and a damning TripAdvisor review. This obviously applies to the entire length and breadth of the customer experience, from the moment of booking to check out and beyond. Therefore, if the desires and habits of its customers change, a hotel needs to change with it.
“We’re monitoring a significant shift in behaviour driven by younger generations of business and leisure travellers,” explains Heiko Rieder, Vice President of Revenue Management and Reservations at Pentahotels, noting that Millennials and members of Generation Z expect a greater degree of flexibility in terms of business travel. We sat down with Rieder to explore the ways in which Pentahotels is harnessing innovative technologies, embracing a new ideology centred around corporate social responsibility and forging new collaborative partnerships with companies dedicated to digitally transforming the guest experience in response to changing demographics and customer priorities.
“We’re actually seeing talent choose their employer based on the flexibility of the company’s travel policy,” he says. “Also, it’s very important to them that, at the beginning or end of a business trip, they can add a night or two, which brings together the business and leisure components of their trip.” The rise in “bleisure” travel is well documented: global technology company Expedia found that, of the approximately 400mn Americans that travelled long-distance for business in 2018, approximately 60% of them extended their trip by at least a day. “We’re seeing more and more business travellers, who would previously have been gone by Friday, stay through the weekend,” observes Rieder. “It’s a good business opportunity for us, and one we need to be properly equipped for.” Sustainability and social responsibility are also becoming key decision-making factors in the minds of younger travellers.
One of the major trends in the hotel space (alongside almost every other space) that has emerged in recent years is the increased emphasis that customers place on sustainability. Last year, The Shelton Group reported that, in the US workforce, 79% of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, a statistic with clear implications for a hotel brand looking to attract guests. Pentahotels has been actively pursuing a CSR-centric strategy for several years. “We had a change of senior management here and our president, Mr Eugène Staal, has changed the way we think and act regarding CSR,” says Rieder. “He has fully incorporated CSR into our culture and we believe that it’s something the target group that visits our hotels feels is important. We have launched several very creative campaigns focusing on contributing to our hotels’ surrounding neighbourhoods and the environment as a whole.”
For more on the intersection of sustainability, technology and customer service at Pentahotels, click here to read the full article in our digital brochure.
IoT market expected to grow due to increase in IoT use cases
An increase in the internet of things use cases is expected to drive the IoT service market, according to the IoT Services Global Market Report 2021: COVID-10 Growth and Change to 2030.
IoT has found its use in many areas over the years. It can be used in manufacturing, farming, smart cities, transportation and in many other industries and fields.
Due to the fact it can be utilised in many industries, there is an increased need for IoT services and applications. IoT services that provide support by delivering services such as consulting, data management, network management and security services, are in much higher demand.
The impact of COVID-19 on the IoT services market
According to the report, the global IoT services market is expected to grow from $139.24 billion in 2020 to $162.39 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6%.
In the coming years, the IoT managed services market size is expected to reach $381.16 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 24%.
This growth lends itself to companies resuming operations and adapting to the new normal as we emerge and recover from the pandemic.
Previously, COVID-19 restrictions led to restrictive containment measures, remote working and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges.
IoT use cases driving growth
The IoT services market consists of the sales of IoT services and their related products. IoT services are delivered by the IoT services providers. These providers provide consulting, security and analytics services as per the requirements of the business.
Major players in the IoT services industry are Cisco Systems, Cognizant, Google, Infosys and Tieto Corporation, to name a few.
An increase in IoT use cases is expected to drive the IoT service market; this is where IoT can be used to automate processes and increase productivity. As it has found many uses cases over the years, this increases the demand for IoT services and this is expected to drive growth.
Enhancing deployment workloads with edge or cloud computing
Despite the expected growth, low enterprise adoption is expected to hinder the IoT services market. Although IoT has its use in many industries, due to factors such as low awareness, enterprise adoption is low, the report states.
Only 29% of enterprises have adopted IoT solutions according to the Omida data survey.
Edge or cloud computing however is enhancing the deployment workload on IoT devices, according to the report. This solution facilitates data processing and data storage in the cloud.
Microsoft released its Azure IoT Edge recently. This fully managed service is built on Azure IoT Hub. By moving certain workloads to the edge of the network, businesses that utilise Microsoft’s IoT platform spend less time communicating with the cloud, react more quickly to local changes and operate reliably in extended offline periods.
The IoT Services Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Growth and Change to 2030 is one of a series of new reports from The Business Research Company that provides an IoT services market overview