GET TO KNOW: Tim Harlech-Jones, Business Development Director, Bentel Associates International
1. What do you believe has been the key changes in the hospitality sector over the past five years?
I think technology and changing consumer behaviour have had the most profound effect on the sector in recent years. These changes have brought about new thinking with respect to public area and guestroom design, the integration of technology and services, and the evolution of smaller format hotels (like pod hotels) and new lifestyle brands.
2. Where do you see the three key challenges in the industry over the next five years?
1. Personalising the customer experience – people are expecting experiences, especially when it comes to Generation Z (post-Millenials), who will be entering the market over the next 5 years;
2. Perpetuation of technology – this has had a profound change in the sector over the past few years. It does not only influence design, but also refers to the changing habits of what people are looking for or expect from a hotel;
3. Competition by ‘disruptors’ of the industry – the hospitality industry has changed dramatically and with it, people’s expectations when it comes to travel. The formal hotel market is being challenged on price and experience, and is a threat which will not abate;
3. You are a panelist at this year’s Hospitality Leadership Forum, what are you most looking forward to discussing?
As a Designer involved with hotels and resorts, across multiple segments and brands, I am looking forward to comparing notes on major trends and changes to the future of hospitality design.
4. The hospitality sector is undergoing huge change. What are the three tips you would give for success in the coming five years.
1. Expanding guest convenience with technology throughout the property; 2. Providing meaningful customer experiences through design;
3. Sustainability of design – not only should the hotels be eco-friendly, but also design forward to adapt to future changes;
5. And are there any specific areas in the (sub-Saharan) African hospitality market that you believe are unique?
In my experience, every market is different and unique in their own way. However, Ethiopia is a very untapped hospitality market at present and has excellent airlift and connectivity to all parts of Africa and further across the globe. There are a plethora of new hotel deals signed in the country, and expect the supply to grow in the coming years. What is also interesting and unique
about this market is that Ethiopia has a different calendar which includes for a thirteenth month, and in fact some tourist advertisements I’ve come across market Ethiopia as having ’13 months of sunshine’ – a unique selling point indeed!
6. Which type of people do you believe would gain the most from attending your session this year?
The session very much covers Hotel Architecture and Design and intends to include discussion points on trends, challenges and changes in the industry – it would be interesting to fellow professionals, designers, hotel owners and/or operators and suppliers of trade equipment to the industry.