Transforming Hospitality Technology Trends in China

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Written By: Evita Ma

It was a great honor to attend the China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA) Global Annual Conference held in Lijiang, China, this November. The conference was held in such a beautiful, ancient town, and the opportunity to listen to various views shared by industry experts was impressive and extremely beneficial. The conference itself had several innovative and interesting highlights, in terms of operation and marketing effects.

As China’s live-streaming sites have become increasingly popular, internet real-time broadcast was devised. This concept provides a platform to encourage the engagement of on-site participants and online audiences. Through this platform, people can raise questions, take surveys after each speech and even vote for the speakers they like. Every on-site participant has $200 (in virtual money) to reward the presenters at will. This new trial on live-streaming breaks the traditional settings of audiences listen to the speakers present on stage – it adds more dimensions of interaction between on-site and off-site participants.

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The China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA) Global Annual Conference was held in Lijiang, China from November 2-4, 2016.

Several keynotes were emphasized in the conference, pinpointing topics such as shared economy, big data and emerging technologies. The benefits and challenges of a shared economy pattern were addressed by several speakers. Tujia, the Chinese version of Airbnb, launched a customized program for guests who want to experience something extraordinary, like sleeping inside a museum. Safety and trust issues were also discussed across the table. Shared economy is not only limited to rooms – loyalty programs, restaurant and staff can also be shared in the future. Labor shortage is a critical issue for the hospitality industry. However, we expect that there will be a control center to allocate staff based on the demand, since different hotels might have different seasonality within a city. Certainly, training and compliance with laws will also be important concerns in due course.

Big data has become a hot topic in many industries. For hospitality professionals, big data is like a gold mine. It will be great if you can find the gold, but you will waste a lot of effort and resources if there were only sand all around. The value of big data lies in recognizing and helping to understand consumer behavior, providing personalized services and optimizing hotel operations and revenue management. However, limited data sources, imperfect data processing and analytical methods impedes their in-depth application. A third party is needed to help establish the big data platform to consolidate and share the information, instead.

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Sam Li, head of business development at HTC Vive, discusses virtual reality at the 2016 CHTA Global Conference.

Faced with a rapidly changing market and technological advances, hoteliers need to evaluate different new products and choose the most appropriate one. Robotics, virtual/augmented reality, etc., are all eye-catching technologies that can provide an entirely new experience, but time is needed to examine how to utilize these emerging technologies effectively and efficiently.

Transforming has become the trend of the hospitality industry. From the impact of shared economy to cross-border entrepreneurs stepping into the market, the global tourism and hotel industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. Hospitality groups and technology entrepreneurs around the world should work together to address industry challenges. Only in this manner can we find the way into the future with less resistance and more power.

ma_e131x175Evita Ma is the executive director at the HFTP Asia Research Center. Contact Evita at evita.ma@hftp.org or +1 (512) 220-4039.

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