conichi think tank: the future of the hospitality industry

On February 20th we gathered a couple of dozen industry leaders and experts to come together for our conichi think tank, hosted by our Product Evangelist Rob Hornman. 

On February 20th we gathered a couple of dozen industry leaders and experts to come together for our conichi think tank, hosted by our Product Evangelist Rob Hornman. This offered a rare opportunity for participants to exchange thoughts and talk in an informal atmosphere. The goal of the day was to discuss and debate the overall direction of tomorrow’s hospitality industry, and what better place to host this than Soho House, right in the heart of Berlin’s cutting edge startup scene. The participants’ day focused around two main workshops led by Michael Buller (VIR) and Prof. Dr. Roland Conrady (FH Worms), interspersed with keynotes from relevant experts. The workshops allowed for a better understanding of future developments within the field, the participants’ respective expertise and experience in the tourism industry was fundamental to shaping the key ideas and thoughts throughout the course of the day.Martin Biermann (VP Product, HRS Group & HRS Innovation Hub) spoke of the importance and central role played by Artificial Intelligence. Innovation through digitalization is already being used by technology companies in other industries to enhance and continuously improve user experiences, developments that lead to increased engagement and usage. Bringing AI into the world of tourism could allow for a more personalised experience which meets the growing needs of today’s travellers, especially with Millennials, who will account for 50% of all business travel spending by 2020 (BCG). Participants also heard from Bernd Schlömer (Spokesman for Civil Rights and Digitalization - Free Democratic Party Germany) about the advances in digitalization and the issues of security  that surround it. This highlighted the importance of the security of personal data when thinking to innovate within the hospitality industry. Pia Poppenreiter’s (CEO & Co-Founder Ohlala) talk then focused on the opportunities to personalize the guest journey so as to bring more emotion into the entire hotel experience. To wrap things up Keith Teare (co-Founder of TechCrunch, among others) gave an insightful talk on the internet of people, places and things. He focused on the missed opportunities of connecting people’s arrivals to specific locations, at particular times, with relevant data. Open, scalable and connected data platforms would allow for the collection and intelligent consolidation of this information leading to enhanced and personalised user experiences.The overall consensus that stemmed from these pitches and discussions was that guests expect more from their hotel experiences. All aspects of life are becoming digitalized and enhanced through artificial intelligence. Though we must stay vigilant surrounding issues of data security, the hotel industry must become more connected and personalised.  The participants’ blend of tourism, hospitality and tech expertise led to fruitful discussions that not only helped identify the above mentioned future trends, but also initial ideas on how to create intelligent solutions that unite these three elements together in order to stay at the forefront of innovation. To round off a productive and insightful day, the participants enjoyed the craftsmanship of the Soho House bartenders, with accompaniments by one of Spotify’s hottest newcomers, Sara Hartman. To close the day, Audi think tank shuttles brought participants to Kreuzberg where they tasted some Our/Vodka Berlin and then had a final dinner with exciting cuisine at Crackers Restaurant. Stay tuned for the next conichi think tank where we hope to push the boundaries of the industry even further and create revolutionary solutions.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDTFQt-pRMw[/embed]