The Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, took part in July in the Costa del Sol Forum on the Digitalization of the Tourism Industry, organized by the Malaga Council and El Confidencial. This major event reflects the wish of the industry to close the digital gap in Spain, a country which is number one in tourism competitiveness but 29th in the ranking of countries regarding digital technology.
In his presentation, “The hotel industry and the challenge of digital transformation”, Meliá’s senior executive explained the company’s strategy to adapt and continue to lead the industry in the modern digital environment. Escarrer clarified that “digital transformation” is not just about technology and sales channels, it also requires the adaptation of organizational structures, culture, skills, roles, systems and processes to the new business environment. According to Escarrer, “being digital must involve the entire value chain in the industry and, above all, all of our people: the new employee is the key to success in becoming more and more digital.”
After reviewing major trends such as technological disruption, the importance of digital media, social networks, Internet use and mobile devices, innovation clusters and demographics, Escarrer explained the four major areas of digitalization in the industry: Big Data, hyper-segmentation and the personalization of the customer experience and value proposition, omnichannel e-commerce and new digital business models.
The Meliá CEO then explained the key features in the transformation process which has placed the company at the forefront of the industry:
- Revenue strategy, revenue management and business excellence
- Enhanced customer loyalty and customer lifetime value
- Sales model adapted to the digital environment (B2B and B2C)
- Increasing importance of online channels over offline channels
- New responsive, multi-language website
- Digital transformation of the core business:
- Customer journey
- 360º customer experience in the hotel
- Digital talent
- Data management to guide decision making
With respect to Big Data, Escarrer explained that the contents of the website will soon be personalized for each different visitor depending on their buying history, loyalty, activity in social media, etc. in order to offer them the best experience and the most relevant messages and thus maximize the conversion of searches into reservations. Escarrer concluded that Big Data will allow the hyper-segmentation of our value proposition for more specific audiences and thus optimize our relationship with our customers.