When it comes to travel and technology, one does not exist without the other, according to Drew Bowering, senior director – market management at Expedia.

Bowering said the way Expedia approaches innovation from a technological mindset is through the “framework of innovation”.

He said, “It’s three stages…It starts with empathise, moves to invest and then moves to evolve.”

At a recent panel hosted by Expedia, experts discussed innovation within the hotel industry and the effects of digital disruption.

Crown Group-owned Skye Hotel and Suites has been around for the past two years with developments in Parramatta, Sydney CBD and in Green Square.

General manager Wayne Taranto said the company saw a gap in the market, especially in apartment hotels when it came to the technology the hotel provided.

Skye Hotel and Suite Green Square location

He said, “We’ve got iPads in our guestrooms, like a virtual concierge, that synchronises to a Skye app which guests use when they make a booking so they can download that app and enables them to upload a digital key so they can use that instead of a hard key so they can access their guestroom, lifts and amenities we have in the hotels.”

“There is operating systems within the hotel that is all cloud based, we are the first hotel in Australia to rollout a cloud based system for all our operating systems.

“As an administrator for our brand I can access our energy efficiency tools, any of our property management system, our music system. Every system that we operate I have on my smartphone.”

Dai Williams, SVP global partnerships at SiteMinder noted two big areas of innovation.

He said, “The first one is the emergence of the super businesses getting into the travel space, in particular like Google and Alibaba, who are interested in how they can interact with the travel ecosystem.

“The second one is the rise of the product applications for hotels of all sizes to interact with their guests effectively. You’re talking about the fulfilment of transaction, making the bookings with the hotel, how you interact before the stay, during and after the stay is something the hotel can control entirely through technology products.”

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