Testbed’s Top Reading – November

Thanksgiving is past us for another year and now we prepare to end the year, and the decade as we complete our teens and become twenty year olds in the 21st Century.

Without people there is no hospitality.

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The year moves towards an end with industry events gearing organisations for budgeting season, instilling thoughts for new business initiatives in the world of travel & hospitality tech. We started the month with Vegas Startup Weekend and a Travel & Hospitality focus. In the middle of the month we joined Expedia’s annual event to learn about what’s coming up from one of the world’s travel giants. We weren’t surprised to hear the news of Mark Okerstrom moving out.

Among all of that we kept abreast of some of the bigger news. Here’s what caught our eye in November.

It’s no Mirage – The resort that changed Las Vegas 30 years later

Steve Wynn took a big gamble in 1989 when he decided to change the whole dynamic of what a Casino property could look like in a modern Las Vegas. That gamble turned out to be the blueprint for the next generation of the Las Vegas destination. That is why Steve Wynn is recognized as a pioneer of the modern gaming experience.

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With the Mirage the scale of entertainment, food and beverage, gaming and the room experience all changed creating a significant destination experience that spawned the model for future properties, culminating in his eventual build of Wynn and Encore. Generally recognized as the top tier Integrated Resort experience in Las Vegas.

KNPR interviewed members of the executive staff who built and opened the property. A great interview and it’s clear that what became de rigueur was no sure thing in the beginning.

Just Google it! – The shift in online travel behavior

There’s a rumble in the jungle. Google’s migration toward to the improved presentation of travel related information for flights, hotels and tours and activities, while in may ways inevitable is impacting the major industry OTA’s at Expedia and Booking Holdings.

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Testbed Vegas attended the Expedia annual conference in Las Vegas this month and it was clear that a shift in business direction was top of mind. Expedia’s Diller again lamented the stranglehold of information that Google has in competition with their business model.

Testbed Vegas has previously published our thoughts on the impact of Google in Travel. In this article Skift uncovers the pressure the changed business conditions are bringing to the OTA community.

Are we having Tech for Dinner?

Things are heating up in the Food and Beverage technology arena.

High time in our view, but exciting as well with Food and Beverage operators pushing beyond the boundary of Point of Sale technology and appreciating that they need to become a more sophisticated business.

It’s one of the most exciting areas of hospitality technology today and big things are going to happen in the industry sector. This article from Forbes examines the overall ecosystem and demonstrates some of the growth opportunity that are ready and waiting for the business of food and beverage. Order up!

Smart Gambling

For some this may be a contradiction in terms. However, smart tech is coming to the Table gaming operations of Casino’s. Even in 2019 the operational processes and tracking of Table game player behavior is a manual process. The most talented of dealers, shift and Pit bosses can’t hope to keep an accurate track of a busy gaming table.

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Enter technology. For many years the technology company’s serving the casino industry have worked hard on tech to automate this part of the operation. Now that RFID and video has become ubiquitous massive change is on the verge. Automatic counting of chips and bets in real time. Intelligent video counting money and chips and tracking bet placement all linked back to a players loyalty account. It’s a brave new world and finally will provide gaming operators with real visibility into every transaction on a card table. Scientific Games and Aristocrat both demonstrated powerful technology at Octobers’s G2E in Las Vegas.

Read more about innovation coming to the gaming experience from Vegas Travel & Hospitality Tech’s Future Gaming Experience event recap.

Gaming in Bed?

In a previous life Testbed Vegas witnessed the conversion of hotel rooms to casino gaming spaces in an effort to meet the demand of gamblers needing more space to gamble.

Flexi Checki! A term we’ve coined for the ability to check in and out as you need to.

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But what about gambling in your hotel room? This is considered to be the next logical space to deliver the gambling experience and we are not referring to online gaming. In this article from CDC the guest room migrating toward a personalized gaming experience looks to be a very real version of the future.

Perhaps you will be able to order your own personal dealer! The possibilities are endless.

Stay Human

Without people there is no hospitality. It is a human experience and something only people can deliver to each other.

For that reason in a world of fast encroaching technology Testbed Vegas is excited when we see industry professionals striving to maintain the art of hospitality supported through technology. When through our insatiable lust for automation all the people are gone we will have achieved the utopian state of ‘Dormitory Management’. Is that what is meant by the term ‘Lodging’?

We are not enamored! Here are some examples of travel and hospitality people striving to keep the experience a human one. Beware that we throw out the baby with the bathwater!

Come and go as you please! On Video?

Flexi Checki! A term we’ve coined for the ability to check in and out as you need to. Of all the things that make a difference to a hotel guest we think this is one of the most important. The technology exists to enable this ability and Testbed Vegas would argue that it has for a very long time.

Now there are hotel operators embracing this service to improve the guest experience. Hear Hear! It’s a great thing. Sure, there will be circumstances where this is not able to be achieved 100% of the time. But the reality is that guest do arrive and leave at all hours of the day and with information and an average room turnaround of 30 minutes it should be more prevalent than it has been.

Although we are not so sure about being videoed! A hotel is meant to be a place of privacy and discretion. Hoteliers have traditionally prided themselves on protection of the guest identity and whereabouts. In Singapore they have begun a trial to record the coming ,going and identity of the guest. Not sure how we feel about that!

The Get Away

The hard stuff is out of the way. Now for this months escapism. We’re taking you to Australia on the Great Ocean Road. One of the great drives in Australia. Click the image below to enjoy the ride.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s reading and you are just alittle more enlightened about travel and hospitality. We’ll look forward to reconnecting with you in January.

Testbed Vegas wishes you a wonderful festive season!