And the beat-ing goes on. August ’20.

And the beat-ing goes on. Testbed Vegas

By August the enduring and unending dialogue of the Corona virus continues for the global travel and hospitality industry. Some signs of positive change, but gradual and enduring pain and suffering across the industry from a business and staffing impact perspective.

Without service a hotel is a well decorated dormitory! You heard it at Testbed Vegas. How do you feel about paying $300 a night for a dormitory room?

We have a little time to think about the big picture. Speaking of time did you realize that Google is now 21 years old as a company. A company that has such a major impact on almost the entire planet with an extensive range of products for any number of uses and applications. Particularly for Travel. Becoming so pervasive they are now receiving the not undue amount of attention from governments all over the world. This month along with their other big tech friends they will have an appointment with the US government. Hopefully, the experience will be handled more professionally than the earlier Zuckerberg goes to Washington flop. Where to now for Google?

What of the future for travel? From the soaring highs of 2019 and a roaring start to 2020 the bottom has fallen out of the boat. Such an immediate reversal in fortune with a savage impact has caused many to think about a whole new travel world. Do you think travel will permanently change? There is no doubt some immediate impact must be addressed. We sense a recovery and a return to normal in the future, with health being a constant in the operational reality. Until we forget. Remember the Spanish Flu of 1919?

Maybe there’s an App for that? Although apparently not for much longer. On a macro technology level the shift is happening and consumers realize they can only handle and are only willing to have so many Apps on their mobile device. What does that mean for the future of technology?

This month, Vegas under COVID, Service in hospitality, Ghost restaurants, big breaches and flying with them, For that matter flying solo too. Then a behind the doors expose in hospitality. Enjoy!

The dirty Boulevard

Las Vegas Strip. Testbed Vegas.

We are back! At least in a small way. Las Vegas is in business again and slowly but surely the lifeblood of the town comes to life, masks, and all! If you have not ever visited Las Vegas the scale of hospitality and gaming operations is hard to comprehend. These are massive businesses and enormous hotel/resorts in their own right.

For all the effort that the various operators have applied it was only to be expected that there would be positive cases of the virus. After all, you can’t bring people together from different places without such transmission. Southern Nevada has done a good job of containment, but now the visitors have arisen and of course the case growth has escalated again.

And when a little hope came to the valley it was again dashed with the announcement of CES not going ahead in January 2021. Much is hinged on this event in Las Vegas and the roll-on effect will impact all of the businesses in town. Events have a long tail of financial benefit.

Meanwhile and in pursuit of a happier time the construction continues with the new resort offerings in the city. This month Circa in downtown Las Vegas revealed the Mega Pool experience. In a town known for unique poolside entertainment Circa unveiled their stadium pool complete with a massive screen for entertainment and sports presentations

Enter the largest gaming operator in the USA. The Eldorado-Caesars merger completes with the company retaining the Caesars moniker and combining the operation of more than 50 gaming properties. That’s a lot of Chips! Although it’s also a ‘few’ less employees. With scale comes economy and there will be human casualties of the merger.

Go West! We’re not only building in Las Vegas. We’re also building a rail line to the coast. Well not quite. But in a positive development the zoning and commencement approvals for the new high speed train to the greater Los Angeles valley is progressing. When complete you will be able to disembark on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Are you being served?

Bubble Tent and Hotel. Testbed Vegas.

Old School service. With a background in high end hospitality it’s a term that sits comfortably. Except for the ‘old school’ part. Is there any other kind of service? After all what is a hotel without an outstanding service experience? Technology enables an even higher levels of attentiveness to the guest. This factoid is sometimes lost in the process of tech-enablement. Hear about service from the Butler at The Plaza hotel.

Without service a hotel is a well decorated dormitory! You heard it at Testbed Vegas. How do you feel about paying $300 a night for a dormitory room?

Speaking of service, here are some observations from a man who has experienced his fair share of high-end hospitality around the world. Even better that he appreciates it and recognizes the challenges presented by the Virus! Prince Charles on hospitality professionals.

What about an inflatable hotel room? Conjures up a range of ideas as to what type of experience that could deliver. Wonder no more and hear what’s it’s like to stay in a Bubble Hotel.

What’s going on in brand world? Choice has some choices to make on the future of their workforce given the pandemic challenges. Marriott chief Arne Sorenson is also talking about the future of their workforce and the industry in general. Meanwhile the encroachment of more and more bland brands continues with some asking the question of how many brands one company can proffer while being true to even one of them. We forget that it was not that long ago that a hotel corporation was known for one or two brands. The best ones still are. It’s a question of hospitality and product and service driven customer experience or just getting enough flags out there for the corporate road warrior to hang their hat for some more points. One mans feast is another man’s famine.

Have you heard about contact less technology………..? You’d have to be hiding out in a Corona virus safe cave to not have heard that the path to salvation is the swift introduction of technology to industry. In fairness to industry, technology has a large role on overall improvement to the entire hospitality experience and Testbed Vegas is a proponent of this reality. Although the current commercial challenges have property (think real estate) owners spinning when the question of tech-investment based recovery is on the table. If nothing else, it is an inflection point for all of us to consider in terms of the role of technology and the type of experience the guest will have in the future. Whenever that is!

We also enjoyed hearing from friend and industry veteran, Jason Floyd of Infor Hospitality talking about his journey and approach to technology.

The next generation technology consultant for the modern travel & hospitality world.

Flying by the seat of the pants

There’s not a whole lot of flying going on at the moment. Period. It is likely that the situation will continue for some time to come. In fact, certain locations and countries around the world are not receiving flights at all. Bali announced that they will be closed for business until 2021. Testbed Vegas’ home country, the land of Oz is largely shut and Qantas, considered by many to be the national carrier will not commence international flights until sometime in 2021!! It might mean a trip home on UA or American. The dread! That is if we were allowed to go home.

Speaking of United Airlines there is much news in the very public domain about the future of the airlines, airlines and the staff thereof. Perhaps a government led funding exercise is on the table….?

With limited capacity for seating on aircraft another round of perfecting the much vaunted seat design  in the crowded end of an airliner is back on the table for discussion. The idea of a permanently empty middle seat is attractive to Testbed Vegas, although commercially nonviable for the carrier.

As it is likely that none of us are going anywhere for a while then perhaps we can cast our travel imagineering further into the cosmos and join Orion Span in training for a trip to the Aurora Space station. Three months of training. 12days in low orbit. Stellar!

My restaurant Ghosted me!

Ghost Kitchens: Testbed Vegas.

When was the last time you were able to go out confidently for dinner? The virus is having a decimating effect on the restaurant sector with social distancing and operational limitations and closures causing major commercial challenges for the industry.

Like hotels, the future operational model and design of the restaurant sector is receiving heavy focus. In a future COVID19 world how will the floor-plan of a restaurant need to operate? Can it operate profitably based upon some of these limitations? Smart design will play a part where in good times scaled operation can be supported, then allowing for pre-designed alteration should a pandemic arise again. Our friends at FOODnBEVTECH are working on a new approach to help the restaurant industry engage with technology.

Will your local favorite restaurant survive the Corona Virus? While reflecting on that here’s a list of the longest surviving restaurants from around the world up until the onset of the virus. Some of the establishments know a thing or two about a pandemic and have lived to tell the tale. If your local favorite doesn’t make it (or some of these), perhaps the ghost of your restaurant will re-emerge in a kitchen. A semblance of its former self considered as a potential way forward for the future of the restaurant industry. No dining room. Just delivery. Is that going out for dinner? We’d say more like going home for dinner.

In lessons from further afield, England is on the verge of reopening the food and beverage industry. Can you imagine a visit to London, for example, without a visit to at least one (seven!) Pubs? The part about the story that is even better is that the UK government has developed an incentive program for lowering tax and also offsetting the establishment by 10 Pound Sterling per head as well as a 1000 Pound payment for every member of staff brought back into the workforce. If that doesn’t drag the punters out for a Pint we don’t know what will. Check out our July update for some great tech that is bringing the socially distanced pub to life.

Outdoor dining terrace. FOODnBEVTECH.

Helping Restaurants make the right Technology choices.

A party of one

As the world rethinks travel a model of isolation is seeming ever so much more practical as a way to travel. Hard to catch a virus from someone you are not traveling with. While considering the future the idea of subscription based travel isn’t going away. It seems to be gaining more momentum. Earlier on in the pandemic TRAVHOTECH had mused about the possibility of the model. It seems others are also giving it the thumbs up. Subscription and alone travel seem to make sense. Although we’re not sure how that would work for a last minute travel mate.

Pandemics give organizations pause to rethink the future and Tripadvisor’s rethink came in the form of simplifying their business model and selling off a number of their travel based web products. Tourism Australia has just got started with their new campaign before the advent of COVID19. Suffice to say no one is going there for a while as we had touched on earlier. You can always imagine on the back of their latest campaign video.

Some breaches are bigger than others

Our home-grown gaming entity MGM Resorts suffered a recent data breach. Although as more information has come to light it was more MGM Grand in scale than as initially indicated. About 14 times larger. Those are some good odds!

Naturally, an organization is never too excited about talking about a breach of customer information. It’s for these reasons that data privacy initiatives like GDPR are an eventual must have on a global scale. To hold information is to take a position of responsibility in safeguarding that information. It should always be remembered that corporations do not always require this information to conduct a transaction with the customer. They also do not need to keep it after the transaction is completed. But they want to!

Once they’ve got you, they also don’t like to let you go easily. James Veitch has a humorous take on the process of unsubscribing from an email list

higuard hospitality technology information security

Don’t get caught with your breaches down!

MGM Cotai – Amazing!

Wrapping up the month if you have a spare hour, we encourage you to watch this BBC program on the MGM Cotai in Macau. Delivering a hospitality experience takes many moving parts and a high degree of operational coordination. Hotels are like a little town pulling together many business disciplines to provide the finished product to the guest.

It follows that the larger the property the harder this is to achieve, while maintaining a level of intimacy and personalized service. Enter MGM Cotai. MGM’s newest property in Macau. Testbed Vegas has a number of friends and colleagues who were directly involved in bringing this property to life. The show provides a wonderful insight into the business of operational hospitality and gaming.

BBC’s Amazing Hotels – Life Beyond the Lobby at MGM Cotai

That’s it! As much as we would like to gather the crew in Las Vegas this month it is looking distinctly unlikely. Like you we will hang in there pending an improvement to our collective industry circumstances around the globe. Look after yourselves.

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Las Vegas is the prime location for technology companies who are focused on delivering products for the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries.