SAMSUNG has been at the forefront of encouraging the business travel sector back onto the road in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been using technology to do so.
The company believes its tech can play an integral role in helping the hospitality industry meet the heightened expectations of customers from a health, hygiene, and overall experience standpoint, allowing the sector to – as Senior Director & Head of Display & Memory Solutions Phil Gaut puts it – “gather meaningfully”.
“We’ve done quite a lot of work (in this space),” he said.
Gaut said Samsung has seen a lot of sites invest in conferencing since the COVID-19 pandemic began rolling back, but not with typical upgrades. “We’ve done quite a lot of work around the technology needed for conferencing, but also hotels using their space for the ‘new workforce’,” he said.
What this means is not just ensuring venues have the latest tech, but guaranteeing the tech is hybrid, so that it suits the needs of the modern conference or event – a prospect which looked very different to its distant, pre-COVID cousin.
“For the last 12 months, we’re definitely seeing a real increase in people wanting to get together and address their teams, and I think the spaces for those needs, need to be flexible,” Gaut believes.
“I think also, the audiovisual technology needs to be really exciting, and it needs to really engage an audience.
“A lot of the technology within hotels has been there for a long period of time and there hasn’t been an incredible amount of technology refresh in the last three years.”
Although the pandemic has all but passed us by, the many lessons it taught us have not.
According to Gaut, health and cleanliness is still proving a major part of the tech restoration many hotels are undertaking.
“We start to lean toward making that hotel experience a really safe environment as well, as we move into a contactless environment,” he said.
“We’re starting to make some steps to integrate things such as air purification technology into hotels to make sure when people are coming into a room, the air in that room has been recycled, and is recycled every three minutes, to make sure they’re breathing in a clean environment.
One of the more eye-grabbing innovations from Samsung is its AirDresser –billed by Gaut as a “mobile dry cleaning service”. The product acts as a wardrobe, but also reduces cloth wrinkling and odours, and even dehumidifies. It is already working its magic in a number of five-star Sydney hotels, and is due to appear in more shortly.
However, it is not just city-based hotels and venues which struggled through the pandemic. Rural properties arguably struggled even more, and struggled in different ways, particularly when it comes to re-attracting its target workforce, which is often made up of working holiday visa-holders.
“They’re struggled drawing people to a location,” Gaut noted. Work done by Samsung rurally includes the roll-out of kiosks to support peopleless check-in scenarios.
Samsung’s key message: “enabling the hospitality industry to differentiate itself through the use of latest generation technology,” Gaut added – and thus far, differentiating itself it has been.