Transcript (in English)
Hi, my name is Julia Geffers. I am the CEO of Hoxell. We are a Swiss company based in Lugano in the space of hospitality. I am German, but now I have also become Swiss, and I've been living here for many many years and very excited to be speaking to you today.
I ended up in the tourism industry almost by chance because I was a big traveler and at some point a hotel in Milano, the Principe di Savoia hired me. And this is where it kicked, it all started so to speak, but that was more than 20 years ago. So, in the meantime, I've been in the tourism industry for 20 years. I've spent 14 years in Relais & Châteaux, which is a well-known international hotel association and since 2 years now I am with Hoxell in Lugano. And all of this, most of it 14 years I've been in Switzerland working for a national way, but also an international one, and now with Hoxell.
More than a problem, the beautiful challenge that we have in hospitality is that we have a guest that has needs, but we also we to make sure that these needs are satisfied, that there's always new experiences created, that we always go the extra mile, and this is something that actually characterizes everybody working in hospitality because we've got passion for that. We have the passion to deliver the best possible experience for our guests.
Now doing that can sometimes be very complex, because as you know a hotel or any hotel or any industry in the hospitality has the challenge of having many players, many touch points that will actually make out the perfect guest journey and ultimately really deliver guest satisfaction. So, the challenge I think we all face is: how do we make sure that everybody knows what this guest is expecting, how we can make this guest live the best possible experience and why maybe the guest is here in the first place.
So, this communication, I find is one of the biggest challenges we have, between all the different departments and all the different players that are active in our industry. I think the first point is you need to be able to listen to the guests because the guest is quite clear about what they want. Now, how do you communicate with the guests and how do you get this ? And this was one of our tools that we have developed with Hoxell.
And that's also why I probably wanted to go and join a company that does this. We have said we need to ask the guests what they wish and then make sure that this information flows all the way down into the entire chain of command. And this is true for really every kind of hospitality outlet, because five-star luxury hotel of course wants to cater to their guests, but also a camping wants to be catering to their guests. So everybody has these different tools and so what we did in the 1st place was to create something to make sure that the guests can say what they want. On the second step, of course, then we created the second tool where the team would know what the guest actually said (because there's nothing worse than asking somebody for their opinion, but then not doing anything with what they said).
Hoxell was born by a hotelier, and that's the most important part because it's a hotelier that understood the needs of the hoteliers but also of the guests. So, our first solution was to create a platform that is seamlessly communicating with the guests and with the staff. So, two modules, the one that is a concierge module where the guests will be able to pre, during, and post stay really personalize their journey. And on the other side, there's an operational side (operational tool) which makes sure that all the departments, being the front office, the back office, housekeeping, maintenance, everybody actually knows what these demands were and how to best deliver them. It really goes into the aim of perfection, of extremely good service that needs to have KPI's, that needs to be something that you can measure, that needs to also make sure that A knows what B just needed or what they just said, so a seamless communication.
In the end it all comes down to, I think, communicate, communicate, communicate and as you know, communication in a digital world but also in a non-digital world it's about somebody sending a message and somebody else receiving this message. So, this link is what really makes the big difference in our business. I think what is very important as well is that in the world of hospitality we always need to make sure of all the different outlets we have. And of course, in hospitality, as I said, we've got hotels. We've got campings. We've got apartments. We also have in the world hospitality, we have a word that is called hospitals and maybe that's the future that we really think about guest journey. Also, in a context that is not necessarily associated with something positive, but that needs this positive aspect to it because a guest or a patient will actually have the same expectations or even more because of the fragile conditions they are in, to be followed through and to have everybody being aware of their needs.
What I would recommend in our industry is: not to be afraid of digitalization in general. Digitalization can help. Digitalization will not take away the personal touch, it will not take away the fact that you need to create your own processes, but it will enhance whatever you need to be afterwards measured and to be put in place with the teams. So don't be afraid of it, very often hoteliers tell me ‘I'm afraid to start using a tablet because my team will be looking into a tablet versus actually looking the guest’... that is not the case. The tablet will help them to make sure that they know what they're doing, but they will still be doing or delivering the human part of it in a more safe or more secure or more convinced way as well, because they know exactly what they're doing and what they are talking about. So, in general, digitalization across the board is something that should not be something that we fear in our industry, but to be something that we embrace. And we should also trust it, that by also here, expressing our needs will allow the companies that work in this space to be catering more and more to what we actually need as hoteliers and as hosts.
What I'm very fascinated with is by the youth that is now facing again our world. There was like for quite some time, this prejudice about all hospitality is a tough job. It's a difficult job. I don't know if I want to go into hospitality. And I think digitalization to some extent will also attract again all the young people to say this is something that is in the future. It is tradition. It is about guests. It is about attention to detail and to people, but it's also something that is in the young brains, something that can be digitalized that can be cool as well, that can be, you know, breaking the barriers that we had beforehand.
So, what I really enjoy very much about our world is that I see again, young people being extremely passionate about this hospitality universe that we all live in, and I know for a fact that hospitality is something you do as I said by passion and because you love being there and taking care of people. So, I'm very much looking forward to maybe giving a little bit of help to this industry by digitalizing a bit more and making it interesting also for the younger generations.