By now, no one working in companies belonging to the hotel sector doubts the importance of e-commerce. The presentation of BlueBay Group On-line Commerce Manager – Americas Division last May at the 14th Congress of Tourism and Gastronomy, held in the city of Puebla, was very interesting for five hundred students of Tourism Administration and Gastronomy who attended.
LOOKOUT (LK): Mr. Flores, it must give you great pride to explain the importance of a tool such as e-commerce among college students, doesn’t it?
Sr. Flores (FL): Absolutely, they are the representatives of the workforce in the hospitality industry of tomorrow. Many of them do not seek to learn just to add it to their curriculum skills, but like me, are passionate about it..
LK: What is e-commerce and why it is so important in the hotel sector?
FL: E-commerce is the exchange of goods or services for money or other goods through different electronic channels; mainly the Internet. For the hotel industry, it is a key part of the sales strategy. This channel has the lowest cost-benefit ration in terms of brand positioning and an incomparable range of distribution.
An example is our hotel Bellevue Beach Paradise in Cancún, Mexico where almost 60% of bookings come in this way.
LK: How did you come to specialize in a discipline that is so fashionable now?
FL: I have worked with organizations in Mexico, the US and Spain which has given me the opportunity to learn from experts, take courses and attend seminars. However, the reality is that many of us, working in this field, are also largely self-taught. In my case, I try to stay on top of new trends through research, validating that the methods we use are functional and designing new strategies. We are in the plain age of e-commerce with new technologies that are changing and even creating more business opportunities, we remain in a state of constant dynamism and that I find fascinating.
LK: What do you think is the current position of e-commerce and how do you see its evolution in the future?
FL: Not many years ago, e-commerce was no more than an option to purchase or a marketing opportunity. Today it is a necessity that is present in all industries and available to all business models, and it is because it simplifies processes and provides greater security to the user but also conforms to current lifestyle as it gives freedom and easy access, thus resulting in comfort. In short, it makes your life easier and who does not want an easier life?
LK: Do you think we are ready to move forward at such a dizzying speed? Apps, social networks, smartphones, 24h interconnectivity…
FL: I think it is more about adaptation than preparation, and in this the youngest will always have the advantage because they are lucky to be growing up with all these new technologies; we, on the other hand, have to strive to learn and keep up to date.
LK: How do you see the situation of the hotel industry in the short and medium run?
FL: I think it will be very interesting to confirm how all these trends influence the way we market the hotels and where we direct our efforts.
With more and more demanding customers, who are not afraid to speak their minds, and the grand opening that e-commerce provides to international markets, we face a situation in which price is not the deciding factor and where the words technology and reputation had never had so much meaning.