If travelling had been football, then Kevin would have probably been the Messi or Ronaldo. In a tete-a-tete with us, Kevin Tatem, Managing Director in Southeast Asia, STAAH reminisces about the good old days and talks about how innovation in technology and industry transformation has changed our behaviour, our lifestyle, the way people think and operate.
From telegram to telephone
There was a time not too long ago when we had no mobile phones or internet. There were days when telephone was rare, and it was not so cheap to afford a phone call every time you travel. You have witnessed a world which evolved from the era of telegram to telephone, fax and then of course, the Internet and mobile phones.
Even the tourism industry has evolved to a great extent – from being dependent on travel agents for all your travel-related queries, organising your entire trip, from booking your flight and hotel to managing it all using your phone. Today, you are booking your tickets and making your hotel reservations from your mobile phone that too, without making a phone call.
Today we all are busy playing with gadgets – smart phones, smart watch, wearable devices, EarPods, Bluetooth and more. Some hotels are handing over tablets to their guests upon arrival. Are the guests now actually making the best out of their vacation? Or has the technology even changed the way we enjoy?
From backpacker to travel veteran
In the early 90s, I went backpacking in South and Central America. I used guidebooks to research where to go, looking for hotels and guest houses that other travellers had recommended. All you had to do was turn up at the hotel or a guest house and try your luck. You would negotiate your price you pay for the stay. As a treat you could ask your hotel to call ahead and book for you if you wanted a more structured accommodation but often, they wouldn’t. Calls weren’t cheap – local and especially international.
My travel to the Southeast Asia in the late 90s was yet another interesting and a memorable experience. Mobile phones weren’t easy to find and there was no connectivity, the way we have it now. One had to break the bank for Internet and the Internet cafes were a rage back in those days. It was possible to book a hotel room online then, yet many were sceptical of using CC details and of course losing the fun of negotiating for the best deal.
STAAH and the new evolving world
In a disruptive digital world, things have changed, tourism has been transformed. In an industry where experience is everything, speed is essential for success and there is little room for errors, STAAH technology has been helping property owners get ahead of the pack, may it be independent property owners to group hotels, chains, and vacation rentals.
I have been enjoying working with STAAH as it has continuously been evolving. It has been persistently thinking for its customers and how to help them with their evolving needs. This is the new age of the growth of the online travel agents, everything is at your fingertips, wrapped-up in an app. At the click of a button, you could find the cheapest flights, best deals on hotels and you don’t even need currency to pay any more, it’s all Digital. The cutting-edge technology that our company offers makes it easier for hoteliers to get more direct business. Tourism is a phenomenal industry, one of the most resilient industries, and it will bounce back soon. I am sure of that.
STAAH provides industry-leading technology solutions for hospitality distribution, direct bookings and digital marketing services. Our products flagship products – the MAX Channel Manager, a real-time online distribution platform and the Max Booking Engine have been helping the property owners across the globe to sell more rooms, grow their direct bookings and maximize their online revenue.
Our technology is used by all segments of the hospitality industry, from large hotels to motels, group hotels and chains to boutique properties, independent hotels, holiday parks and even the guest houses. We have been developing products that are intuitive and reliable, and working with our partner properties to continuously improve their efficiency and visibility, eventually helping their businesses get closer to their goals is our motto.