With more than 20 years of experience (10 of them in general management positions), José Carlos Díaz Lacaci is an industrial engineer, an expert in operations, marketing, customers, industrial organization and team management. He has developed his career in the TELCO sectors (Teléfónica, Orange, Ono and Pepephone) and Tourism / air transport, where he has served as General Director of transformation of Globalia (Air Europa, Viajes Halcón, Travelplan …) . He participated in the birth of the start up Pepephone, a company that was sold in 2016 for a whopping 158MM, with more than half a million active lines, and we are honored to have his vision in #easygoing. Let’s start:
How long have you been working for the turistic/hospitality industry?
4 years in the transport sector, tourism, hotels.
In which sense do you think technology can improve guest experience?
In many, but always focusing its application to simplify the customer’s life, to make natural, the usage of a service. To, for example, reduce waiting times in the end to achieve something as simple and satisfying for the customer as re-knowing, anticipating and resolving.
How do you think hotels can take advantage of digitization?
A hotel, like all establishments that have contact with the client, is a continuous opportunity to surprise them. Look at where the Kings of digital are going: Amazon or Alibaba that are developing a coverage strategy from ON to OFF looking ‘like crazy’ for those physical customer touch points… and in a hotel that happens every minute, at the reception , with the housekeeping, cafeteria, swimming pool… in all these spaces, a colleague of ours provides a service, an experience to the client that if we manage to make it surprising (in the good part of course 😉 we will have him in love and it will make us be out of the comparative excels that govern a rational, aseptic decision process.
Specific cases of application of this in hotels, are all that I have worked with Easygoband. All of them aim to reduce friction in each client process, that is, to make it easy for them. For example, doing a check-in/out without waiting in line (who knows if from your own home or while waiting for the plane), requesting room service by voice, being able to leave the phone for a while in the room and pay with a simple bracelet, access to breakfast without having to remember the room number…
At which point of the digital transformation do you think we are in Spain?
It is difficult to set a level because each sector has a very different level of maturity. Even within the tourism sector, an airline or hotel is not the same as a travel agency… and then within each company or group, progress depends largely on the degree of conviction of shareholders and CEOs to sponsor a robust transformation plan and, what is more important, dedicate investment…
Specifically in tourism, I believe that there is a clear forward movement, initiated years ago by the hotel sector and airlines that little by little is showing its fruits. Now it is time to consolidate it, learn from mistakes and look at the processes to be transformed through the eyes of the client.
How do you think the industry is committed to multichannel?
First and foremost, understanding that not multi-channel is not an option: it is the customer who decides how and when he connects with us: he decides the channel, he decides the moment and, furthermore, he is not subject to programmable patterns. What must be done is to make available the information and the response required by the client so that it can be served by any human or machine means. That is to say, we have to be prepared to solve their needs by the means they demand from us.
Which is the biggest challenge you think you face regarding processes digitization?
We can make quick implementations of services that seek to simplify customer processes, but one of the main challenges is when an action oriented to this end requires a high investment.
What impact do you think digitization has had in your particular case?
Very important: little by little, with digitization measures, managing to implement differentiating elements that customers perceive as an improvement to be very positively valued.
How do you face the new normal at your hotel?
With the maximum security guarantees for customers and employees and with the hope that the “old” normal will return soon.
Which role do you think digitization plays in the industry recovery?
Vital: difficult months are coming until we recover the occupation we had almost a year ago. Until then, the search for efficiency and optimization is part of the objective of any transformation strategy.
Which weight do you think COVID-19 has had in the industry digital transformation? And in your particular case?
The impact on the sector is brutal. I think there is no sector that has been more economically and socially impacted, obviously no one is unaware that if you can’t travel, I don’t have clients, and if I don’t have them I have no income… with which we have been forced to hibernation until reactivation. This of course affects transformation initiatives.
What do you think the hotel of the future will be like?
No waiting at the entrance, exit or in the restaurant. No need to carry a mobile phone, card, cash or identification documents. The interaction will be natural by voice with a mirror or with a person, and it will work in the same good way, homogeneously. Only if you want it, and with your permission, will your allergies, your tastes and your outstanding dates be known to anticipate and offer you solutions, excursions or simply connection to your content platforms.
Your prognose about the future of the industry keeping in mind the current situation
Those of us who dedicate ourselves to transformation are used to continuous changes and, in this environment, adaptation and versatility are essential tools. We are also optimistic by nature 😉 And the future is good, for sure, it always has been! The remedy to the pandemic will be found and activity will recover. We will learn the lesson: we will work on diversifying risks, on contingency and emergency plans, on alternatives…and hopefully our leaders will be better 😉
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