Javier Blanco has been working in the hospitality industry for 14 years, 11 of them as CEO of Be Live Hotels, the hotel division of Globalia, the leading tourism group in Spain. In this group, Javier performed various functions, among which the general purchasing manager stands out. Then, already in the management of the hotel group, he was responsible for the great challenge that would surely entail the unification of the different brands that made up the division, under the umbrella of Be Live, and their reorganization into 6 segments based on the needs of each client.
The chain led by Javier has more than 10,000 rooms in 34 establishments distributed internationally. And its objective is the constant renovation of its hotel facilities to offer customers the best facilities and quality service. Who said fear? Without a doubt our guest star today, no, what he does tell us here at #easygoing, is how he thinks about digitization in the sector so that we can better understand how he manages to face the challenges that he tackles in his career.
How long have you been working in the touristic/hospitality industry?
In which sense do you think technology can improve the customer experience?
Without a doubt, in facilitating the processes, from the beginning, when the client begins the search, to the end, when they return from their vacations. It is very important that the user has at their disposal enough tools to facilitate their experience, without neglecting the personal treatment and service that allow them to complete it successfully.
How do you think that hotels can benefit from the experiences that digitization offers?
Facilitating daily operations; for example, removing check-in queues, breaking language barriers, managing to contact customer service or request room service directly from the application, among many other uses. In short, the benefit is focused on obtaining a better knowledge of the guest and, therefore, a more fluid communication.
At which point of digital transformation do you think we are in the industry?
Spain and touristic sector goes in hands. In our country a high percentage of families live out of tourism, hospitality and small businesses, at this moment very affected by the pandemic situation. However, in regards to digitization we are still one step behind. It is without a doubt an investment issue.
How is the sector committed to multichannel?
I consider that we are 100% the sector par excellence in multichannel, due to the demand we generate we are present in all channels.
What is the biggest challenge you think you face in the digitization process at Be Live?
Our biggest challenge is to keep the perfect balance between digitization and the personal treat with customers.
How do you face the new normal in your hotels?
With great enthusiasm, I think we have all realized the need to share, to travel, to interact and enjoy the moments that life gives us every day. We are eager to receive travelers in need of experiences and satisfy their wishes.
Which role do you think that digitization plays to achieve the sector recovery?
There are many essential aspects for recovery. Once the connection has been restored and the borders of all countries are allowed to open, people will regain confidence and leave behind fears. Obviously digitization will play an important role in that recovery.
¿Qué peso ha tenido la COVID-19 en la transformación digital en el sector?, ¿Y en vuestro caso concreto?How important COVID-19 has been in the digital transformation of the industry? And in your particular case?
We must take into account that the projects have been paralyzed and the activity has fallen to unimaginable percentages, but at the same time, I think that a commitment has been made to reward and help digitization projects to adapt to a new era in which still remains much to be discovered.
What do you think the hotel of the future will be like?
The hotel of the future must be an ecological and self sustainable one. Equiped with the technology that it takes to make the guest experience easier but, without a doubt, with a personal treat that will make the guest feel unique.