Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Mahony

Des O'Mahony

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bookassist

Dr Des O'Mahony is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Bookassist (bookassist.org), an Irish-based privately-owned international company specializing in technology and online strategy for hotels and one of the leading European hotel booking technology providers. He is a Chartered Physicist and holds a PhD in Physics from Trinity College in Dublin. Involved with web technology since the early nineties, he pioneered web-based city guides in 1994 with Bookassist co-founder Dr Robert Whittle, developing the Softguides brand for cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Dublin. The Softguides network used customer comments and feedback extensively in its online content, pre-dating the social media revolution by over a decade. In 2005, he was the Irish Internet Association's "Netvisionary" winner for online trade and in the same year was the recipient of a prestigious eircom.net Golden Spider web design award. In 2010 was the recipient of the Internet Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Irish Internet Association in recognition of the success of Bookassist. He has frequently keynoted large travel and hotel technology conferences, most recently presenting on and appearing on a discussion panel on the implications of mobile technology for hotels at the BTO Conference in Florence, Italy in October 2010. Bookassist was formed in Dublin in 1999 and has since grown to encompass six offices in Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Prague, Vienna and Rome handling in almost half a million bookings for its clients and in excess of $100M in hotel booking revenue annually. At Bookassist, Des is responsible for the strategic direction of the company and for research in new product and strategy areas. Bookassist was first to market in 2009/2010 with an innovative and comprehensive mobile solution for hotels and hotel booking on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms with their market-leading webapp solution.

Mr. O'Mahony can be contacted at 35316762913 or des.omahony@bookassist.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.