In order to create advanced solutions to improve the experience of hotel guests, you must know first what demands those guests have. What are they demanding today and how do INTELITY solutions help hotels respond to those requirements?
As an innovation company, INTELITY wants to bring groundbreaking ideas that we’ve come up with internally to market to show, as we have been displaying during G2E Las Vegas event. One of those ideas was the INTELITY tablet solution. You could take these tablets, put them in the hotels, and enhance the guest experience. That wasn’t a specific demand from hotels, so we created that opportunity. So that underlying innovation engine is a key to INTELITY ongoing. Some of the things that we bring to market aren’t always successful. They’re not aligned to what guests or hotels owners or gaming operators care about. Then, the reverse is also true. As we build up a customer base, we get a pool of talent that comes to us, and they start talking about the needs they’re seeing in the industry. During the pandemic, we were really well positioned with a lot of innovative stuff like mobile check-in and mobile key, and we were able to really quickly innovate and say: ‘Well, what else do we need?’. We built ID verification to market and payment via credit card, all on your mobile phone. But besides this, we had the hotels coming to us to tell how things were doing for operators in that particular pandemic context. They said ‘we need to be here really quickly because this is what’s happening right now.’ Generally speaking, it’s probably 60% of us coming to market with new innovative stuff because we see technology advancement. We know what’s coming down the pipeline, and then we can apply that to hospitality. As a complement, there is this 40% of the hotels coming and telling us about their problems for us to solve them.
When we talk about technology, I’m always thinking about this: it should be ready to use, easy to learn, because, when you’re talking about mobile, you have to include people of 55+ years old that are not so well experienced with mobile devices.
That’s definitely one of the largest challenges within hospitality. This sector is broad and includes different clientele that you’re trying to please. You can have seniors enjoying the Florida resorts, and you might have young crowds in Vegas. So that’s the challenge of building the best guest experience. You don’t target an individual like user segment. What you’re trying to do is to build a product with a little bit of surprise and delight, as well as ease of use. Our tech is intuitive. You don’t have to be trained on how to use it. It should just be obvious. That’s a really difficult skill and something that we’ve invested in with our product teams and with our UX design teams in order to find the exact level of usability. We develop and prototype different versions to see how the market responds to them. At the end of the day, it’s all about helping diverse market groups.
Let’s talk about markets. How is INTELITY performing in the United States and how are you working in LatAm in your different business units?
We’ve got a really good customer base, obviously in the U.S., our home base. The market itself is still relatively untapped in general, and so there’s still a lot of room for expansion. The world of hospitality is not only made up of large hotel chains, but independents or small ones, a huge amount of brands. We continue to expand in North America. Latin America is a strategic growth area for us, and we’ve invested in some of the sales and development teams there, as well as in technology. LatAm has some different incumbent vendors for Property Management Systems, ticketing, point of sale. We’re building out those integrations in order to go to market there a little bit stronger. We’re also expanding in Europe. Our recent deal with The Leading Hotels of the World puts us in a pretty large position in the luxury segment in Europe. As an international company, Latin America is certainly one of the strategic regions that we’re investing in right now. We see it as one of the big growth opportunities, more so than Europe or Asia. It is the next logical place to expand into.
I’m aware that you are constantly enhancing your product. In fact, at G2E Las Vegas, you presented an updated version of the Platform R5. Thinking about the future, how will INTELITY evolve and offer new technologies for optimizing guests experience and helping casinos/hotels to boost their businesses globally?
I’m not actually a hospitality person, but a technologist. So I get excited about taking new technologies and then finding applications for them in market. I really like hospitality because of the idea of it. Helping people enjoy their vacations and their travel. I think AI is going to be fully applied within hospitality. In fact, we’re not even able to dream about where AI will take us in 20 years. The AI revolution will be similar than the one we had with the Internet. It will blow our minds. So we’re investing in the AI space, but there are still lots of interesting things happening within the mobile products as well, and with in-room devices. There is great value in having a permanent device in the room that’s not owned by the customer, but by the operator, the hotel. The idea is for hotels to control the guest experience and the delivery. More and more is going to be on the wearable side as the next device. Evolution goes from mobile phones being more like a server in your pocket, and maybe next step will be your wearable glasses delivering that experience. The problems are going to be how you offer hospitality in a digital context. The screen size doesn’t matter. In the future, as we do today, INTELITY will keep on developing the latest technology to deliver a great customer experience on any digital medium.