Video - AHC

A Q&A with The Student Hotel's Mark Liversidge

The Student Hotel's Mark Liversidge joined us after his session at The Annual Hotel Conference for a short interview discussing the importance of connecting in person at The AHC, the customer experience, and trends in the industry. 
Mark is Chief Digital, Technology and Experience Officer for TSH, where he oversees the hybrid hospitality group’s digital transformation with a view to create meaningful connections, personalised experiences and business opportunities in a hybrid-space environment.

How did it feel to be back?

It's amazing to actually be back in the room with people picking up on feedback, getting ideas, and actually having those deep and meaningful conversations, whether it's over coffee, out in the breakouts, or even at dinner last night. Business is back! So I'm hugely optimistic that, with this interaction that we can get going over the next couple of months and into next year, all of the problems and crises that people are raising, we're gonna solve and come up with solutions by being able to be in the same space together, knock heads together, knock ideas together, and take ourselves as an industry forward.

Where do you see opportunities coming out of the crisis? 
So two dimensions, I think, first of all, the crisis has showed us that we've got to think about how we use space more intelligently, from a hygiene factor, which is the obvious one, but also how we make sure we drive up use and occupancy so that space doesn't just get defined for one particular use. But we use technology, we use new processes, to be able to recondition space, more fluidly with more speed to get greater use out of it, give people greater opportunities to come together for different needs and reasons. On the other dimension. From the customer. We really are coming out of this at a tipping point with Gen Z coming to the forefront now for the next five years of our industry, they are the ones who want to get out there and travel right now. They don't have the hesitancy of some of the older demographics. There's very much a mindset of get out and explore the world, you only live once! How do we cater for their needs, which are fundamentally different from others. They're the digitally driven digital savvy generation. They want to be engaged digitally, but they also want to be serviced in some of the conventional and traditional ways. So, running this delicate balance between where do you use technology and where do you remove technology for human interaction? The ones that master that I think are going to have the biggest opportunity in the next five years ahead.

What do you think will be the top three trends in hospitality next year?                                                                                                                                                                                                  So the biggest trend I think is going to be a continued shift from short form travel to extended travel. I'm going to see that in the Gen z's. They're looking for nomadic lifestyles to come and stay in places for extended periods. So how to the hospitality industry cater for that, and then other people making more conscious longer term journeys, rather than a weekend, they're going to go somewhere for three or four weeks. They might work partially while they're there. So it's a blend of work and pleasure, how all of that is going to be serviced by the industry.

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