PSD’s Rod Larman attended this year’s Digital Summit where the focus was to explore the technology and visionary thinking that could improve the guest experience and drive business growth in the hospitality sector.

Digital Caterer Summit 2018 LogoThe one-day conference addressed how to thrive in the digital age and examined how data, content, conversion strategy, revenue tools and marketing insight affects business' bottom line. A panel of industry experts gave insight on topics that really matter to hospitality and guests' experience. A diverse agenda covered a range of topics led by speakers from YFood, Mandarin Oriental, Noetic, Hand Picked Hotels, the Calcot Collection, PizzaExpress, Bernstein, Delaware North, The Doyle Collection, and 80 Days. 

Highlights of the event included insights from Russell Danks from the Future Factory London who gave greater meaning to the millennial generation and their behaviour (depending on whether you are a pre-1986 or post-1986 baby) and how this is now shaping patterns of consumer behaviour and also the brands within the current space.

Athena Simpson, Partner and CMO of YFood, spoke about the innovative marketing tactics that are disrupting the market and how these unconventional methods have achieved success for challenger brands that are growing quickly and getting noticed. Such tactics included the story behind how “The Shed” became London's No.1 restaurant on TripAdvisor without ever serving a meal but was one man's mission from a backyard complete with Wendy house and chickens and some clever photography of Iceland ready meals.

“Such tactics included the story behind how “The Shed” became London's No.1 restaurant on TripAdvisor without ever serving a meal”

Digital Caterer Summit 2018 Tim CookGDPR was of course a hot topic. James Stagg, Deputy Editor of The Caterer, chaired a discussion around the steps hoteliers have taken to ensure their business is compliant. Stephanie Timsit, Director of Finance at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group summed it up quite concisely, “customers' personal data simply does not belong to companies”.

A lively presentation from Timothy Love, Senior Marketing Manager of PizzaExpress, gave insight into how this casual dining brand is leading the way when it comes to customer experience, engagement and technology developments. The subject was continued with Sam Weston (80 Days), Fergal Byrne (Head of Online - The Doyle Collection) and Steve Lowy (Chairman, Hotel Marketing Association) on delivering the online guest experience and how hotels can embrace their relationships with OTAs. 

The Caterer Digital Summit was an insightful and engaging event and I look forward to next year. 

Rod Larman is Principal Consultant at PSD, his focus is on sales and marketing appointments within the hospitality, travel and leisure industry; international and national brands as well as independently owned properties across all asset classes from luxury to budget.

 Publication Date: 19/06/2018