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The hotel system is evolving

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 24 Aprile 2001

Stephen Barden is the managing director of Quadriga Worldwide, and if he did not hold that office, I believe he could quite happily and successfully be an actor. We are in Milan, in one of the elegant and comfortable halls of what used to be called the Palace, and is now The Westin Palace, to attend the presentation of Quadrigas’s new product – Genesis. Mr. Barden also has a fitting physique: he is tall, elegant not in a mannered way, wearing clothes that are neither banal nor unnecessarily showy. He moves with ease, his precise gestures underlining the various passages of the video, without overtones. He presents the product with a self-confidence that has certainly been acquired through repetition, but he does not recite a memorised script as is often done by people who are not sufficiently confident, with an effect of unnaturalness: He is relaxed and nonchalant. In order not to miss any passages of the long presentation, while he speaks he briefly consults some small, unobtrusive cards he holds in his hand. The rest is done by the video presentation, and by the music accompanying the action. Top grades. We are only sorry for the next speakers, who could not but be crushed by such a giant. This is the modern dimension – a mixture of show and business, an innovative product which is, in turn, both entertainment and service, appearing and being. While I was watching the presentation, I was sitting next to two well-known hotel managers, and we exchanged opinions about the new product, which is intended to provide customers with a global service, by equipping rooms with TVs, movies, Internet connections, information services and games in a flexible approach. We reflected on the constant transformation of the hotel sector reality. Until a decade ago, the provision of customer services represented a cost for the company; now, by sharing revenues with suppliers like Quadriga (but they are not the only ones) the idea is to offer qualified services at no cost, or even with a profit – depending on the clientele and the room turnover. These changes have a growing impact on a different way to approach the hotel, as a place where technologies are going to play a decisive role, and where the hotel manager is going to be – among other things – the assembler and supplier of important services lent free of charge by third parties.

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