Interview with Tatjana Peček, IT company COMBIS

This year’s Best Stay conference will be focused on the best hospitality trends that work in practice. What, in your opinion, are the current trends making the biggest changes in the hotel industry?
For the past few years, there has been a strong focus on customer experience and on increasing brand loyalty in the tourism industry. Customers are changing their expectations, demanding special and new experiences, value for money and high quality in every way imagined. New business models, that we are facing every day, are also making a strong impact. And so does the need for high internet security and digitalization in all possible ways. In my opinion, these trends will continue to have a big influence in the upcoming years. Tourism and hospitality, as business verticals, will be strongly affected by these changes.

What do you think are the most important technological novelties implemented in hotels all over the world? Do Croatian hotels follow the trends?
I believe that digitalization is a major focus for all industries, including hospitality. When we are talking about technology in the context of hoteliers, as mentioned before, digitalization will have a strong impact in the upcoming years, and we should be aware of that fact. Businesses seem to be aware of the risk of digital disruption, but strategic technology investments are not growing accordingly, at least not as we would expect it. A recent study by the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation found that 56% of executives say digital disruption is not a board-level or CXO concern, and 44% believe digital disruption increases their risk of being put out of business.
Despite this awareness, only 25% are doing something about it, like actively disrupting their own businesses with digital technology. Studies show that companies that master digital technology will not only drive more revenue but will be 29% more profitable on average. At this point, it would be useful to point out network security as one of the most important technology trends worldwide. Being on the road almost five days a week and working with the majority hotel chains in Croatia, I can say that there is a high awareness about this trend in Croatia as well. And not just that. Most hoteliers are either planning or already are making important investments in this field. Besides, as I have said before, technologies that can reach customer needs are in strong focus. It’s all about guest experience indeed.

ICT solutions make a big part of every topnotch hotel and provide hotels with numerous handy functions. What do COMBIS’ solutions provide to hotels?
There is a growing need for strategic IT partners in the process of designing and building advanced IT business solutions, particularly in consulting services, which are an important factor both in the design and architecture of the solution and also after the implementation. Long-term experience and series of successful projects place COMBIS at the very top of companies that can implement the most complex network infrastructure projects. COMBIS also works on projects based on a turn-key model which implies consulting services, ease of use, a speed of delivery
and responsibility for complex implementations. With this model and a little help of technology, customers can achieve multiple business advantages, while keeping in focus their core business. In our portfolio, we have a number of solutions for increasing the level of customer experience, such as Husky.

At Best Stay, you will be speaking about your project with Valamar Hotels and Resorts. Please give us a short introduction into the topic.
Valamar Riviera is the leading tourism company in Croatia, which can welcome around 57,000 guests in its 33 hotels and resorts, and 15 camping resorts from Istria and Kvarner to Dubrovnik. Investments in digital technology are an important part of the company’s development, and together with Hrvatski Telekom, Croatia’s leading telecommunications company, COMBIS and Cisco, Valamar has successfully launched a project of introducing advanced Wi-Fi solution into its objects, which will be presented in more details during the conference. Also, the value of this project is reflected by a significantly higher level of satisfaction with Valamar’s Wi-Fi service, and it is recognized by the profession – TUI Family Life Bellevue Resort in Rabac has won the Best Wi-Fi Network Award among all TUI Family Life hotels and resorts in the world.

How does the quality of Wi-Fi systems affect guest overall satisfaction?
No matter how much we appreciate our privacy in life, while travelling, we still want to be well connected, we want to be sure that we can communicate with anybody, anytime and from anywhere. If you can provide your guests with fast, quality and stable Wi-Fi connection, you can be more than sure that guests will be satisfied and that they will come back. Technologies that enable higher guest experience will provide competitive differentiation. The best Wi-Fi quality can, for sure, be part of that stream.

How do you think ICT solutions will impact the development of tourism in the next 3-5 years?
Following what I’ve already said, I think the biggest impact on the development of tourism and hospitality will have awareness about what travellers and customers want, what are they looking for and this will only increase in future. Companies that become aware of that and continue to invest in solutions and technologies that fulfil these expectations, will surly prospect.

What would you share with our attendees if you would only have one minute?
If I only had one minute, I would point out the importance of technology trends, such as digitalization, because tourism and hospitality are and will be strongly affected by it. I would conclude with words of Mr Terry Jones, founder of WayBlazer,, and, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and listening during TTE conference in London. He said that ‘Travel has been transformed by the digitization of commerce more than any other industry. Because of this, it has moved online more than any other and has gone to mobile faster’.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Best Stay?

First of all, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to present our successful project at Best Stay and to share our experience with a really interesting audience. It is a great opportunity to meet other professionals and colleagues, as well as to learn about their experiences, challenges, new business opportunities and trends. Also, let’s not forget that conference is held in one of the most magical places in the world, so I’m looking forward to spending a few days in Dubrovnik.

Visit the lecture ‘Case Study Valamar: Perfect Wi-Fi for perfect guest experience’ by Tatjana Peček from COMBIS and Vlastimir Ivančić from Valamar Riviera which will be held on Thursday, November 8, from 10:50 – 11:10.