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Next Generation ‘Unified Guest Engagement System’ for Smart Hospitality Services and Unparalleled Guest Loyalty.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - UNIGEM (Next Generation ‘Unified Guest Engagement System’ for Smart Hospitality Services and Unparalleled Guest Loyalty.)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2017-11-30

OTAs (Online Travel Agents) such as Booking.com or expedia.com have globalized and unified the hospitality market by controlling significant bookings percentage in Europe & by charging hotels a commission of 15-30%. In response to increasing competition, and to mitigate dependence on OTAs, hotels strive for service excellence (in terms of quality, variety, and/or price), increasingly investing on guest engagement and loyalty technologies and practices and building formal and/or informal trusted relationships with local Tourist Service Providers (TSPs) to augment their “experience” offering. In this context, independent hotel chains and hotels, which are the majority in Europe fail to successfully address these issues.

UNIGEM aspires to foster a new paradigm in the travel sector by automating and expanding the operations of local ecosystems in hospitality and tourism, covering mainly independent hotel chains and hotel. UNIGEM will engineer unparalleled guest engagement and loyalty by (1) dynamically matching hotel and destination offerings with individual guests’ distinct and real-time needs, and by (2) co-creating & co-shaping unique individualized guest experiences fueling individualization revolution in the hospitality industry. To this end, UNIGEM will fuse smart technology and a novel, global business ecosystem approach with a dual disruptive effect on local tourism markets and OTA market.
This Feasibility Study, funded by EU under the SME instrument Phase 1, explored the business potential of UNIGEM, analyzing in depth stakeholders needs, market and market potential, competition, technological feasibility of UNIGEM, relevant patents and financial viability.

The outcomes of the study include:
• A validation of the UNIGEM business case based on:
1. stakeholders (Hotels, TSPs (Tourism Service Providers), guests/travelers) needs expressed via structures interviews, questionnaires and focus groups conducted by the project team;
2. market analysis, in terms of sector (Hotels, Tour and Activities) and geography
3. competition analysis including identification of direct, indirect and potential competitors; and
4. financial viability, including extensive sensitivity analysis and alternative scenarios validation
• A validation of the UNIGEM technical approach and architecture, taking into consideration the state-of-the-art technology and latest trends,
• A market prioritization plan based on extensive market and competition analysis
• An FTO analysis and an IPR strategy
• A technology and innovation roadmap focused on machine learning and blockchain
• A commercialization and communication plan

Based on the above mentioned outcomes HSTech management team reached a) a decision to proceed with UNIGEM project and to submit a proposal for funding in the context of SME Instrument Phase 2, b) a decision to file a provisional patent for UNIGEM by the end of 2017, c) a decision to establish a distinct legal entity (spin off) for finalizing and commercial introducing UNIGEM to the Market, and finally d) compiled a funding roadmap to support UNIGEM implementation and growth.
UNIGEM strategic impact associates with the disruption of the traditional tourism guest engagement & loyalty markets, as well as the OTA markets. UNIGEM will stimulate a trusty, ecosystem-oriented collaborative & symbiotic business culture between hotels and TSPs. This disruptive ecosystem approach will bring a high economic impact as it will intensify operations, while creating new market opportunities for emerging travel service & technology providers. As such it is expected to affect local tourism markets (micro-level) country (meso-level) ®ional tourism markets (macro-level). Due to the increased demand for high quality services, new employment opportunities will be created in local economies. A positive social impact of UNIGEM will be the promotion & strengthening of the cultural and environmental uniqueness of each destination as the strengths of each region will be highlighted. UNIGEM will also empowering environmental awareness and creating value and sustainability via optimizing supply chains and resources between the participants of the platform.
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