I was honored and somewhat nervous to moderate an incredible panel that focused on the acquisition of Nor1 by Oracle Hospitality. Even though this occurred in November of 2020, it made great sense to connect with the stakeholders of this strategic purchase almost six months after the paperwork was signed.
The truly unique tête-à-tête between Alex Alt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Hospitality, and Jason Bryant, Vice President Nor1 -Oracle Hospitality, was amplified when we introduced end users of the platform on to the live stream to interact with the executives. The questions ranged from why Oracle brought Nor1 through the mechanics of the acquisition. Alex Alt stated the following when asked why Oracle decided to bring Nor1 into the fold.
“Nor1 helps generate incremental revenue for the properties, and this is typically high margin revenue. So, it is an excellent way for Oracle Hospitality, where some of our products have traditionally been viewed as cost-centers, to have an offering that can help our customers recover the top line of their business.
Oracle is also in a unique position to remove the friction that has historically gotten in the way between taking Nor1 live with Opera accounts. Still, now we have effectively made the combination pain-free, commercially, technically, procedurally, to get Nor1 up and running in a hotel that’s using the Opera PMS.
What an amazing group of individuals who have moved over from Nor1, with Jason at the helm. They have a distinct knowledge of AI and machine learning; they have a passion for the industry; they have a passion for the mission of Nor1. And what a great thing to be able to add technology, customers, but also Nor1 team members.”
Jason Bryant, VP of Nor1 added “The alignment between the two companies was most important to me and the team. We share a vision on the importance and focus on measuring, managing, and monetizing guest engagement. At the end of the day, that is fundamentally what we do. And I think that is obviously the significant value proposition that we bring into the Oracle Hospitality mix.”
There was a great deal of information available to those who were listening live to the event. The content is available here. The session focused on how Oracle and Nor1 are passionate about ensuring that the hotel industry gets right back on its feet as soon as possible.
Then came the one-on-one questions from the hotel-specific panelists.
The hoteliers that were kind enough to accept our invitation to be involved in the event were seasoned veterans representing all hotel industry areas, including IT, Revenue Management, and Operations. We were delighted to have the following executive included in the conversation:
- Gunnar van Hagen, COO, Lindner Hotels
- Riko van Santen, CIO, Kempinski Hotels
- Vikram Pradham, GVP, Revenue Management, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Riko van Santen, CIO of Kempinski Hotels has been in the hotel technology industry for quite some time and has seen technology companies come and go. When it comes to Nor1, he has been a staunch supporter of the platform but also had some questions for Alex and Jason. One of his most intriguing questions focused on interoperability. “OHIP is something that Oracle is developing, something that’s already in progress of replacing or improving the API capabilities, stated Riko. How can we bring more of those upsell touchpoints within the hotel?” The true panacea for hotel operators is not to only offer upsells within the booking path or at the front desk but to offer other amenities as well, whether they are on-property or potential off-property. Today’s post-pandemic guest will want options on where and how they spend their money.
I have to say that this panel format is a great way to get everyone engaged in the discussion. It is so refreshing to see technology providers interacting with the tech users from both a high level and from a granular perspective. More technology companies should entertain this format to inform and educate the marketplace concerning their corporate and product direction. After all, we are all in this together.