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TECHNOLOGY

Smartphone penetration in GCC up; GulfHost ’17 provides tech solutions
Friday, 06 October, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Dubai
According to GSMA Intelligence, with 77 per cent smartphone penetration across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the emergence of a new digital customer has put pressure on the food and beverage (F&B) sector to stay relevant and for outlets to keep a competitive edge. From embracing social media to developing apps, the inaugural essay of GulfHost, the trade show which concluded at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) recently, provided access to industry experts to discover the best technology solutions to stay ahead of competitors.

A platform dedicated to hospitality and catering equipment solutions, GulfHost also introduced the Restaurant Development Conference, which was powered by the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai and the Middle-East Food Forum. The conference provides practical insights into running a successful F&B business in the region, with core themes including marketing, growth in digital and the emerging role of social media.

“Technology is changing the way restaurants interact with their customers, with apps impacting operators’ topline and becoming an essential contributor to success,” said Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice-president, exhibitions and events management, DWTC.

“It has never been more important to embrace technology, particularly as the region’s digitally-savvy population continues to grow. The adoption of smart technology, use of mobile apps, and social media to enhance guest experience is vital for long-term business success,” she added. “GulfHost is the ideal platform to learn how adapting to technology can result in success,” LohMirmand said.

Social media is a key driver for restaurant recommendations, with nearly two-thirds of social media users in the Middle-East regularly using social networks for recommendations. Food apps have also been a major catalyst of change, according to KPMG.

Consumers use their smartphones and food apps to find new restaurants, and read online reviews, with 40 per cent of respondents also buying meals through their device.

GulfHost 2017 showcased a variety of technologies to help F&B owners create more Instagrammable moments within the restaurant – be it the backdrop or what is on the plate or in the cup - to promote image-sharing, enhance the experience along the full customer journey and develop tech-savvy promotional opportunities to reach new target audiences.

It was co-located with five other shows - Specialty Food Festival, yummex Middle-East (jointly organised by DWTC and Köelnmesse) SEAFEX Middle-East (organised by DWTC) and the Hotel Show and the Leisure Show (owned and organised by dmg events).
 
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