Niall Lenihan is Partnerships Development Manager at IN4Hospitality's Gold Sponsor, Net Affinity. With a team of creative experts leading the field of hotel technology since 2000, Net Affinity's conversion-focused booking technology, creative digital marketing and cutting-edge web design are a hotel’s toolkit to maximize direct bookings.
How long have you worked in the hospitality industry?
I have been working in the hospitality industry for 16 years, my first job was working in the banqueting department for gala dinners and weddings. I do not miss silver service on potatoes and vegetables.
What is your area of expertise?
My expertise is sales, marketing and revenue management. My background prior to my current role was working on property in business development and revenue management for independent and chain properties.
What can your product or service bring to the industry?
Our aim at Net Affinity is for independent hotels to grow their direct bookings as, at the end of the day, “direct is best”. We assist hotels in growing their direct bookings by using our booking engine, digital marketing and website design.
How does it help solve problems for hoteliers?
Our technology and reporting provides hoteliers with a greater landscape overview of their business. We then have the experience within our e-commerce and digital teams to guide hotels and grow their business and brand successfully.
We are nearly at the end of Q1 2020 already, what is your main prediction for the remainder of 2020?
I am waiting for Amazon to make a play into the hotel industry and also Google’s meta platform Google Hotel Price Ads to grow and grow.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I enjoy helping hotels, in a lot of cases simple changes can make a big difference. I speak to hotels all over the world weekly and even though they may not choose Net Affinity as their hotel technology provider, I always offer advice on what I would recommend them to change about their website, digital marketing or booking engine.
Describe yourself in one word?
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
That everybody gets a fair shot and chance. I like to see ambition in people and not necessarily what they are like right now, but what they could be like with the right environment to grow.
What is your favourite pastime outside of work?
My wife and I have recently relocated to Westport, which is on the west coast of Ireland, approx. 2.5 hours’ drive from Dublin. I am passionate about road running followed by a quick recovery swim in the Atlantic ocean.
What are you currently reading?
Open by Andre Agassi. I enjoy sports autobiographies and trying to understand a professional athlete's mindset about success and failure.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you miss the most?
My wife, family and friends.
Access to sport.
What’s your greatest achievement in life so far?
I think there are a few different stages in life that I am proud of: Graduating from school, graduation from college and getting married. Living abroad in the Middle East, Switzerland and the UK.
What football team do you support?
What is your role within IN4Hospitality?
This is Net Affinity’s first year as Gold Member, we are going to try and help out with digital marketing and event promotion.
Do you have any pets?
No – we are contemplating hens and a puppy though.
What do you enjoy the most about being part of IN4Hospitality?
Opportunity to meet hoteliers, partners and share experiences. It is a learning experience for me also, learning the challenges the hotels are experiencing and being able to problem solve for them.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge for hotels nowadays?
Understanding that changing or upgrading technology can help you succeed, sometimes the short-term pain of investment will impact the decision a hotel makes rather than what the longer benefits of the new hotel technology can bring. There are also so many new providers to market which has widened the choice to hoteliers and made their decisions even more difficult.
Describe IN4Hospitality in one word?
Free advice (I know it's two words)