Confessions from BridgeStreet's Top Supply Chain Geek
Here & Now spent a few minutes catching up with Jonathan Hamblett, BridgeStreet’s new VP of Partner Communities, to understand the big world of dynamic supply and how it's shaping hospitality. The companies foray into technology has meant a complete reevaluation of supply chain dynamics and how suppliers are corralled into a unified environment. The 15-minute conversation gives us a critical look into what we don't always pay attention to - or see. Jonathan's experience in computer science and technologies with companies like AMEX make him an incredible addition to the BridgeStreet team.
Jonathan, as BridgeStreet makes the effort to consolidate the Extended-Stay industry under a technology platform, what are you spending your time on?
We are adding millions of units to BridgeStreet, all with disparate technology capabilities. It's a massive effort to develop new technology that allows our suppliers to upload consistently, with ease and optimization - many from incongruent platforms. We're building that ever-important bridge between suppliers that have the breadth of inventory in both quality and quantity to a pool of global clients that need them. When we've completed our first stages, it will signal a major change as to how business travel and extended-stay operates, let alone perceived. So, I guess I would say that's all I'm spending my time on. That and intermittent sleep with the occasional meal.
Okay, noted. How will supply chain dynamics affect hospitality, and in particular, the Extended-Stay industry?
There's such fragmentation in serviced apartments, specifically, which provides us with an incredible challenge as well as an incredible opportunity. Up to now, the process has been outdated (and cumbersome) but technology is allowing us to streamline, bringing everyone to the table to play in the global market. It's really a moment of realization that will make business travel easier and more reliable. As a business strategy, BridgeStreet is seizing upon one of those rare industry opportunities to wrap up an entire sector for the greater good.
What advice can you offer to suppliers trying to improve their exposure?
Well, our core philosophy is listening to the customer. And in doing so, we understand that adoption to new processes will take time. We get that - change isn't always easy, especially for businesses that have done the same thing for years. And yet, there are better ways for improving performance.
My advice would be to first explore the benefits of what broader exposure would mean. Next, I would make sure that the program they pursue provides quality clients that are vetted and trusted. I would then suggest that choice be verified for guarantees in both payment transactions and duty of care.
This industry is ripe for consolidation - for everyone's benefit. But change isn't always easy which is why we've worked so hard to make it so. Our sincere hope is for smaller companies without distribution capabilities to join our platform in order to improve their business model and contribute to the overall health and prosperity of Extended-Stay hospitality.