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Technology Rock Stars Nelson Garrido Brookfield Properties

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April 08, 2022
Technology Leaders
Fran Worrall - fran@hospitalityupgrade.com

Nelson Garrido

Senior VP of IT, Brookfield Properties


 

Nelson Garrido is senior vice president of IT at Brookfield Properties, an alternative asset manager that owns more than 200 hotels around the world. He joined the company in 2015 after having served as senior vice president of information technology at Interstate Hotels & Resorts. He also has held senior positions at Noble Management Group and Dolce International. His introduction to the hospitality industry began during college when he worked part-time at a Dolce property in Tarrytown, N.Y.Nelson Garrido 2022

Brookfield’s portfolio includes a mix of property types, including select service hotels, boutique properties and large resorts. The company is responsible for everything from rebranding to renovation, including technology upgrades. When Brookfield acquires a hotel, one of Garrido’s first tasks is to assess its IT infrastructure, which is often woefully outdated. He routinely implements fiber optic connectivity so that guests not only can enjoy high-speed internet service but also can cast their own content. And now, he’s bringing 5G to the company’s properties.

Although connectivity is always top-of-mind, Garrido acknowledges the challenges of staying abreast of industry innovations while keeping on budget. “Technology is changing rapidly, and guests increasingly insist on seamless connectivity from the time they exit the taxi throughout their stay at the hotel,” he said. “Yet capital and availability aren’t limitless.”

Although he doesn’t have a lot of leeway when it comes to the technology solutions that go into the company’s branded properties, he often influences decision making at its independent hotels. He particularly likes Sonifi’s casting solutions and Infor’s Hospitality Management System. He also endorses the InfoGenesis POS solution from Agilysys, primarily because of its mobile functionality, including self-service ordering and pay-at-table capabilities. 

Recently, Garrido has explored the use of robotics, including a trial of an autonomous robot that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect guest rooms and meeting spaces. “Our interest in robotic technology was definitely fueled by the pandemic, but I believe it can be beneficial in many areas of hospitality.”

He also is investigating artificial intelligence. “There’s a place for AI in hospitality, particularly for simple tasks like answering basic questions from the front desk,” he said, noting that the technology is also helpful on the mobility side of the equation. “The challenge is finding the sweet spot between giving guests self-service options and retaining the human touch, which can be especially tricky in the luxury market,” he said. “If someone is paying $800 a night for a room, do they really want to talk to a chatbot?”

Despite an industry focus on the latest solutions, at the end of the day, Garrido’s business philosophy is simple: Technology should always facilitate the business. “IT should never be in the way,” he concluded. “It should make life easier for everyone, whether it’s managers, employees or guests.”

 

NELSON’S BEST:

  • Family: Single.
  • Hobbies: Travel and home renovation projects. “I’m always remodeling something.”
  • Go-To Periodical or Website: The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch, a website that reports on the business of the tech industry.
  • Book: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't by Jim Collins. “It describes how companies can transition from good to excellent, but the same principles also apply to human nature.”
  • Music: Pop and Top 40.
  • Favorite Travel Destination: Portugal. “My parents are from there. The people and the food are great.”
  • Advice to Young People: “Take chances and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s the best way to learn.”
  • Dinner With: Winston Churchill.  “He was an inspirational leader and statesman. I especially love his quote: Success is not final; failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts. I try to remember that in both my personal and professional lives.”

NELSON’S INDUSTRY PREDICTIONS:

 

The use of robots will increase. “Robots are a great solution to the labor shortage,” he said. "From food delivery and table bussing to vacuuming and sanitation, robots can take over a lot of repetitive and time-consuming tasks.” 

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Artificial intelligence will gain traction. “AI not only can help with the labor shortage but also can provide a great service to guests.”

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Demand for customized experiences will grow. “Consumers will continue to seek personalized experiences from hotels, particularly those in the luxury segment.”
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