4 Key Takeaways from HITEC 2021

Discover the insights from the hospitality and technology leaders who hosted sessions on digital transformation, AI and Data, and more at HITEC

Last week at HITEC, hoteliers, operators and hospitality leaders convened in Dallas to discuss the state of the hospitality industry and how technology fits into the new hotel landscape post-COVID.  Although travel has reemerged slowly and unevenly across the US and the rest of the world, the tone of the show was cautiously upbeat. How has COVID changed the way hotels operate? What new trends are in the pipeline? Here are the 4 key topics we saw at HITEC this year:

1) Big Data and AI Technology
Big data and data lakes have been around for a while in the hospitality industry. However, hoteliers are now grappling with the challenge of what to do with the mass amount of data they’ve gathered, how to structure it, and how to effectively analyze and use the data. Using AI technology, namely machine learning and natural language processing, hoteliers can begin to use their data to improve revenue management, and operational efficiency. With AI, hoteliers can analyze and pull info from data lakes to make fast informed business decisions, use dynamic pricing (based on seasonality, local competition, hotel history etc.) and offer more personalized guest experience.

2) Innovation Adoption
As hoteliers increase their tech adoption and build their tech stack, deciding on what technology they need to invest in and when, is the number one challenge. Advancements in technology have created a field of new solutions for the hospitality industry that sound exciting but may not yet function properly or be in great demand. For hotels who want to be or remain cutting edge, adopting these emerging technologies can be beneficial but carry a higher risk of proper functionality, require more investment (such as replacing legacy PMS with a cloud-based PMS, upgrading Wi-Fi network solutions), and guest adoption.

3) Labor Shortage
Labor shortages continue to plague the hospitality industry with little reprieve in sight. So how can hotels retain their current staff, continue to provide elevated guest experience, and still generate more revenue with a lean staff? With technology such as mobile apps and ticketing solutions, work management and communications between guests and staff become more streamlined. These tech solutions enable hotels to remove the need for guests to call the front desk for room services and enable them to directly put in a request via their mobile app or smart-room tablets. Guests can also communicate with staff using chatbots at any area of the property. With ticketing solutions, hotels can alleviate some of the staff workload by assigning tasks and managing projects via an app or platform.

4) Personalized Guest Experience
As a result of more consumers relying on contactless mobile technology during COVID, they have become accustomed to receiving more personalized treatment across their entire customer journey.  Hotels will need to provide customers with a hyper-personalized experience in order to remain competitive. With technology, hotels can gather data on guests which can later be used to target services and features specifically to them. In order to offer personalized experience, hotels will need to consolidate customer data that can be easily retrievable and structured. With that in mind, hotels are now shifting from PMS to CRMs as their central system. Future technology will now be built and integrated with their CRMs. With technology advancements, hotels will be able to provide more personalized guest experience, improve their revenue and boost customer loyalty.

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