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The importance of increasing digitization in hospitality | By Nicki Graham – Hospitality Net

Ever since the first hotel reservation system was established by Westin in 1947, technology has increasingly become a centerpiece of hotel operations.
The pace of change continues to accelerate, with strides in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies expanding the capabilities of automated personalization. But that doesn’t mean that hospitality technology has kept up with the times.
The majority of hotels have yet to fully unleash their full digitization potential. It’s not for a lack of trying: AI marketing is supported by 75% of hotel chain’s top executives, and yet only 36% of all chains deploy automated personalization strategies.
So where do the gaps lie? And how can we build bridges to a fully-realized digital future for hotels? H2C’s latest Global Automated Personalization Study surveyed a global sample of hoteliers across categories to explore these questions — and illuminate pathways towards delivering digitization in a meaningful, impactful way.
When it comes to AI-driven automation, there’s an inherent tension between operational efficiency and individual relevance.
Hotels want to benefit from automatically personalizing each touchpoint on a 1:1 basis, but that precision can’t sacrifice guest individuality. Even if they accept the necessity of automation for today’s businesses, guests still want relevant communications that feel authentic and genuine.
But achieving automated personalization without sacrificing guest individuality is incredibly difficult due to competing priorities and lack of knowledge.
40% of hotels don’t seek to apply personalized automation due to lack of knowledge, while 39% lack the knowledge to leverage the technology.
Even with these glaring challenges, the opportunities are numerous if automation is embraced:
The normalization of AI technologies in hospitality isn’t without its challenges. These include:
These challenges reduce AI effectiveness, as personalization is less relevant and accurate, and implementation becomes a steep hill to climb for overburdened staff with limited budgets. To overcome these challenges, there are some clear action items to take.
Even once hotels apply automated personalization, success is not guaranteed. It requires a dedicated implementation approach that’s structured to overcome the challenges of automated personalization.
There’s a reason why only one third of respondents in h2C’s study use automated personalization technology: it’s difficult to deliver at scale across an entire hotel operation and even those that manage to implement automated AI systems aren’t always successful as the study found 80% of chains are challenged with automated personalization tech.
Successfully implementing these new technologies requires thoughtful action informed by clear-eyed strategy. Some action items to consider:
With each of these action items, your hotel will be well-equipped to successfully implement automated personalization and other AI-driven technologies.
The imperative to invest and leverage these technologies is also accelerating. With COVID-related labor shortages, coupled with evolved guest expectations, AI has the potential to put your hotel in a more competitive position, boosting productivity and operational efficiency.
But there are a few areas for improvement that could benefit from AI automations. The top five priorities for respondents over the next 24 months are:
As hotels become more comfortable with AI-driven technologies to automate personalization, the benefits accrue more readily to the bottom line. The guest experience also stands to benefit from more accurate, relevant and timely communications across all touchpoints.
Cendyn is a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry. We help hotels around the globe drive profitability and guest loyalty through an integrated technology platform that aligns revenue, ecommerce, distribution, marketing and sales teams with centralized data, applications, and analytics, so they can capture more demand and accelerate growth. With offices located across the globe, in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Singapore, Bangkok, and India, Cendyn serves tens of thousands of customers across 143 countries. To find out more, visit
Alessandro Fenzl
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