The power of OTAs is obvious, but hospitality's latest tech titans have already started to think about strategies on how to protect their business and withstand the upcoming competition. With the right data strategy and adoption of the latest technology any hospitality organization can secure its future. The unrivaled areas of travel tech are AI, Chatbots and Blockchains, and the popularity of these fields are only growing with the input of such Tech Titans. This week we’re digging into how beneficial these areas are with real life examples.
It’s not a well-hidden fact that OTAs have a huge impact on the industry. With the likes of Amazon and Google taking play in the hospitality field, it is uncertain how this will disrupt the relationship hotels have with OTAs. With advanced technology solutions, the tech titans like Amazon and Google can control devices and the customer search experience, creating the risk of taking over the guests. But there are good news too.
More and more startups are popping up using blockchain as their backbone of distribution. Blockchain provides an all-in-one platform with seamless payments and heightened security. This article argues that Google has almost sole presence over searches, and therefore if hoteliers seek to work with startups that have a blockchain backbone with more security and considerably lower commission, it’s simple to understand how OTA’s will be impacted. However, Expedia has prepared itself well for the changing landscape of hospitality technology by reinforcing their positioning as a technology company at its core. It is a technology company as much it is an OTA. Hoteliers are interested to move away from commission-based models and seek to incorporate blockchain solutions. For OTAs to compete it such environments, they should think about embracing new technologies. Don’t stay behind and start thinking about your data strategy now.
Many hospitality organizations are investing in AI to evolve guest experience. The financial benefits of AI investment are unmissable. A study from Starfleet Research in partnership with Oracle Hospitality found that 89 percent of hoteliers have drastically lowered operating costs in customer support.
Furthermore, 86 percent of hoteliers add that AI functionality improves employee satisfaction by allowing employees the time to concentrate on other areas such as brand awareness. This article emphasizes that in order for successful AI adoption, it is imperative that companies have an internal culture change. In terms of strategizing, AI should be included in overall business strategies and employees need to aware of this. Sharing how AI is being used, the benefits and how employees can work together with AI to staff will further their personal development and enable progress for both the employee and company.
There’s no disputing that chatbots have made waves within the industry in terms of automating repetitive inquiries and processes. Nonetheless, this article reveals the naked truth of chatbots and claims that now that the “sexiness” of technology has wearied away, chatbots can finally be beneficial. Many chatbots are built with a decision-tree-only logic which is heavily relied on predefined questions and a pool of limited answers. A chatbot with machine learning, on the other hand, has the capability of making data-informed and action-driven responses providing guests with recommendations, self-check in and so on, as explained in this article. It has continuous learning capabilities. A recent example of well implemented chatbot comes from the Best Western. Their helpful chatbot named “Best Friend” enables guests with instant retrieval of booking data, hotel information, upselling capability and much more. The machine learning foundation of their chatbot allows consistent improvement overtime enabling a more personalized guest experience. A key takeaway is that chatbots shouldn’t take over human interactions but should be a seamless connection between guests to back-end processes.