The Fourth Industrial Revolutions (4.0 or FIR) The eight technologies underpinning hotel business


Technology and automation are very hot topics in our industry and we simply cannot get away from them. Technology is evolving at a rapid speed, and, in order to complete, hotels have to respond to emerging guest expectations.

Just as the agricultural, industrial, and computer networking revolutions vastly changed life as we know it, the road to superintelligence through the application of AI known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0 is the next big transformation awaiting humankind.

In today’s hyper-connected world, organisations simply cannot survive without an effective and comprehensive strategy that covers innovation and technology with AI as a major component. The key to success lies in the acquisition and distribution of information then finding ways of translating information into revenue and profitability.

Any organisation that wants to grow must learn to harness the power of modern technology and prevent from being left behind. Waiting to adopt the basic technology like the latest in revenue management, and business analytics solutions, in particular, it will make it considerably harder for any organisations to catch-up and compete at par.

With so much technology, brands, and offers, consumers have acquired more power than ever. The choice is at the tip of their fingers. Consumers spend more and more time online, doing everything faster and in real time, the expectation for automatic and efficient processes continues to increase and companies need to innovate faster and more frequently as speed becomes a priority.

No one really knows which technology will provide maximum returns on investment but hoteliers can determine which technology is genuinely useful and which is just a fad and priority should always be given to revenue management technology and systems, and improving guest experience.

In general, hotels generate a lot of data from their operating profit centres, but, in most cases, this data is kept in different silos/standalone platforms making it very difficult (if not impossible) to centrally manage, keep updated and synchronised.

Confidentiality and security concerns; attracting and retaining business it is and it will remain the main objective of any hotels in business but must also plan for tight security of all data and guest’s information as there is nothing that will drive guests away faster than a data or payment security breach. Serious work to be done by the industry on this very important topic.

While Al-based technology is likely to eliminate some jobs, it will also create new ones. The exact ratio, however, is hard to predict. And, at present, we do not know the extent to which automation will impact the actual cost of labour in hotels.

Interesting to realize that if properly used, technology can better level the playing field for small operators to compete on a world stage.

Unfortunately, some hotels/companies are notorious for being behind the curve when it comes to the latest technology, and this has to change. Hotels have to look beyond the status quo.

With that in mind, here are just some of the ways that the implementation and use of AI could benefit the hospitality industry at this current stage:

  1. Revenue optimization by identifying opportunities in existing and new markets/sources of business and dynamically adjusting pricing on a daily/hourly basis.
  2. Facilitating the booking process and driving direct bookings through optimised websites that deliver dynamic, personalised content.
  3. Collecting data, cleaning data, and saving data. AI can and should be used to sort through large amounts of data with the objective to draw important conclusions about existing and potential customers.
  4. Reputation management online by flagging poor reviews and comments for a timely response. AI can also respond quickly to simple questions/requests (via chatbots and similar virtual assistants ).
  5. Personalization of services by using AI to respond to customer preferences and create customer-specific offers and loyalty rewards. By integrating all systems within the organisation, hotels will be able to enhance service efficiency to surpass guest and customer expectations.
  6. AI can also help to improve accuracy of forecasting and budgeting, to analyse productivity, and to consolidate all statistics and reports. General accounting, purchasing, inventory controls, etc. will also benefit from the speed and accuracy that AI affords. The objective here is to make the business smarter.
  7. AI can also be very useful for training programmes that are becoming essential to the success of hotels/organisations, as well as for quality compliance, safety and security.
  8. AI will also help in streamlining maintenance work, ensuring physical products are checked in a timely fashion to prevent loss of business due to rooms/facilities being out of order. It can also greatly assist in managing carbon emissions and in saving energy.
  9. And many others.