By Dino Pietropaolo, CTO at Optii Solutions
The HITEC conference 2023 in Toronto is fast approaching. I'm particularly excited to attend Shaun Kanungo’s headline session about taking advantage of disruption and innovation in the hotel industry. Looking back at the challenges over the last few years, it has become clear that we cannot take anything for granted. The pandemic revealed the importance of developing strategies to adapt to unforeseen challenges, and of taking the necessary steps to prepare for the future.
The hotel industry still faces several challenges including the ongoing labor shortage and rising room rates. However, there are also some interesting developments that offer opportunities for hoteliers, such as the deployment of AI to streamline and improve hotel operations. I'm also looking forward to Shaun's session because I'm eager to understand how AI and other trends can not only drive changes in the way hoteliers work but just as importantly, how AI can drive changes in hotel operations to improve the guest experience.
The Challenges Posed by Changing Guest Experience
The rise in room rates is having a direct impact on guest expectations. As guests are paying more for their rooms, they are expecting better services in return. By using technology, hotels can rise to the challenge and ensure guests have the best experience possible.
AI is at the heart of Optii's technology and product strategy because it is an invaluable tool for improving productivity and efficiency. Over time, Optii’s AI-driven Housekeeping module can produce increasingly efficient cleaning routes, resulting in shorter room turnaround times. Optii can relieve strain on staff and give them more time to work on other important tasks.
Optii's technology improves communications, which is vital to ensuring that guest needs are met. This includes being able to respond quickly to early arrivals and guest requests, as reception staff can communicate seamlessly with housekeepers. Optii's technology also enables greater personalization. For example, when regular guests have a specific preference, this can be recorded in the hotel's system so that it is remembered on their next visit.
The Future Outlook of the Industry
It's a common misconception that technology replacements are difficult and time-consuming. In reality, Optii can be up and running in just 2 to 4 weeks. The benefits of technology like Optii are obvious: it reinforces accountability, so that tasks are completed correctly and on time, and it also streamlines workflows so that repurposed time can be used to meet guest needs.
The use of AI also means that the platform is constantly learning and improving operations, meaning that the hotel becomes increasingly efficient over time, making it future-proof and more resilient to unforeseen challenges. Disruptive trends and innovations are an integral part of the hotel industry. Whether it’s alleviating labor shortages or managing evolving guest expectations, technology is the best way to plan for the future and stay ahead of trends.
Shaun’s upcoming session at HITEC provides an opportunity to explore some of the trends facing the hotel industry and how innovation can help to address these challenges. By embracing technological solutions like Optii, hotels can streamline workflows, enhance personalization, and stay ahead of an ever-changing hotel industry.