How new tech will increase hotel productivity

Customer data platforms (CDP) and Large Language Models (LLM) are set to boost the productivity of hotel businesses, according to experts. A permanent reduction in staffing levels is making these tools an inevitable necessity.

So far, digital transformation has been relatively slow in the hotel industry compared to the banking, aviation, and retail sectors. This is largely because of the complexity involved in replacing and/or reconfiguring existing technology while simultaneously operating a customer-centric and resource-intensive business.

Early adopters and tech-first operators that have deployed high levels of automation back-of-house combined with personalized customer engagement, have seen a 20 to 30 percent GOP premium compared to traditional operators, claimed Michael Levie, co-founder of citizenM and now a board member of CDP vendor IreckonU.

One such business is Numa Group. Founded in 2019, the group has rapidly scaled to a portfolio of hotels and serviced apartments in 33 cities across Europe. In September 2023, Numa secured $59m of Series C funding led by Verlinvest.

Creating its entire tech stack from scratch has given the company a first-mover advantage, explained Dimitri Chandogin, president and co-founder, Numa Group.“When we started the company, the main thing we faced was that there is no one solution that fits all purposes. So we started to develop our own tech around three pillars: the guest journey, decreased opex and increased revenue.”

During the pandemic Chandogin found that there were no existing revenue management systems (RMS) to tackle high levels of cancelations, flexible rates, and the need to constantly overbook. So his team developed their own RMS.

It was the same story with housekeeping apps. Numa could not find one that would automatically create a task assignment for three people in a room.

“Hey, three people are checking in. Please prepare the sofa bed without calling, running around, writing emails and so on. It was non-existent in the market, so we developed it ourselves and we have automated more and more of the back end,” explained Chandogin.

He added that Numa has developed its own chatbot called Emma that handles 70 percent of guest inquiries.

The same CDP principles of getting to know customers better to deliver better service also apply to employees, said Michael McGraw, investment principal, Inovia Capital: “What is their background? Where are they coming from? How do we tailor the training to them so it’s 24 hours instead of five days?”

Younger generations who grew up with consumer-grade tech, are simply not prepared to do tedious data entry tasks or learn how to use archaic legacy systems, noted Tristan Gadsby, CEO, Alliants.

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