The top technology trends of 2018

Hotel booking through Instagram now available
Instagram introduced features in 2018 that allow users to book hotels without having to leave the app. Photo credit: iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus

Technology in hospitality keeps evolving at lightning speeds as guests, staff and management demand more and better offerings. As we head into 2019, here are some of Hotel Management's biggest technology-related stories from the past year.

Revenue management was a hot topic to start off the year. With the increasing availability of revenue-management technologies, it's easy for hoteliers to get overwhelmed. But not taking the time to understand how to make revenue management work for your property is a sure path to declining performance. The list of five trends hoteliers should watch out for garnered a high level of interest.
             
This past spring, Instagram unveiled new action buttons, making it easier for the social media platform’s 800 million users to book hotel rooms and other travel reservations through the app. With the new features, users can now book, get tickets, reserve or "start order" without having to leave the app.

Amazon launched Alexa for Hospitality in June, a new program that provides hoteliers with an Amazon Echo to act as a voice-activated virtual concierge in each guestroom. Marriott International took the lead on installation of Alexa for Hospitality and rolled out the program at select properties in Marriott, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels and Autograph Collection Hotels last summer.

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Hotel Management readers wanted to know how to avoid slow, spotty or nonexistent connectivity. Readers were very interested in the six mistakes that hotels make when it comes to Wi-Fi on their property.

Radisson Hotel Group shed its Carlson name, it's in the process of shedding a legion of underperforming hotels and it's also shedding its previous technology platforms. In place of these platforms, Radisson will be launching "Emma," a unified system designed to encompass revenue management, property management, business analytics and more, and it will be debuting in Radisson hotels in 2019.

This year also was a big for Choice Hotels International with the introduction of its new cloud-based global reservations system, choiceEDGE. The new GRS, CEO Pat Pacious said, is much more robust and even has bells and whistles such as voice-based search, artificial intelligence and, "eventually will look at blockchain," he said, which could help drive more direct bookings, thereby bypassing online travel intermediaries. 

Of course booking direct stayed in the forefront in 2018 with a panel session at the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin focusing on who owns the customer: the hotel or the online travel agency? Readers also were interested in how the value of hotel-direct bookings is measured by more than numbers. 

And Marriott was at the forefront of the news cycle in the past few weeks with the announcement of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide data breach. Marriott learned of the breach thanks to a security alert it received on Sept. 8. Following an internal investigation, the company discovered Starwood’s security had been compromised since 2014. This is an ongoing story that will remain big news into 2019.