Industry Outlook

Client Summit Reflections: Hoteliers Driving Hotel Tech Innovation to Deliver Automation and Operational Efficiency

By , Vice President, Global Account Management

As we look back on the brilliant IDeaS Converge Client Summit, I can’t help but be excited for the future of hotel technology and the critical role IDeaS will play in shaping it.  

I come away from this event energized not just from listening to our thought-provoking lineup of presenters, but also from the countless conversations I—and others from the IDeaS team—had with our growing and immensely talented clients. A special “thank you” to all who attended and helped make this event possible.

Because of you, I’m buzzing with thoughts about the future of the hospitality industry and the work that lies ahead for hotel technology providers. While I’ll spare you from recording my every last thought here, I do want to share some of the key takeaways that crystalized during the event.  

The Big Picture: 3 Key Points from IDeaS 2023 Client Summit 

With discussions and presentations ranging from the impact of generative AI on hospitality and travel to profit optimization and the shifting structure of a data-driven commercial strategy team, there was plenty of food for thought. Here are a few themes that stood out to me.  

1. Technology is positioned to further transform hospitality 

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has been grabbing headlines for quite a while now, and the easy-to-grasp outputs of tools like ChatGPT have only amplified the excitement. While it’s true with tech advancements that there’s often a gap between the hype and reality, this Summit highlighted there’s still plenty of reason to be excited about the impact of AI and automation on the hospitality industry, especially the industry-leading AI decisioning that IDeaS has employed for years.

Shane O’Flaherty, Global Director of Travel, Transportation and Hospitality at Microsoft, shared during his presentation a McKinsey & Company report that travel and transportation are the two industries most likely to benefit from generative AI, particularly due to the sheer volume of data produced in the guest booking and stay journey. At IDeaS we know just how valuable that data is, and how it will continue to fuel tech advancements—even those the average guest may never be aware of.

However, even if the guest isn’t aware, hoteliers still need to continue pushing themselves and their vendors into the future to see real change. As evidenced by a quote by Microsoft’s Shane O’Flaherty, stating: 

“Hotels have traditionally invested in guest-facing technologies, but now hoteliers are realizing they need to focus on employee-facing systems as the next step in their tech evolution.”  

And we agree, with our recent focus on next-level hybrid forecasting and automated configuration as two simple examples of “behind-the-scenes” work that will help clients make an impact—and quickly. 

2. Being bold in your growth strategies requires quick action and the right technology.  

The “old way” dies hard, but the challenges and opportunities facing hoteliers today make it abundantly clear that implementation of revenue management technology is an essential step for navigating what the future—and today—has in store for the industry. 

The environment for hoteliers is increasingly complex to navigate. External factors like war, inflation, and a tight labor market have put immense pressure on the industry to do more with less. But in times of pressure, you must be bold and take calculated chances to move forward. Beyond taking the foundational step of getting a proper revenue management system and pricing strategies in place, hoteliers need to chart their brave new course and shift from focusing primarily on room revenue-based metrics and prioritize profitability. 

We’re well-positioned at IDeaS to help your organization. My colleague Stephen Hambleton, a director on our product management team, shared a recent study during his presentation that found a 1 percent increase in forecast accuracy can lead to a 0.5 percent operating cost reduction. With improved forecasting and new features that incorporate the costs associated with acquiring a guest and the cost of stay in optimization decisions, IDeaS can help you grow top-line revenue and control costs to positively impact an owner’s Net Operating Income.  

3. Speed and scalability provide a formidable combo 

It’s no surprise that we at IDeaS work with a massive amount of data. But it’s hard not to marvel at the scale of it all—we’re receiving 10 terabytes of data every single day, and in turn making BILLIONS of automated pricing decisions before most of us have finished our morning coffee. 

The success of our solutions is directly tied to our ability to manage data at this scale. Our development and deployment of Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-based data infrastructure has enabled us to serve an ever-growing number of properties securely and seamlessly. It’s not a flashy subject, but it is absolutely critical to get it right. 

We’ve also placed a tremendous emphasis on speed. With our cloud-based infrastructure, we can more quickly innovate, test and deploy new features and improvements without client downtime. Additionally, new features like automated configuration are making a significant dent in the time it takes to get new properties up and running at full speed. 

Our focus on being able to grow, innovate, and improve quickly is something that I believe has positioned us well to meet the needs of the future in hospitality.  

Closing thoughts 

Hoteliers are undoubtedly seeing some big challenges and changes on the horizon. But after this Summit, I’m more confident than ever that IDeaS is ready to help our clients face these challenges head-on, adapt, and ultimately thrive. 

To flourish in the future often requires bold action today. Together we can chart a course for a bright future that’s fueled by trusted, innovative technologies. I hope you’ve packed your shades.

Ready to take a bold step toward a future of improved revenue and profitability? Reach out to your client manager or request a demo today to start the conversation. 

Vice President, Global Account Management

Mohamed “Mo” Khanat earned over 20 years of hotel and hospitality technology experience before joining IDeaS in 2012. Mo’s experience working for Accor Canada and Travelocity helps him deliver the best possible experience and outcomes to IDeaS clients. When he’s not creating lasting client relationships, Mo can be found getting fitted for a new blazer or translating kph to mph in his adopted home of Minneapolis.

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