The Technology You Don’t Want to Miss at ITB This YearBy Pierre Boettner - founder and CEO, hospitality pulse
It comes as no surprise that ITB Berlin is considered one of the can't-miss industry events each year, especially for those hospitality professionals always eager to learn, "What is the next big thing?"
Running from March 7th-11th, ITB Berlin is an international, annual tradition featuring the best of the best in new travel technology, guest experience enhancements, networking opportunities and more.
For those of you with a vested interest in the technology portion of the trade show, we've rounded up the top 3 technology segments to check out while at ITB Berlin 2018.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been on our industries' radar for quite some time but only recently has it become a solidified movement in various industries. With tech giants such as Google, Apple, Amazon and more investing in AI, it's not hard to imagine the way in which AI could transform the hospitality industry as it relates to an entirely responsive and customized guest experience.
Recently, Personal Assistant technology (Google Mini, Amazon Echo, etc.) has effectively captured the interest of consumers everywhere and are becoming a favorite hotel offering for the modern guest.
Of course, it doesn't end with Personal Assistants — rather, that's just the beginning. Already, Hilton hotels have adopted 'CONNIE' which is able to provide tourist information to those guests who interact with it. It even adapts to the guest as they ask it more questions and CONNIE begins to learn what is important and relevant, thus delivering specific responses that enhance the experience. This technology also extends to AI-based chatbots, which various hotels now have in place to provide personalized service to their guests, anytime and anywhere.
Hoteliers have now understood the advantage of AI in their business set-up and the wide range of things that it brings to their tables.
Artificial Intelligence is the fourth industrial revolution which is bound to change the entire scene how business is being operated and looked at.
2. Augmented Reality
Often confused with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality (AR) uses computer technology to enhance the real-world environment of the participant, in real-time. Instead of replacing reality (with a virtual environment), AR introduces digital components into reality by overlaying information over a live picture of a physical environment.
This technology is of particular interest to the hospitality realm, as it allows hotels to enhance the physical environment they are offering to each guest, such as the hotel property, hotel rooms and on-property services and entertainment. Further, the modern hotel guest is continuously in search of information to empower their experience. With the help of AR, hotels can make far more information readily available to customers on a 24/7 basis, which cultivates a more in-depth, customized experience for each guest. We also have to consider the rise of millennial travelers, who are known to value experience over previous generations and favor digital-forward hotels and businesses.
3. Hotel Booking Innovation
When it comes to booking their next stay, guests not only want the online booking process to be easy, mobile-friendly and fast, but they also want to pick the attributes and features of the room they book. This means moving away from the traditional model of manual room assignment upon check-in, in order to provide guests with complete control over the rooms they book. Preferences can include specifics such as selecting a room further away from the elevator, on a high floor, near friends they are traveling with, or with a balcony or specific layout.
Modern, cutting-edge online booking technology like the platform that hospitalityPulse has developed, empower hotels to offer their guest complete control throughout the booking process. With the help of these new booking platforms that focus on the room attributes, hotels can entirely personalize the guest experience to let the guests choose what they want and guests are left with the assurance that each stay will meet (and hopefully exceed) their expectations every time.
ITB Berlin 2018 is officially only a couple weeks away. Be sure to come see hospitalityPulse at ITB - Hall 8.1, Booth 124a and look at our new INSIGHTS product. INSIGHTS is a free of charge hotel operations BI tool that allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of your operations.
Pierre Boettner spent his entire life between hotel operations and hospitality technology. In 1993 he pioneered an industry-first forecasting and pricing tool for Mövenpick Hotels and was later involved in many system innovations, helping hoteliers improve their distribution capabilities. Recognizing the increasing difficulty of managing rooms operations, he and long-time colleague Denis Bajet founded hospitalityPulse in 2013. This company has dedicated itself to solving the most complex operations tasks still requiring daily human intervention. Pierre Boettner is a graduate of the esteemed Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.