Source: Hospitality Net

Following our coverage of the Mews Unfold 2024 event in Amsterdam, where we highlighted the Unfold Awards and interviewed the winners, we have more insights to share. In addition to the interviews, we posed a crucial question to the speakers and attendees:

According to you, what is the top tech trend which will shape hospitality’s future and why?

Their responses were both enlightening and inspiring, offering a glimpse into the future of our industry. We compiled these answers into a single video clip, which you can watch below.

Insights from Industry Leaders

Our question sparked a variety of perspectives, reflecting the dynamic and rapidly evolving nature of hospitality technology. Here are some key trends identified by the industry experts:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI was frequently mentioned as a game-changer for the industry. David Kijlstra, CEO of Highest Season, highlighted AI's role in enhancing the capabilities of uneducated employees, enabling them to perform complex tasks like revenue management. Similarly, Andrew Rubinacci, Chief Advisory Officer at FLYR, emphasized the seamless integration of AI into everyday operations, enhancing guest experiences through sophisticated recommendation engines.

2. Data Mastery and Personalization

Data emerged as a foundational element for future advancements. Sven Ephithite, Director of Autosystems at Strawberry, stressed the importance of master data in making better decisions. Daan de Bruijn, Co-founder of Bookboost, emphasized the power of centralized data to personalize guest experiences at scale, catering to travelers' desire for unique and tailored stays.

3. Trust and Safety

Fiona McDonnell, VP of Global Partner Services at, underscored the significance of leveraging technology, including AI, to enhance trust and safety. Ensuring data security and building guest trust are crucial for business success, as echoed by Dylan Cole, Managing Director at Revinate, who pointed out the hospitality industry's vulnerability to cyber threats.

4. Human-Centric Technology

The re-humanization of hospitality through technology was another prominent theme. Dr. R. David Edelman from MIT and Laura Nolte, VP of Brand Marketing & Comms at Sircle Collection, both highlighted the importance of technology that empowers staff to focus on creating genuine human connections, thereby enriching the guest experience.

5. Sustainability and Efficiency

Sustainability continues to be a key trend, with a focus on technologies that reduce environmental impact and enhance operational efficiency. Innovations in energy management and waste reduction are crucial for eco-conscious travelers and hoteliers alike.

6. Flexible and Adaptive Technology

Guilain Denisselle, Founder & Editor in Chief of, noted a shift towards using customer-preferred communication channels, such as WhatsApp and SMS, instead of forcing guests to adapt to hotel-specific apps. This flexibility in technology usage is essential for meeting guests' needs.

7. Empowering Staff Through Automation

Wouter Vermeulen, CTO of Holoconnects, discussed the trend of technology facilitating operations in unmanned or minimally staffed hotels. Automation and AI integration are key to maintaining service quality with fewer staff.

Fiona McDonnell, VP Global Partner Services -
Sven Ephithite, Director of Autosystems - Strawberry
Daan de Bruijn, Co-founder - Bookboost
David Kijlstra, CEO - Highest Season
Dylan Cole, Managing Director - Revinate
Joanne Dreyfus, Hospitality Lead - Deloitte
Laura Nolte, VP Brand Marketing & Comms - Sircle Collection
Dr. R. David Edelman, Founder & Director, Project on Technology, the Economy, and National Security, MIT Former White House Tech Advisor
Andrew Rubinacci, Chief Advisory Officer - FLYR
Fausto Vieira da Silva, Strategic Partnerships Lead - PriceLabs
Josef Starychfojtu, CPTO - Mews
Wouter Vermeulen, CTO - Holoconnects
Guilain Denisselle, Founder & Editor in chief -

Fiona McDonnell, VP Global Partner Services, "My perspective on the trend that is going to shape the hospitality future is really how we leverage tech, including AI, to enhance trust and safety, which is fundamental and actually a business value driver."

Sven Ephithite, Director of Autosystems, Strawberry: "I think master data is one of the most important things, giving us insights and a foundation for better decisions."

Daan de Bruijn, Co-founder, Bookboost: "So we live in a world of opportunities today, and I think this is a great question. What is the main trend for hospitality and why? I think the absolute most important trend at the moment is to personalize the experience. Travelers are looking for interesting experiences, and when you can personalize and tailor at scale by centralizing data, you will be in a great place."

David Kijlstra, CEO, Highest Season: "It might be obvious, but AI is going to be the answer. The reason? A little less obvious. I was visiting Indonesia last year and it was beautiful to see how AI was facilitating uneducated employees to suddenly write as real receptionists or customer service employees. They're able to do slight revenue management, even though they had almost no background in it. So it's really helped them to become better educated and even earn higher salaries. So I'm very positive that this technology will have a really big impact, especially in second or third world countries."

Dylan Cole, Managing Director, Revinate: "Something that I found very interesting today was during one of the presentations, they said that hospitality was one of the top five sectors most attractive to hackers. I think the hospitality industry, obviously the focus is on the guest and the experience and delivering on that. But oftentimes hoteliers don't have the time or bandwidth to think about protecting their guest data and ensuring that it's safe. When investigating new tech, hoteliers really need to think about how long a company has been around, how secure the data is, and how safe the guest information is to ensure their brand is trusted and their properties aren't vulnerable to data breaches."

Joanne Dreyfus, Hospitality Lead, Deloitte: "So when the question is asked, what is the biggest change in the future? Well, I will say it's people. It's going to be the people and how they are going to change to use the tech. So I'm not going to talk about any type of tech. I'm going to talk about people. That, for me, is the most important."

Laura Nolte, VP Brand Marketing & Comms, Sircle Collection: "The top technology trend is definitely going to be about empowering people through automation so that they can focus on being intuitive and really personal, adding soul back into the industry. This way, they're not bogged down with too many menial tasks and can create real connections, which are the most memorable part of any good hospitality journey."

Dr. R. David Edelman, Founder & Director, Project on Technology, the Economy, and National Security, MIT; Former White House Tech Advisor: "The top tech trend that is going to shape hospitality’s future is probably not all that technical at all. In fact, I think it's the re-humanization of the experience of hospitality with technology involved. What I mean by that is we're increasingly in a world where hoteliers and providers want to have an experience intermediated by technology, one where technology replaces many human functions. But the customer wants something else. They want an experience that feels more human, more personal, and more tailored to them. So the best technology, the technology that will transform the industry, is the one that speaks to that human desire—technology that becomes invisible and an extension of the hospitality experience, getting to know the customers and anticipating their needs without feeling terribly technological."

Andrew Rubinacci, Chief Advisory Officer, FLYR: "The top tech trend for the hospitality industry is, unsurprisingly, AI. But it's about how we use AI. AI will permeate everything and, at some point, just become part of what happens. The recommendation engines you get from Amazon or Netflix are AI-based, but no one calls them AI. So this type of technology, as it is adopted by consumers, will eventually become part of the overall guest experience. It is AI, but it's non-invasive AI."

Fausto Vieira da Silva, Strategic Partnerships Lead, PriceLabs: "I think the main trend is how to implement AI and new technology while still keeping a hyperlocal factor. This really makes a difference and is what people want. If everyone starts to implement the same technology and processes, everything becomes the same, losing the unique experience that people are looking for."

Josef Starychfojtu, CPTO, Mews: "There are several trends, and it's hard to mention just one. Obviously, AI is a major change shaping not just hospitality’s future but the world's future. We see everyone using ChatGPT and similar technologies, which shape guest behavior. But practically, we will see more people embracing self-service solutions and tech that help focus on the core of hospitality, which is human interaction. Tech will enable us to focus more on this, with repetitive tasks being streamlined by AI. In a way, I hope we see less technology in hospitality, allowing us to engage more with people and the community."

Wouter Vermeulen, CTO, Holoconnects: "I think the top tech trend for hospitality is technology that supports unmanned hotels or hotels with less staff. Technologies like our hologram solution and AI integrations with systems like Mews ensure that fewer staff can provide the same level of service."

Guilain Denisselle, Founder & Editor in Chief, "Hotels have tried to push customers to use their technology their way. We see a change now where hotels are trying to use the channels customers prefer. If a customer uses WhatsApp, the hotel uses WhatsApp. If the customer wants SMS, the hotel uses SMS. We need to talk to customers using their preferred tools, not forcing them to use the hotel’s tools. This trend is becoming more prominent."

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