Industry Update
Opinion Article 4 August 2021

Hospitality AI vs. Human Expertise – Striking the Balance

By Paprika Le Bourgeois, Director Customer Success & Product Design | Infor RMS

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As new hospitality technology emerges and as organizations increasingly invest in it, the ways people do their jobs change in response. Most of the time, this means greater efficiency, and a way for teams to concentrate on key tasks while the technology takes care of the necessary minutiae. Some of the time though, the rise of certain technologies can cause some concerns that with certain functionality in place, the human factor will get lost.

Hospitality AI functionality in hotel revenue management and in hotel pricing tools is a case in point. The conversation around automation via algorithms has been too easily positioned with a “versus” between machine learning solutions and professional expertise. Yet, the features of the technology and years of knowledge and experience held by revenue and strategy teams isn’t adversarial. The relationship between them is more about achieving greater focus and clarity. How do science-based algorithms in revenue management and pricing solutions help your organization do that? Let’s look at some key points.

Complex information in a digital marketplace

Being competitive in the hospitality industry today means responding to changes in an array of markets as soon as they happen. Because of the increased emphasis on web and mobile-based commerce supported by digital integrations between systems, those changes happen quickly and frequently during a 24-hour cycle, applicable across multiple channels.

This is in part driven by how modern consumers find and select the best travel and accommodation options to suit their needs. Those needs tend to vary depending on seasonality, location, budget, world events, weather, and other factors. That is a lot of data to account for on the part of hotel revenue management professionals and teams. So, the question of hospitality AI versus human expertise in this context becomes about the best options to turn complexity into a clear path to generating revenue and profitability.

Hospitality AI is not a replacement of human expertise – it’s an enhancement of it

With that goal in mind, it might be useful to ask this question; between AI and human expertise, what is each best at delivering? To address that, it’s important to acknowledge that keeping track of complex data from multiple sources in significant volumes, all at the same time around the clock, is what machine-learning solutions are designed to be good at – analyzing detailed pricing data in each relevant region at any time, measuring it against comparable offerings, and then building a continual profile of where your organization fits into that complex competitive matrix.

Considering that, what are human beings best at? The answer is this – telling stories. In this context, that means using hospitality AI features to identify and isolate recurring patterns in the data, and then translating them into a cohesive narrative that can help guide practical strategy with a greater sense of confidence. In this, hospitality AI technology enhances these human efforts to create cogent narratives that produce strategic clarity. With a sharper image of what the competitive landscape looks like based on real-time data, hotel revenue management and hospitality pricing activities become more about understanding how to communicate the clearest possible picture for the rest of the organization, and having clear actions to take to realize competitive goals.

Intelligent hotel revenue management and pricing – creating clarity and direction

Machine learning solutions and automated functionality is not a replacement for human expertise. The technology is vital to supporting clear narratives and informing more effective communications with other professionals and their teams. This helps the organization to focus on relevant priorities, allocate spend in appropriate ways, and provide an overall competitive vision for stakeholders to understand and align themselves. Revenue management professionals want to know that the work they’re doing in these areas is having a positive impact on the outcome for your organization. These powerful solutions help them achieve this more effectively, and with greater confidence.

With smart solutions that employ automated functionality, decision-makers are freed from the busywork of analyzing increasing volumes of incoming data from multiple sources. They’re freed from the anxieties around missing the story the data might be telling them. Instead, hospitality AI solutions help professionals to better understand the central narratives that affect the business and helps them provide a cohesive sense of where the organization needs to go to realize ambitious and game-changing goals to ensure success, present and future.

This has never been about a contest between AI technology and human experience. It’s a collaboration.

Your thoughts

What are your thoughts around AI solutions in the hospitality industry? If you have solutions in place, what benefits are you seeing? If you don’t currently utilize automation and machine learning functionality, how do you think the technology might affect your business for better or worse?

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Paprika Le Bourgeois

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    About Infor

    Infor is a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry. Providing mission-critical enterprise applications to 67,000 customers in more than 175 countries, Infor software is designed to deliver more value and less risk, with more sustainable operational advantages. We empower our 17,000 employees to leverage their deep industry expertise and use data-driven insights to create, learn and adapt quickly to solve emerging business and industry challenges. Infor is committed to providing our customers with modern tools to transform their business and accelerate their own path to innovation. To learn more, please visit www.infor.com.

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