What’s the #1 Problem With Hotel Technology Today?
What we can learn from Apple and Tesla about making technology part of the solution, not part of the problem, and why hoteliers shouldn’t settle for legacy systems
For a moment, I want you to think back over the course of your education. Throughout your college or university experience, what professors stood out to you the most as having the biggest impact on your development and comprehension of an otherwise difficult curriculum? The answer to this question will vary depending on who you ask, but I’m willing to bet that a common theme may reveal itself. The best teachers, in my experience, are not necessarily those who present as the most intelligent, at least not in a manner that seems overt, out of reach, or pretentious. Instead, the best teachers are generally those who possess the intelligence to not only grasp the complex subject matter but translate and break it down for students in a comprehensive, digestible, and actionable manner. The best teachers (and, for that matter, the best leaders) are not the individuals solely determined to prove they are the most intelligent or most qualified people in the room, but rather, the individuals confident enough in their craft and command of the subject matter to articulate it effectively. As the saying goes,
the mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, and the superior teacher demonstrates, while the great teacher inspires.
In education, work, and life, we learn that comprehension is often more important than communication. This theme continues to present itself throughout our lives in different forms, and if you ask me, the development of modern technology must take a page from this well-worn, timeless book. Much like the best professors are not necessarily on a mission to prove their intelligence to their students and colleagues, the marker of great technology is often simple. This may seem counterintuitive at first glance. After all, technology is advancing at an exponential pace, and things that are possible today with the help of digital tools were, at one time, a distant pipe dream. The technology that has changed our lives the most is, at its core, rather complex and sophisticated, but it’s not the experience of complexity it provides. The most transformational platforms circumvent incredibly complex tasks, workflows, and pain points to give the end user a simplified, streamlined experience.
Just as a teacher's success is often defined by the experience and success of their students, the success of technology is determined by the experience and success of its end user. A platform that provides a difficult, overly complex user experience is the same as a professor who is more concerned with hearing himself speak than finding ways to help his students comprehend. If the superior teacher demonstrates and the great teacher inspires, great technology should aim to empower its end user by simplifying otherwise complex (or previously impossible) processes.
Simply stated, in today’s age, technology should be developed so that any user can interact with and master it with relative ease. So why are so many key platforms failing to deliver on this core promise in the world of hospitality tech? Why has it become the industry standard for revenue management technology, in particular, to require 4-hour demos and an extensive learning curve for those staff members required to utilize it? Why are we allowing user experience and outdated interfaces to be part of the problem rather than the solution for hotels?
The Apple iPhone Effect
Let’s consider some of today's most prolific, widely used, and loved technology, the Apple iPhone and the iPad. These tools deliver a high-tech user experience in a way that is easy to understand and navigate; so easy, in fact, that most children can pick up an iPhone or an iPad and figure out how to use it without the need for any manual or instructions. This is how technology, especially hospitality technology, should be. Within our industry, where teams are already stretched thin and staff members have countless touchpoints to champion each day, no one wants to read manuals, sit for lengthy demos, or adhere to weeks of training to adopt a new product. More often than not, hotel teams lack the time and headspace for that so why are revenue management platforms still built this way? How can revenue management brands expect hospitality brands to loosen their grip on legacy technology in favor of modern solutions if those solutions don’t promise to simplify all levels of business without a painful transitory period?
Revenue management platforms shouldn’t require a manual for users to become proficient. In many ways, the best revenue management tech should aim to operate similarly to a self-driving Tesla or the newly buzzed-about ChatGPT. Both examples were developed as a tool to aid humans and make their jobs and lives easier while minimizing manual errors. With the help of a truly intuitive and user-friendly RMS, hospitality professionals should be able to quickly toggle between modes, including manual, co-pilot, auto-pilot, and fully autonomous (equivalent to FSD). Just as Tesla’s self-driving feature allows users to leverage auto-pilot modes to improve their experience in the driver seat, making them better drivers, a hotel’s RMS should empower revenue managers to make better decisions incubated from human error. The LoqgIQ RMS was developed with precisely this philosophy in mind; our platform is powered by AI and exists not to replace the human user but to aid and enhance the efforts of hospitality professionals in a manner that is turnkey, seamless, and scalable. The platform exists to do the heavy lifting so revenue managers don’t have to.
At LodgIQ, our vision of the future is a simplified one: start with one RMS, used by one revenue manager for one hotel, and the power of our platform will pave the way to one revenue manager overseeing ten hotels. This is made possible by the strength and simplicity of the platform; LodgIQ RM was designed to operate in a turn-key fashion, using data science and machine learning principles to enhance accuracy in forecasting and room pricing. Suppose great revenue management usually takes a village. In that case, our platform can become that village, and hotels can better allocate talent across their team to focus on high-value decision-making. Unfortunately, many other technology vendors in this space continue taking a very traditional approach. They must focus on modern tools and embrace disruptive, transformative innovations such as data science and AI.
The Future of Revenue Management is Here
Data accuracy is a revenue manager’s bread and butter; it cannot and should not be undervalued. Choosing a system with powerful AI forecasting capability like LodgIQ RM helps you more effectively yield and prevent dilution during periods of high demand. It also prevents overpricing and guides you in developing targeted promotions during low demand. You can more effectively evaluate the accuracy and have the tools necessary to optimize profitability.
Now, more than ever, hotel companies look to simplify at all levels of business in the face of labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, inflation, and economic uncertainty. LodgIQ RM is like having a genius data-crunching assistant that makes a revenue manager's job easier. With the benefit of AI, the platform identifies complex patterns in data to deliver profitable pricing decisions daily. The time savings from manual tasks are endless. Revenue managers are freed up to tackle the higher-value, decision-making aspects of the job. That win-win scenario keeps humans in the driver’s seat and complements a revenue manager's talents.
LodgIQ™ provides advanced travel industry revenue optimization technologies. Its breakthrough next-generation revenue optimization platforms, LodgIQ RM were developed by seasoned revenue management executives and Silicon Valley technologists. Currently working with over 550 hotels LodgIQ’s products combine sophisticated machine learning with an intuitive and powerful user interface delivering advanced recommendations and actionable analytics. LodgIQ is headquartered in Silicon Valley, with offices in New York City, Phoenix, and Bangalore.
Puzzle Partner (for LodgIQ)
Ivana Johnston, Co Founder