From Fear to Opportunity: The Strategic Shift in Hotel Automation — Photo by Catala Consulting

In the fast-paced world of the hotel industry, automation has emerged as both a lighthouse of efficiency and a source of apprehension. While the benefits of automation in streamlining operations and enhancing guest experiences are widely acknowledged, fears surrounding its implementation and impact on the workforce often hold hoteliers back. This article aims to offer a new perspective on automation, addressing common concerns and highlighting the strategic advantages it brings to the hospitality sector.

Understanding automation in the hotel industry

Automation in hotels encompasses a range of technologies designed to reduce manual tasks and improve service delivery. From digital check-in systems and AI-driven customer service chatbots to smart room controls and backend operational automation, these technologies are reshaping the guest experience and operational efficiency. The goal is not to replace human interaction, but to augment and enhance the services provided by hotel staff.

The role of AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning are at the heart of advanced automation strategies, offering data-driven insights that enable personalized guest experiences and operational optimizations. These technologies support dynamic pricing models, predictive maintenance, and personalized guest communication, thereby not only increasing revenue but also elevating guest satisfaction.

Addressing automation fears

One of the primary concerns about automation is the potential displacement of jobs. However, a shift in perspective reveals that automation allows staff to focus on more meaningful tasks that require a personal touch, enhancing job satisfaction and guest experiences. Training and upskilling employees to work alongside new technologies can lead to a more engaged and efficient workforce.

There is definitely a need to develop a new skill set for hoteliers to work collaboratively with AI and Machine Learning.

Another fear is the loss of the personal touch that defines the hospitality industry. Yet, automation provides an opportunity to deliver personalized experiences at scale, such as tailored recommendations and services, made possible by analysing guest data and preferences. And this isn't "full automation" or "no automation at all", but more about having the options and let guests choose the best approach adapted for them (such as "self checkin" or "front office human checkin").

Strategic implementation of automation

For a successful automation strategy, hoteliers should start with clear objectives, identifying areas where automation can deliver the most significant impact. It's crucial to select technologies that integrate seamlessly with existing systems and to involve staff in the process, addressing concerns and highlighting the benefits of automation.

This is all about experimentation and testing what works for you and your hotel. Continuing what works and stopping what doesn't. But the key is in continuously learning and experimenting with new approaches.

Automation in Revenue Management

Automation, especially when powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), is transforming the realm of revenue management (RM) tactics such as pricing, forecasting, reporting, and inventory restrictions. AI excels in these areas by efficiently analysing vast amounts of data, recognizing patterns, and making predictions with a level of speed and accuracy that surpasses human capability. This allows for dynamic pricing models that adjust in real-time to market demand, sophisticated forecasting that anticipates future trends, detailed reporting that offers actionable insights, and precise inventory restrictions to optimize revenue.

With AI handling these tactical aspects, the role of revenue managers is evolving. They are now shifting towards a broader focus on revenue strategy and experimentation. This shift involves leveraging the insights provided by AI to develop innovative strategies that drive revenue growth. Revenue managers can experiment with new pricing models, test different market approaches, and explore untapped revenue streams. This strategic shift not only enhances the hotel's competitive edge but also allows revenue managers to play a more pivotal role in shaping the hotel's overall business strategy.


Facing the fears of automation requires understanding its true purpose and potential in the hotel industry. By focusing on the complementary relationship between technology and human service, hoteliers can harness automation to enhance operational efficiency, improve guest experiences, and drive revenue growth. As the industry continues to evolve, embracing automation with a strategic and thoughtful approach will be key to staying competitive and meeting the changing needs of guests.


  1. What is automation? - IBM
  2. Automation - Wikipedia
  3. What is Automation? - ISA

Thibault Catala
Founder & CEO
Catala Consulting