Seeking Efficiency: Hoteliers Scour HITEC for AI that Streamlines Operations

Long considered laggards in adopting technology, COVID has forced hoteliers to seek out innovative software and solutions to do more with less. HITEC 2024 delivered.
Seeking Efficiency: Hoteliers Scour HITEC for AI that Streamlines Operations

Following a few down years impacted by COVID and a new, oddly timed industry conference, the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) seemed back and better than ever in 2024.  

The tradeshow floor was abuzz with meetings, booths were packed, and executives from the leading hotel owners and operators were in Charlotte to conduct business. Evening extracurriculars were abundant, seemingly bigger and more impactful than previous years. 

With over 5,900 attendees and 325 exhibitors, the show provided a comprehensive look at how technology is revolutionizing the hospitality landscape. 

Of course, Artificial Intelligence dominated discussions on the stages and on the show floor. In addition to that, discussions centered around innovative solutions to address the most pressing needs of hospitality, from operational efficiency to revenue optimization and guest satisfaction.

On the operational side of the business, both hoteliers and suppliers seemed aligned on ways to drive profitability through efficiencies. HITEC highlighted advanced tools for streamlining daily tasks, improving staff productivity, and boosting the bottom line. Attendees explored technologies that automate administrative processes, integrate financial reporting, and enhance communication.  

On the commercial side, new AI tools are poised to elevate revenue management, specifically outside of the rooms department, and finally allow hotels to implement more personalized guest experiences.  

During HITEC, Phocuswire caught up Laura Calin, senior VP at Oracle Hospitality, who said the industry is undergoing a shift in the speed of which it adopts new technology. The shift, she says, was accelerated by the pandemic and highlights the industry's move towards cloud-based solutions and open system architectures, enabling faster innovation and improved efficiency. 

Skift coverage focused on a presentation by Shane O’Flaherty, Microsoft’s global director of travel, transportation, and hospitality, who suggested hospitality borrow strategies from the gaming industry to enhance the travel customer experience. By using advanced data analytics and AI, Microsoft aims to help travel companies develop robust digital profiles for guests, enabling tailored experiences and fostering a sense of community, similar to how Xbox engages players. 

Other key highlights: 

  • A session by industry media personalities Anthony Melchiorri and Glenn Haussman explored how to break down technological silos between disparate groups of industry stakeholders and leverage technology-powered profitability.  
  • Two new industry titans were inducted into the 2024 International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame: Floor Bleeker, CTO at Accor Group and Terence Ronson, founder of Pertlink Ltd.  
  • 8 hotel tech startups competed in the Entrepreneur 20X pitch competition, and the woman-founded H2O Connected – a smart-device powered water management solution – ultimately won. 



Otelier Shines in Charlotte 

Since bringing several best-in-class solutions under one umbrella and rebranding in February, Otelier took the opportunity at HITEC to show off its replatformed suite of solutions and new look and feel. More than 20 team members attended to conduct meetings with the industry’s leading owners, operators, brands, consultants and tech partners. 

In conjunction with the show, Otelier made several key announcements: 

  • New enhancements to IntelliSight, Otelier’s business intelligence platform, were released, aimed at unlocking unparalleled insights for hoteliers. New commercial-focused dashboards give leaders in revenue management, as well as operations, finance and accounting roles, a greater depth of insights that will help them make smarter decisions quickly, improving total profitability.  
  • Otelier announced the launch of DigiPay, an Accounts Payable automation tool that allows hotel operators to eliminate time spent processing invoices and cutting checks to pay suppliers. The software automates hotel accounts payable workflows, allowing businesses to receive and store invoices digitally, route invoices for authorization, verify billing accuracy, and pay suppliers online.  
  • Otelier released an in-depth report on why Artificial Intelligence will be the next transformational shift in hospitality. The report provides a guide for hoteliers to understand and leverage Artificial Intelligence to future-proof operations and wow their guests, including a framework to begin building their strategy. 

Having FOMO? Connect with Otelier to see what you missed at HITEC.  

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