Industry trends

Leading with generative AI: From enablement to empowerment

Stephan Wiesener

Stephan Wiesener

AI applications in hotel technology

How you integrate generative AI into your hotel operations will be the most important technology decision for the next 10 to 15 years. Just like the internet redefined our world, AI is set to do the same, and possibly even more.

Identifying your north star is crucial when considering where AI can most benefit your business. CitizenM, a rapidly growing global hotel chain, is guided by a dual focus on AI-driven automation and personalisation at scale. This approach drives significant outcomes for staff and guests, hinging on their property management platform, Apaleo, to unlock AI’s full potential.

The future of property management must evolve to enable AI innovation, making it quick and easy for hoteliers to integrate constantly evolving generative AI into daily operations. Instead of merely tackling current challenges, a property management system should maximise AI's benefits, offering scalability and flexibility for new innovations to come.

The big question is how to achieve this while keeping costs down and avoiding the need for a large tech team.

Your backbone, fully accessible via APIs

Your first crucial step is ensuring your technical ecosystem is flexible enough to embrace new innovations. AI needs seamless access to your property data and business logic to make informed decisions. This is why a PMS fully accessible via APIs is at the heart of your AI journey. It ensures all your property data and capabilities are available and easy to integrate with your entire ecosystem, spanning multiple third-party hotel apps and touchpoints, including AI.

An API-driven platform with MACH architecture (Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) places APIs at the core. Unlike pre-built solutions that only address specific problems for a narrow range of users, this approach unlocks endless possibilities for your AI-driven innovation. In the next few years, this could even eliminate the need for a traditional PMS user interface, allowing property data to be accessed and managed directly through APIs via voice assistants, text messaging or future AI-driven channels, which we don’t even think of today.

Trying out ready-made AI-driven apps

You don’t have to be tech-savvy to notice how quickly businesses and newly funded start-ups are launching their AI-driven apps. According to research by Gartner, by 2026, 30% of new applications will use AI, up from less than 5% today. Similarly, the market of hotel apps is evolving at an incredibly fast pace.

One of the benefits of an open MACH ecosystem is that you can plug in the best third-party tools available whenever you want. These tools often come with free trials and 1-click connections, making it easy to integrate, test, and find the best fit for your needs.

With such open ecosystems, the onboarding or offboarding of AI tools can be completed in just a few hours. This flexibility allows you to integrate top third-party tools for various AI applications, including voice-assisted reservation management, upselling, inventory optimisation, and in-room energy usage controls.

A MACH ecosystem can provide a stable, long-term foundation to cope with the highly dynamic development of AI and AI-driven applications. From a technology perspective, using a MACH platform allows hospitality businesses to try out and roll out the latest AI tech without replacing their core systems; they only need to plug in new apps.

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