AI Adoption Surges in Short-Term Rentals as Hotels Trail Behind

AI Adoption Surges in Short-Term Rentals as Hotels Trail Behind

By Nishang Narayan

Published on May 10, 2024

The short-term rental (STR) sector is increasingly embracing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, with a recent survey by Hostaway showing a significant rise in AI usage among property managers and owners. This growth starkly contrasts with the slower AI adoption rates in the hotel industry, underscoring a pivotal technological shift within the hospitality sector.

According to the survey, which included responses from 500 property managers and owners, AI use has surged by 63% since November 2023. This rapid integration is primarily driven by the need for dynamic pricing, enhanced guest experiences, and improved marketing strategies, with 41% of managers using AI for pricing adjustments alone.

The adoption of AI tools such as ChatGPT has proven beneficial for many, offering substantial time savings equivalent to four additional workdays per year, especially for those managing more than 26 properties. However, 31% of respondents reported no significant cost reduction from AI implementation.

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Despite the operational benefits, there are notable concerns among the community. Approximately 65% of participants expressed doubts about AI’s ability to maintain genuine human interactions, and 54% were skeptical about its effectiveness in handling complex guest issues.

Nevertheless, optimism about AI’s potential remains high, with 75% of property managers and owners viewing it as a competitive advantage in the travel and tourism industry. This sentiment is particularly strong among those recognizing the need for the hotel sector to catch up in AI integration to remain competitive.

The findings highlight a crucial trend: while the STR sector rapidly adopts new technologies to enhance efficiency and guest satisfaction, the traditional hotel industry must accelerate its AI integration to not fall behind in an increasingly digital hospitality landscape.


McDreams Hotels Introduce AI-Powered Phone System "Lisa" for Enhanced Guest Service

McDreams Hotels Introduce AI-Powered Phone System "Lisa" for Enhanced Guest Service

By Nishang Narayan

Published on May 21, 2024

McDreams, a prominent hotel group in Germany, has taken a significant leap in enhancing guest services by implementing an AI-powered phone system named "Lisa." Developed by Onsei, a leader in AI software solutions, Lisa is designed to handle a variety of guest inquiries including room availability, booking details, and local area information.

This innovative system is currently managing half of all routine guest calls independently, which has resulted in halving the front desk call volume and reducing the group's overall operational workload by one-third. The implementation of Lisa has not only streamlined operations but also boosted employee satisfaction by allowing staff to focus on more complex guest needs.

The integration of Lisa with the hotel's property management system, Like Magic, has propelled a 50% increase in guests following a completely digital journey from booking to check-out. This seamless integration has proven effective in enhancing the overall guest experience.

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Ralf Bonin, McDreams Operations Director, praised the system, stating, "Lisa is not just an automated phone service; she acts like a living, breathing member of the team, capable of providing reliable communication and services to our guests."

The deployment of Lisa has also led to significant financial benefits, with a reduction in personnel expenses for administrative tasks by 80%, translating to a projected annual savings of €600,000 ($650,570).

As McDreams continues to innovate within the hospitality industry, the introduction of AI technologies like Lisa sets a new standard for guest service efficiency and effectiveness, promising a brighter, more efficient future for hotel operations.

For more information about McDreams' innovative approach to guest services, visit their website at McDreams Hotels.

This strategic move by McDreams underscores their commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance guest satisfaction and operational efficiency, setting a benchmark in the hospitality industry.


Club Mahindra Partners with Megalodon for AI-Driven Marketing Initiatives

Club Mahindra Partners with Megalodon for AI-Driven Marketing Initiatives

By Nishang Narayan

Published on May 20, 2024

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited's flagship brand, Club Mahindra, has announced a new partnership with Megalodon, an India-based marketing communications company. This collaboration is set to infuse Club Mahindra’s marketing strategies with advanced AI technology, aiming to transform how the brand interacts with its members in the digital realm.

Club Mahindra, known for its extensive array of holiday experiences across over 125 resorts worldwide, is looking to leverage AI to create personalized experiences for its members. The focus will be on developing AI-based creative assets, including both static and video content, which are intended to strengthen consumer connections and enhance the digital presence of the brand.

Rashi Agarwal, founder of Megalodon, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, "Working with Club Mahindra presents a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the transformative impact of AI in the hospitality industry. We are thrilled to apply our innovative solutions to such a prestigious brand and anticipate significant achievements from this venture."

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Sahid SK, co-founder and chief creative officer of Megalodon, highlighted the revolutionary role of AI in marketing, "AI is redefining how brands engage with their audiences. Through our collaboration, we aim to set new standards in customer interactions and satisfaction within the travel sector. Our AI-driven creatives are crafted to captivate and engage, ensuring memorable experiences for Club Mahindra’s members."

The initiative is part of Club Mahindra's broader strategy to expand its services and offerings. According to a recent report by the Press Trust of India, MHRIL plans to invest up to Rs 45 billion ($542.8 million) over the next three to four years to expand its room inventory to 10,000. This expansion will include new resorts, brownfield expansions, and strategic acquisitions, facilitated by partnerships with various state governments.

Currently, Club Mahindra serves over 281,000 members, offering them premium holiday experiences. This partnership with Megalodon is expected to enhance these offerings by tailoring interactions and content to meet the specific preferences and interests of its members.

For more information on Club Mahindra's new AI-driven initiatives and to explore their resort offerings, visit the Club Mahindra website.

This collaboration between Club Mahindra and Megalodon marks a significant step towards integrating cutting-edge technology in the hospitality industry, aiming to enrich the customer experience through personalized and innovative marketing strategies.


Choice Hotels Integrates Oracle’s AI Merchandising Technology Across Upscale Properties

Choice Hotels Integrates Oracle’s AI Merchandising Technology Across Upscale Properties

By Nishang Narayan

Published on May 17, 2024

Choice Hotels International, a leading global lodging franchisor, has announced a strategic partnership with Oracle Hospitality to implement the Oracle Nor1 AI-driven merchandising solution across its upscale hotel portfolio. This initiative will cover esteemed brands such as Radisson Blu, Radisson, Cambria, and the Ascend Collection.

Oracle Nor1 leverages advanced AI technology to provide personalized service offerings to guests, enhancing their overall experience. By integrating this system, Choice Hotels can tap into incremental revenue opportunities by targeting guests with personalized offers at various stages of their journey, from room upgrades at booking to additional services like daily breakfast or late checkout during their stay.

The implementation of the Nor1 eStandby Upgrade has already shown promising results in Radisson Americas properties, where it was initially rolled out. In 2023, more than 100 properties saw an average increase of 17% in upsell revenue over booked rates per transaction, indicating significant financial benefits, although results may vary between franchisees.

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Indy Adenaw, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Choice Hotels Upscale, highlighted the strategic fit of the Nor1 system, noting, "Nor1 not only enhances revenue opportunities for our hotels but also significantly improves guest satisfaction and loyalty by providing a more tailored experience."

Alex Alt, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Oracle Hospitality and Retail, also commented on the deployment, stating, "The AI-driven insights from Nor1 empower hotels to offer customizable experiences to guests, thereby boosting property profitability and guest satisfaction."

The full integration of the Nor1 eStandby Upgrade is designed to work seamlessly with digital marketing tools to automate offers throughout the guest's pre-arrival phase, regardless of the underlying property management system used by the franchisee or owner.

This move by Choice Hotels to incorporate cutting-edge AI technology underscores their commitment to enhancing guest experiences and operational efficiency across their upscale properties globally. As the rollout continues, it is expected to set a new standard in how hotels personalize guest interactions and capitalize on revenue opportunities.

For more information on Choice Hotels’ innovations and Oracle’s technology solutions in the hospitality industry, visit their respective websites. This partnership marks a significant advancement in the integration of AI technologies within the hotel industry, promising a future where hotel stays are more personalized and profitable.

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