December 31, 2022


Tristan Gadsby

2022 The Hotel Technology Year In Review

When we look back at 2022 I think we will see it as a golden year in hotel technology. Coming out of the pandemic and with global shortages of labour, hotels started to take technology seriously again.

When we look back at 2022 I think we will see it as a golden year in hotel technology. Coming out of the pandemic and with global shortages of labour, hotels started to take technology seriously again. 

Our most forward-thinking customers were looking for technology to help them address a number of challenges:

  • Handling staffing issues and increasing the efficiency of operational staff.
  • Delivering better customer experiences with fewer staff.
  • Leveraging data to improve customer understanding and targeting.

It was also the year that some of the much-hyped technologies and buzzwords of recent years started to make an impact on the industry, including:

  • Internet of Things and Contactless: Driven by the pandemic, many of our customers implemented a full contactless experience aided by the internet of things, including  door locks and room controls.
  • Big Data and Machine Learning: For a long time we have talked about big data in the industry but 2022 represented a turning point in our customers deriving benefits from the many silos of data that exist across a hospitality company.
  • Conversational CRM: Compared to the period before the pandemic, we are seeing guests send three times as many messages, a clear indication that conversational CRM and messaging are services that consumers appreciate and value.
  • Personalisation: The goal of many hotel marketing teams for the last number of years became increasingly a reality for our customers as they started to leverage much richer profiles and preferences.
  • Artificial Intelligence: It was another year in which artificial intelligence (AI) continued to evolve and demonstrate its positive impact on customer-facing sectors like hospitality and ecommerce.

There are also a number of other much-hyped technologies that did not have much of an impact in 2022 and time will tell whether they yield results. These include:

  • Blockchain: The promise of distributed customer records and transactions is yet to hit the mainstream.
  • Quantum Computing: Pricing calculations and queries in milliseconds and true real-time decision making is possible in the world of quantum computing but we are not there yet and probably won't be for a number of years.
  • Metaverse, Augmented and Extended Reality: Some practical applications are starting to emerge but we have not seen any wide adoption in 2022.

So, for the ones that started to deliver benefits, here are some examples:

Internet of Things and Contactless: Digital and Cashless Experience

Mollie’s, the new UK motel and diner brand conceived by Soho House, proved that a sophisticated digital-first approach is entirely achievable at lower price points too.

Guests who have downloaded the Mollie’s app are recognised as soon as they arrive at the motel and connected to the wi-fi. They can check-in with a single click and have their personal Netflix, Disney etc. accounts instantly cast to the TV.

As the supplier of Mollie’s self-service digital journey, Alliants saw first-hand the evolution of the business model throughout the stops and starts of the pandemic. We were thrilled to see the Mollie’s team recognised with the Catey 2022 Award for The Best Use of Technology. 

With clearly measurable returns on investment, Mollie’s reported a 120% increase in the brand's booking conversation rate, 33% increased average spend, as well as savings of more than five hours a week for the customer service team.

Big Data and Machine Learning: Labour and Sales Forecasting

I worked closely on the creation of 5-Out in 2022 - a new restaurant labour and sales forecasting tool powered by Machine Learning.

The product is constantly evolving, and 5-Out can now predict the number of specific menu items that will sell in a given period. Restaurateurs can see the item name, menu category, and the forecasted quantity expected to sell up to 31 days into the future.

With item-level forecasts, restaurateurs can make purchases based on what they will actually sell, resulting in less food being thrown away. They can also better plan staff rotas and stay within their labour budgets.  

5-Out has also introduced a scheduling tool. The app for employees enables them to view, manage, and trade shifts on the go. Chat and announcement features help managers streamline communication while ensuring that the entire team is on the same page.

Conversational CRM: Customer Conversations

As I mentioned earlier, we are seeing enormous growth in the volume of messaging between hotel guests and staff, as customer conversations become increasingly valuable.

We were delighted to partner with some high-profile new hotel openings during the year. Muir, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel in Halifax, Canada, opened to great acclaim for its sustainable design (the hotel is made from local granite reclaimed from the original 200-year-old sea wall and a sea water loop draws water from the harbour to heat and cool the building).

Muir’s general manager, Eugénie Jason said: “For concierge, guest itinerary, connectivity and chat we teamed up with Alliants which is actually a wonderful service for our guests. Since we created some general roles like guest experience ambassador, having systems that support that effort are really important.”

At the newly opened Bulgari Hotel in Paris, guests enjoy the signature Bulgari service model which is informal yet impeccable. Hector Vericel, director of sales and marketing, said: “Through the introduction of the Alliants AXP messaging feature, our team can provide an almost immediate response to guest requests.”

Personalisation: Personalised Service

With 13 hotels open and another 13 in the pipeline, Trevor Horwell, the CEO of Nobu Hospitality, shared the secrets of Nobu’s success with the readers of Hospitality Technology.

The Nobu app, specially designed by Alliants, facilitates a satisfying and complete guest experience. Horwell said: “The trust we have built with our customers is of the utmost importance, so being able to build an engaging conversation on a personal level is key. Personalised service is at the heart of everything we do.”

2022 was the year that Quinta do Lago, the Portuguese resort famous for its golf courses, celebrated its 50th anniversary.
CEO Sean Moriarty said: “The whole idea about a place like this is that customers feel totally relaxed, they unwind, they have fun. The only way they can feel truly relaxed is if the service is amazing.” 

A couple of ways for the service to be amazing are knowledge and speed – those are the two key elements to deliver. We’ve got a virtual concierge which is very useful. You just use it on your preferred messaging app. Our average turnaround time for that is no more than six minutes.”

The digital concierge service, provided by Alliants, allows the Quinta do Lago team to view and manage resident and guest requests within a single platform. Data on resident and guest requests and needs is leveraged to drive business strategy.

Artificial Intelligence: Chatbots and Messaging

According to Accenture,  AI has the potential to double annual economic growth rates, and boost labour productivity by up to 40% in developed countries by 2035.

AI had a direct role to play in the impressive recovery of the hotel industry,  as dynamic pricing algorithms enabled hotels to maximise their room rates, especially during the extremely busy spring and summer seasons.

Throughout the year, AI and Machine Learning continued to advance the sophistication and automation of our customer experience and conversational CRM products and services.  

At Alliants we have implemented our hotel chatbot and also work with a number of bot providers which have been gaining traction steadily during the year. Even in the luxury sector, where bots have been implemented, they are now able to respond to more than 15% of messages where the confidence level is more than 99%.

The year concluded with OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT which has gone viral with some pretty impressive use cases. I think we will look back at 2022 as the year that AI went mainstream and it will continue to gain momentum in hospitality being deployed to more and more use cases.

Outlook to 2023

At Alliants we think 2023 will be another good year for Hotel Technology as we see broader adoption of this year's trends and realisation of benefits that make further investments easier to justify. I will follow up with further thoughts on what to expect from 2023 in January. In the meantime, Happy Holidays from Alliants.