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Buzzword alert: Which topics are still relevant?

Features | 29 May 2024

Life would be dull without buzzwords and cutting-edge innovations that spark heated debates. But have the hot topics of the last few months made any real impact? And how relevant are they now? Find out for yourself!

Where would we be without buzzwords and new trends that keep us on our toes and fuel lively debates on LinkedIn? 

 

Of course, recent months have provided plenty of topics to keep us occupied - not least because they often raised important questions about the industry and its future. 

Some of these topics have quietened down, while others remain relevant, albeit not quite as expected.  

 

In this livestream, Marco and Elisha selected three recent top buzzwords and investigated what became of them.  

 

Here's the summary. 

 

Top buzzwords in the hospitality industry: Which have real substance? 

 

Of the many intriguing topics of recent months, three particularly stuck with us: 

 

  1. Open API 
  2. Blockchain 
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI) 

 

Let's take a look at what these terms mean and the role they play in the hospitality industry today (and in the future).  

 

 

 

 

Open API

 

 

 

Anyone following the hospitality technology industry and looking for new solutions has likely heard of open APIs. In recent years, providers have been advertising them more and more frequently.  

 

But what does it actually mean? 

 

Open API – a brief definition 

An open API is a standard for describing Application Programming Interfaces (API), which allow programs to communicate with each other and exchange data.  

 

Open APIs are used by providers to make these interfaces publicly accessible so that new connections can be established more quickly. One particular advantage is that the interface between two programs only needs to be created once, after which it can be used by an unlimited number of users.  

 

More flexible selection of technology 

Previously, almost all applications had a legacy system, making collaboration between multiple technology solutions and open APIs less necessary. When data needed to be transferred between systems, this was often done manually.  

 

“Nowadays, there are more specialized tools for specific applications. So data exchange and collaboration between different programs is now immensely important. Open APIs play a central role in this. Without them, it would be much more complicated and expensive to build an individual tech stack. This is why technology providers praise their Open APIs so much “, explains Elisha.  

 

Connections and their (unexpected) costs 

However, open APIs alone are not enough for data exchange to work. A connection also needs to be created between the interfaces of the respective programs. “Two programs with open APIs are like two houses with open doors. To get from one house to another you still need a pathway or a bridge. Only then are they properly connected and data can be exchanged, says Elisha.  

 

Marco adds: “Creating this link for the first time costs the provider time and money. So the question is, who should bear these costs. Some distribute them evenly across all customers using the open API, while others charge based on usage volume.”   

 

This can quickly lead to unexpected additional costs. Consider, for example, an RMS that adjusts room prices multiple time a day based on demand and sends this information via the API to the PMS and the channel manager. In this case, the API is being used very often. Depending on the pricing model, this could become expensive.  

 

Ask critical questions and create clarity 

Open APIs are not a silver bullet for data exchange, but they do represent a significant step forward.  

 

“Just because open interfaces are available doesn’t automatically mean that everything will work perfectly. The connection also needs to be flawless. Some optimization may be required before everything runs smoothly. Also, ask the provider critical questions about what is supported and what costs may arise. This way, you will know exactly what to expect “, concludes Elisha.  

 

 

 

 

Blockchain 

 

 

For a while, it was nearly impossible to avoid this topic. At one point, blockchain was celebrated in some circles as a complete solution for everything.  

 

But what exactly is blockchain? 

 

Blockchain – a brief definition 

Blockchain is a database mechanism that encrypts data, stores it in blocks on different computers and links them together in a chain. So several computers within a network each hold part of the information.  

 

Security or speed? 

This makes blockchain very secure and reliable because even if one computer fails, the rest of the data remains unaffected. Moreover, the information cannot be changed or accessed without the consent of all participating computers. This is why blockchain has become a popular solution for payment transactions and orders where security plays a crucial role. 

 

This brings us to the main disadvantage of blockchain. “Getting approval from the entire system for every change takes time. That's why blockchain is not suitable for handling dynamic price changes, for example. It’s simply too slow for that “, says Marco.  

 

Therefore, the entire hospitality industry is not expected to switch to blockchain, as originally announced by many proponents of the technology. Nevertheless, there are many interesting areas of application. 

 

“Blockchain could, for example, be an ideal solution for securely storing data such as guest information and credit card details in the long term. This could help hotels avoid data breaches in the future,” suggests Marco.  

 

 

 

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) 

 

 

AI had its big moment in 2023. ChatGPT, Midjourney and the like became accessible to the public for the first time and demonstrated what generative AI is capable of today. For many people, this was also the first time they came into contact with this technology.  

 

Generative AI – a brief definition 

Generative AI uses large language models and existing content to create new content such as text, images, videos and music. It attempts to mimic human intelligence as closely as possible and provide original responses to queries.  

 

A solution for everything – or not? 

So far, the suggestions from generative AI solutions are quite good. No wonder ChatGPT was hailed by many as a universal solution shortly after its release.  

 

It was said that in the hospitality industry, ChatGPT would soon fully automate a wide range of activities. These included the creation of website texts and various marketing materials, data analysis and suggestions for new pricing and sales strategies, conversations with guests and potential customers, and much more.  

 

However, two things quickly became clear to anyone who delved into the topic: 

 

  1. Some vendors also began marketing algorithm-based solutions as generative AI to capitalize on the hype surrounding this topic. However, algorithms work with fixed rules (e.g. if case X occurs, then action Y is triggered). They do not attempt to develop original solutions like generative AI does. Moreover, they do not automatically learn from feedback. Generative AI, on the other hand, can learn from user feedback and adapt future responses accordingly.  

“So, be vigilant when looking at new solutions. Check if it’s really generative AI or just a marketing promise,” advises Elisha.  

 

  1. ChatGPT's suggestions often leave a lot to be desired. The images and text created by AI often fail to meet the specified criteria or do not accurately reflect the style of the hotel.  

“The output from ChatGPT and the like can rarely be used as is and often needs significant revision before it is ready for use. It is therefore not yet possible to fully automate processes. However, you can save time by using ChatGPT for suggestions and ideas, which you can then adapt and implement accordingly “, suggests Elisha.  

 

Even if generative AI solutions are not currently able to do all the work for us, it is important to try them out in order to understand what they can do. This way, you can see for yourself what is currently possible and what is not, and discover what this technology might be useful for in the future. Then you can benefit from innovations and advances in this area right away, as you will already be familiar with the principle.  

 

As you can see, the trends of recent months have developed in quite different ways. Overall, one thing is clear: The initial excitement often exceeds the ultimate reality.  

 

Sure, new technology sparks an enthusiastic response, raises questions, brings new possibilities and promises simplification.  

 

But it is important not to jump on every trend, no matter how tempting it is.  

 

Instead, try out new solutions critically and question their functionality, advantages and disadvantages. This will help you to better understand the latest developments and decide whether they are actually relevant and useful for you and your business.  

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