Three digital dimensions transforming the hospitality industry

By Cédric Michiels, EMBA

Last updated January 04, 2018

1 min read


Over the last 17 years the international hospitality industry has assimilated and integrated itself to form part of the what we know as the digital revolution. A constantly changing landscape of creative engagement, seamless integration of highly dynamic customer journeys that have transformed the way we communicate and transact online as hoteliers.

The first dimension is digital marketing, understanding the use of the internet to sell products and services to consumers. This dimension is in constant transmutation and has lead to the development of duopolistic OTA's with major market share dominance but without major foreseeable feasible alternative of direct booking options for hoteliers. From another perspective, digital marketing has positively impacted web growth and businesses through social media and mass collaboration. The different generations and their interaction with digital marketing technology has lead to an exponential accelerated growth of digital marketing tools. This has left hoteliers and consumers with an infinite array of choices in different digital marketing services and tools while hampering the decision making process when acquiring and using these new technologies.

The second dimension is a mass collaboration related to the collaborative economy. The impact of the web has created an infinite amount of data, data that needs to be structured and shared. In other terms data that has been treated in a collective form through co-operation of people and businesses. This has lead to social software, wiki technologies, peer to peer online booking and payment platforms. Some of the most significant transformative companies in the hospitality industry have been Airbnb, Uber and bitcoin technology with positive and negative impact. A number of crowd funding and crowd sourcing initiatives have been gaining momentum and will have greater level of importance for the hospitality industry in the years to come.

The third digital dimension is big data, until now hoteliers have organically contributed to the digital revolution which is closely associated to the information age. In this new era, data is key and has become the main focus point on how businesses operate and are structured. The hotel industry has proven that current revenue managers are becoming obsolete specialists , data scientists are the new upper coming specialists for the hotel industry. Data scientists can be considered as the revenue managers of the future, they help understand how to use customer data to customize an experience from this, therefore directly influencing and optimizing revenue flows and revenue patterns. Treating and organizing this overwhelming flow of data is a monumental task that requires a high level specialization knowledge and most advanced technology to have in place. Following the organic evolution of data technology we can consider that block chain technology may disrupt travel distribution, payment gateways and customer loyalty programs in the very near future. Helping hoteliers and customers to reduce their "infobesity", optimize their revenues and reduce the negative repercussions this may have on their decision making process.