BOTS Companion of a Modern Revenue Manager

Bots have become an important part of human life both, at the personal and professional front and their involvement is climbing new peaks with every passing day. They surround us in our daily life in the form of Artificial Intelligence, Search Engines, and Software. Part of it has also paved way for smarter and efficient revenue management for hotels fuelling the debate that whether humans should be entirely replaced with bots for this complex round the clock function. Although the practice may be at a nascent stage to draw conclusions, it has definitely made a mark in the realm of the hospitality industry and has become an indispensable part of any hotel revenue management.

Artificial Intelligence powered robots can analyse and synthesize large chunks of hotel data collected at various touch points in a fraction of seconds to present meaningful insights about the booking pattern, demand, guest behaviour which is impossible to be collected or processed by any amount of human workforce with the same efficiency as bots. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the Artificial Intelligence has sort of revolutionized the hospitality industry across the globe, enabling every business to improve on multiple fronts like hotel pricing, price optimization, revenue management, guest experience management, booking management, demand and even capacity optimization of properties.

Furthermore, these bots are also capable of analysing trends and trace upcoming events in the town to estimate the rise in demand, providing enough room for revenue managers to tweak the pricing and availability instead of fire fighting the situation at the last minute.

Leading hotels have already started betting big on AI powered bots and poised to explore newer ways to make bots a part of their business operations. One significant advantage bots have over humans is that they can work tirelessly 24X7 with the same precision. Hotel industry requires attention 24X7 and is one of the most dynamic industries with continuous fluctuations in trends, demand, and prices. That is where these robust machines have huge value to add to the revenue management realm. These invisible machines can not only quickly determine the best rates at a particular time for your property, (room rate optimization) but also advise the revenue managers on which segment to target and the kind of promotional offers to be run to maximize the revenue.

Another major area where hotels continue to hustle is direct bookings. Hotels have been continuously trying to improve booking numbers on their own website since OTA commissions are touching skies, eating up a major revenue share of hotels. Hotels would be surprised to know that even in this area, bots can improve their game and help increase the number of bookings by a decent percentage. With advanced learning capabilities and rigorous analysis of visitor’s purchasing behaviour, AI powered bots can refine the visitor experience and personalize every visitor’s journey to their needs and interests. This increases visitor engagement and reduces the cycle time of purchase leading to conversion on the hotel website itself.

This again brings us to the juncture that whether revenue managers can be gradually replaced by bots completely risking their roles and jobs in the industry altogether. The answer is obviously NO since these micro machines can only process and analyse only a set number of parameters in their decision and often neglect external market influences that may not be considered by such bots but are easily identifiable only by human revenue managers and this acumen is gained by experience.

Therefore, the ideal mix should be machine results mediated and supervised by human revenue managers. For e.g., Pricing is one area which could be automated with a reasonable amount of diligence and control of the revenue manager. Similarly, online reputation management can also be monitored with technology; however, a personalised approach will take you a long way. The key is to automate the processes that require minimum human intervention and involve human where necessary. This will help revenue managers to don more hats at the same time like exploring more avenues to maximize per guest earning and focus on other revenue increasing strategies.

Thus, witnessing the scenarios discussed above, we can conclude that the status of the bots is of a companion to revenue managers instead of a successor who will complement them at every step with razor fast information and analysis of the market and competition, enabling revenue managers to take informed decisions in no time and help them optimize revenues and drive the hotel towards new milestones of success.