Digital Transformation in the Hotel Industry – an Opportunity?

Undoubtedly, the hotel industry has undergone a transformative development, especially in recent years. The key drivers of this development have been (and still are) new technologies. But what impact do these innovations have on hotel operations? And what opportunities, challenges and future prospects does this present for hoteliers? To answer these questions, it is worth taking a closer look at some of the key players in the digital transormation of the industry.

Online Booking Tools, Mobile Apps and Direct Bookings

The introduction of online booking platforms marked the initial stride towards digitalization in the hotel industry. Today, however, merely having a website for guests to make bookings is no longer sufficient. Target groups now anticipate intuitive apps with a user-friendly platform and a direct booking option. This enables guests to plan and manage their stay seamlessly. Moreover, it provides numerous opportunities for hotel operators: apps not only facilitate a personalized user experience but also diminish dependence on third-party providers. Consequently, this strengthens the relationship between the guest and the hotel brand.

NOVUM Hospitality is also embracing the digital customer journey: the “NOVUM App” for iOS and Android devices, launched in November 2023, complements the Group’s loyalty programme, “N-Members.” All booking processes and confirmations are automatically stored in the app. Additionally, the smartphone application allows users to book rental cars or tickets for visits to sights, museums, musicals, etc.

In terms of direct booking results and mobile apps, digital transformation provides hoteliers with the necessary tools and technologies to maximise the advantages of direct booking benefits. And there is more: through the utilization of data analyses, online marketing, and automated booking systems, hosts can enhance their independence from third-party providers.

Utilising Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

With the introduction of AI tools like ChatGPT in November 2022, the “chatbot revolution” has also made its way into the hotel industry. Numerous hotel operators leverage automated chatbots to provide their guests with personalised services. NOVUM Hospitality is no exception: an AI chatbot developed by DialogShift optimises guest communication, supports reservation departments, and facilitates individual responses to incoming guest inquiries. The chatbot is available 24/7 and can engage with several guests simultaneously on different platforms. Another advantage lies in the fact that artificial intelligence can make precise predictions about guest preferences and create customised offers by analysing large amounts of data.

Automation of Services

What might sound like a scene from a science fiction film has already become a reality in many hotels: Robot assistants are now capable of handling various aspects of guest reception. They manage check-ins, deliver luggage and can even provide catering services, resulting in a hotel stay with the “wow factor.”

In some NOVUM Hospitality hotels, digital check-in and check-out, along with automated processes in digital hosting and invoice management, are already part of the operating standard. While the hotel sector, being inherently people-centric, relies on irreplaceable human interaction, the automation of services still plays a pivotal role in streamlining processes and bolstering day-to-day operations.

Digital Transformation: Power through Changeability

Taking a closer look at the main drivers of digital transformation, it becomes clear that integrating new technologies into hotel operations presents a myriad of opportunities. These encompass more efficient administration, optimized booking processes, the implementation of targeted marketing strategies, and the creation of personalized guest experiences. However, even a topic as omnipresent as digital transformation is not without its challenges. These lie primarily in cost and resource management, the frequent lack of system integration, cybersecurity threats and the need to prepare employees for the use of new technologies.

Alongside all the new technology, the most significant change lies in the constant willingness to embrace change. It is, therefore, important to closely monitor transformative developments and consider the evolving needs of guests. For hotel operators, this means not losing sight of the big picture—and, quite literally, not losing connection.

Written by: David Etmenan


David Etmenan

Visionary | Entrepreneur | Chief Executive Officer & Owner NOVUM Hospitality

An der Alster 63, 20099 Hamburg, Germany

+49 40 600 808 264