With Saudi Arabia among the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations, the country’s hospitality industry is gearing up to attract an influx of tech-savvy regional and global tourists by investing heavily in new technology, which will revolutionise the Kingdom’s hotel landscape.
From AI to IoT, to big data and robotics, Saudi Arabia’s hotel and hospitality sector is staying ahead of the curve by investing in new technology to optimise their revenue, guest-experiences and operational efficiency.
Saudi’s tourism drive to see rise in adoption of new technology in hospitality.
According to Nadeem Zaman, Chief Strategy and Transformation Advisor for the Minister of Investment in Saudi Arabia, the country’s efforts to boost tourism will see a rise in the adoption of cutting-edge technologies.
“As the industry looks to differentiate itself, the fourth industrial revolution – and in particular – AI and IoT are looking to make their impact. Expect to see enhanced guest experiences through personalised services, streamlined operations and efficient energy management solutions,” he said.
Tackling themes around digital solutions, AI, IoT and big data is the Hotel & Hospitality Expo and its three-day conference, the Hospitality Leaders’ Summit, which takes place at the Riyadh Front Exhibition & Conference Centre from the 10th – 12th September. Co-located with Index Saudi Arabia and the Lighting Design & Technology Expo, the show will connect manufacturers and suppliers in the hotel and hospitality industry with buyers in the Kingdom, all while showcasing the latest technological advancements disrupting the country’s hotel sector.
Zaman will be one of the speakers at this year’s Hospitality Leaders’ Summit, where he and industry experts will discuss how the hotel sector in the Kingdom will leverage big data, AI and IoTs to maximise revenue and energy efficiency.
AI to improve the overall guest experience.
According to Manit Narang, Vice President, India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hospitality, at ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, one of the exhibitors at this year’s Hotel & Hospitality Expo, both AI and IoT technologies represent game changers in hotels’ abilities to meet guest demands for faster, more convenient and personalised services.
“We are already seeing several industry businesses adopt solutions such as AI-based chatbots, IoT-enabled motion sensors and lights. These adoption trends are sure to continue increasing at faster paces as both technologies continue to improve and as more solutions become available,” he said.
Zaman agrees. He believes the future of the hotel and hospitality landscape in the country lies with the rapid adoption of new technological solutions, some of which can be seen in the industry today. From smart room controls, voice-activated assistance like Amazon Echo or Google Home, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to provide guests with a more immersive experience before arrival, and robotic concierge.
“Robots are expected to become more commonplace. The UK’s YOTEL Hotel is expected to open its doors in Oxagon NEOM in 2025 and will feature robotic concierge, motorised smart beds, and a plethora of other high-tech options,” he added.
Leveraging big data and IoTs to maximise revenue & energy efficiency.
Nimirta H Lulla, Vice President of Operations, Middle East and Africa at FutureLog Middle East FZ LLC, one of the exhibitors at this year’s Expo, believes that the growth of Saudi Arabia’s hospitality industry signals a massive opportunity and appetite for sustainable technological solutions.
“Since sustainability is a key trend in the hospitality industry, it’s the perfect opportunity to make eco-conscious decisions in the construction and design of new properties, with IoT playing a huge role in the management and monitoring of water and energy consumption, and smart technology instrumental in optimising in-room guest preferences for lighting and climate control,” she said.
Lulla also noted that optimisation of spend will continue to be a key driver of technology in the Kingdom, and opportunities for cost-saving will remain a key focus when evaluating investments in tech solutions.
This year’s Hospitality Leaders’ Summit will feature the industry’s foremost experts who will discuss the industry’s major trends and reveal what’s on the horizon in the Kingdom’s hotel sector. Speakers include Tom Stevens, Vice President, Operations Rotana Hotel Management Cooperation, Imran Changezi, Senior Director, Hospitality Development, Diryah Gate Company and Waleed Fawzy, General Manager, Saudi Arabia Arena.