European hoteliers must face powerful American companies and Chinese companies driven by the political will of the state to become a key player in Artificial Intelligence
The Chinese hotel booking platform Tuanyanwang.com raised 10 million Yuans (1.2 million Euros) this week. A particular feature of this young company founded in 2014 is that it actively exploits the data of its 200,000 customers, - individuals and companies - via artificial intelligence. This company and many other Chinese companies have made AI control essential to their development; the question remains how will they use their knowledge in the hotel industry?
This week, the largest meeting of artificial intelligence is being held in Shanghai and it has been discovered that Chinese companies in the sector enjoy many key advantages over their foreign rivals:
- AI has a massive need for data to operate and become more effective: yet the Middle Kingdom has 800 million Internet users who have no protection at all. As a result, companies have access to much more data than those in the United States and Europe
- Chinese companies exist and have substantial public and private funding due to the political will at the top of the hyper-centralized state
While Americans have companies at the forefront of artificial intelligence (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook...), Europe has not created so many powerful companies on its soil.
With French engineers and philosophers recognized abroad - which is why Facebook, Google (soon to be Fujitsu, IBM and Samsung) have set up their research centers in Paris - Europe and its hoteliers could invent new ways to use AI. Creating a more efficient relationship between guests and hotel owners that respects each other's data could thus become a key factor in making them stand out from their competitors. Cedric Villani, MP and mathematician, said when he delivered his report on AI: "Europe must be able to compete with China and the United States while protecting its citizens by leading the way on ethical issues."
AccorHotels, the European hotel leader, is working on the subject and has deployed smart pricing software (in March 2017) to create room rates. Will AccorHotels and other EU groups be powerful enough to impose European control and vision of AI worldwide?
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