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AI Has Been Choice Hotels’ Secret Weapon For Years, But It’s Holding Off On New GenAI For Now

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a powerful new tool for generative artificial (GenAI), is generating a lot buzz. However, some tech-driven companies are waiting to jump on the bandwagon before they are sure that any bugs or risks have been worked out.

Choice Hotels is one of these companies. It has been using AI and machine-learning in its operations since years, and it has shown that it isn’t afraid to be an early adopter.

Choice has many firsts to its name. It owns more than 7100 stores in over a dozen countries.

The company was founded in 1941 and is the nation’s oldest hotel chain. It was also the first one to offer toll-free 24-hour reservations by phone.

Choice was the first hotel to use a cloud-based booking system, and also the first company to “go all in” with Amazon Web Services.

Choice uses AI in a variety of ways across the business. From predicting booking patterns and peaks, to helping owners and developers find new locations. It also provides franchisees with AI-based tools to manage revenue and property operations.

While the company closely monitors GenAI’s tools, it has not made a decision to integrate them into its system — at least, for the time being.

Choice Hotels’ Chief Information Officer Brian Kirkland says GenAI has the power to transform consumer decisions. He acknowledged that the technology had received media attention and that people were exploring its capabilities and trying it out. Before telling FOX Business: “We’re realizing the systems are still very early” and “the tech is not yet ready.”

Kirkland cited several problems with Gen-AI, noting the fact that systems can give inaccurate answers, often have a hallucination, and pose risks to intellectual property.

“We’re cautious,” said he, “but we’re invested in listening to it, because when it solves some of these issues – when you take the power of the generative AI, and tie it to an curated data set… you can also combine it with private datasets you don’t wish to be exposed to the wider community, but want to leverage that power, you’ll have a wonderful opportunity to leapfrog.”

The CIO believes that GenAI will ultimately change the way guests plan travels, offer a variety of ways to interact with people and solve problems such as fraud analysis.

Kirkland said that Choice can do a lot with GenAI’s power “when it matures just a bit more than it is now.”

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