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What do you get when you combine brilliant tech minds, accomplished hoteliers, and stunning Italian scenery? Last week, we got our answer. At the historic Sociale Opera House in the center of Trento, Italy, the atmosphere crackled with the free exchange of ideas as PhD candidates, students, business entities, and stakeholders from around the globe gathered to share practical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) for the travel industry.

What? You say no one told you about such an event? 

Well, while you and I might not have been invited, some heavy hitters were. Themed as Machine Learning and Intelligent Optimization Applied to Tourism and Hospitality, the event was a full-immersion, five-day residential seminar course, aimed at providing a stimulating learning environment for all participants, and featured experts in the field of machine learning and ‘big data’ optimization, such as: 

Roberto Battiti, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the University’s LIONlab.

Dr. Ulrike Gretzel, from the University of Southern California, spoke on the science of persuasion in Persuasive Technologies for Tourism and Hospitality. 

Dr. Cindy Heo, Associate Professor of Revenue Management at Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland, tackled Hotel Revenue Management and Inventory Optimization to Maximize Profitability.

Dr. Dan Fesenmaier from the University of Florida, United States, spoke on the user experience side of things in Designing Tourism Places.

Dr. Amir Attiya, Cairo University, Egypt, lectured on time series forecasting and neural networks in Demand Forecasting and Opinion Mining to Optimize Hotel Profit and Organization. 

Bringing the academic into the secular world of business, an integral part of the event also involved business entities and stakeholders in tourism and hospitality, both public and private sectors.  

Enter, our own CEO and Co-founder, Rod Jimenez, who spoke within the Business: Vision and Strategies segment, presenting The SHR Difference, covering how the company is moving from pure distribution and evolving beyond into AI-powered revenue generation. 

Dayang Dai, SHR’s Chief Software Architect was also in attendance, as well as David Moneo, who leads AI initiatives at SHR, both mixing it up and debating the merits and possibilities of AI in hotels. 

You have heard of Wave RMS by now, right? Our first AI-driven offering? Debuted at HITEC/ROC 2019? It is part of SHR’s growing suite of unique AI-driven hospitality tech solutions. 

"I am honored to have participated in this conference,” said Jimenez. “It is exciting to see so many brilliant minds engaged around AI and machine learning as it applies to travel and hospitality. I can’t wait to see what the future holds, and how all this translates to better solutions for our clients.”

The PhD students even got in on the action. 

Picture2pngSome came for educational credits. Many of the students presented work on some portion of the travel industry including how to provide better travel recommendations, using AI to figure out the matching of task assignments to skill sets, and of course creating better revenue management via ever-tighter algorithms.  

Did I mention SHR was a key sponsor? No? Well, that’s how we roll.  

Before I go, the name of the event you’ve never heard of?

LION-APP (Machine Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN Application).  

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