If there’s one industry that runs on innovative customer experience, it is the Hospitality industry.
And with digital innovation disrupting nearly every sector, the role of emerging technology such as chatbots, facial recognition software, etc. cannot be denied in creating memorable experiences for travelers – be it for business or for leisure.
Looking at the statistics, there’s a greater need for integrating technology to offer a stellar customer experience. Let’s look at what the data tells us:
- Greater need for personalization: According to Deloitte’s hotel guest experience survey, “Only 65 per cent of respondents feel a hotel truly knows them.”
- Impact of personalization in building brand loyalty: The same survey concludes that “When hotels understand their guests, stay frequency increases by 13 per cent!”
Clearly, the Hospitality sector is at a juncture where emerging technologies and seamless customer experience are intricately woven into each other. In this blog post, we will look at real-life examples of the same.
Top-5 Examples of Innovative CX in the Hospitality Sector
1. Wait-and-See No More: Facial Recognition
Everyone knows that if there’s one thing that the guests hate, it is to wait in line to check-in after a hectic travel schedule. This is where the ingenious facial recognition feature can enhance the user experience:
Take a look at Marriott International’s example.
The hotel in China is using facial recognition technology to shorten check-in time from three minutes to less than one minute.
Here’s how the process works:
Guests scan their IDs, take a photo, and provide contact details on a self-help machine. The device then dispenses room key cards after proper identity and booking verification.
This ensures that the entire process is quick, efficient, and convenience-driven.
2. Robots to the Rescue
It’s no secret that extensive back-office operations of a hotel can take a toll on your staff, the budget, and the available resources.
What if you could ‘hand-over’ some of the menial, routine tasks to a robot?
This is exactly what Starwood’s Aloft Hotels did. The hotel makes excellent use of ‘Botlr,’ a robot butler, to deliver amenities and offer prompt services to guests 24×7:
In terms of the process, here’s how this intelligent bot works:
Step 1: A guest calls and asks for some amenities (think: toothbrush, towels, etc.)
Step 2: The hotel staff loads up the robot with the requested items and dials in the room number.
Step 3: Using sensors and WiFi/4G connectivity, the bot communicates with the hotel and the elevators; and navigates throughout the hotel, completing tasks as it goes around.
Bonus: The bot encourages guests to offer a rating on the robot’s touch screen or provide a “tip” in the form of a tweet with the hashtag #MeetBotlr. This promotes positive word-of-mouth on various social media platforms and allows the bot to connect with a more global audience, from a room in California!
3. Making the Customer’s Voice Heard: Voice-Controlled Rooms
“Only 62 percent of respondents say hotels hear them.” – Deloitte Survey
Nod if you’ve fought about who has to ‘get up’ to draw the hotel curtains or switch off the lights when on vacation.
The InterContinental Hotels Group offers a ‘smart’ solution to this problem: ‘Voice-enabled Rooms.’
Using AI and voice-recognition technology, the hotel uses virtual assistants that empower guests to freely-switch settings between work and leisure modes, paving the way for a more empathetic, convenient, personalized, and seamless room service experience.
4. Chatbots: Every Guest’s Personal Virtual Guide
AI concierge is all the rage now.
And for a good reason.
Take the example of The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas whose AI concierge – Rose – offers a host of useful services such as helping guests to book spa services and restaurants while offering insider information (read: secret menu items at the hotel bar, etc.) which the guests wouldn’t ordinarily find on their own:
Powered by a unique voice, complete with over 1,000 conversation threads, the bot enables guests to book experiences such as event tickets, spontaneous adventures like self-guided art tours, among other things. This is an excellent use-case of AI technology, which encourages guests to connect with the hotel on a deeper, hyper-personalized level.
Here’s what Mamie Peers, the Vice President of Digital Marketing at the Cosmopolitan, has to say about the success of the chatbot integration:
“Rose’s playful personality has wooed hotel guests who booked directly into spending more than guests who do not engage with her.”
5. Say Hello to ‘Smart Amenities’ for a Flexible CX
For every hotelier, offering a 360-degree customized and comfortable experience is the ultimate end-goal.
The CitizenM Hotel in Amsterdam comes close to achieving this dream by offering ‘smart amenities’ peppered throughout the room – the star of which is the ‘MoodPad tablet.’
This intuitive tablet allows guests to alter the temperature as well as operate the TV, window blinds, alarm, and lighting from a centralized place.
That’s not all.
A few Marriott hotels have even installed smart shower doors – a place where the guest can scribble their ideas while showering and email the image to themselves for future use:
On a Final Note…
Using human imagination and data science, hoteliers are taking personalized customer experience to the next level with every single use-case and pilot projects taking off the ground on a global scale.