Artificial intelligence (AI) is sort of a trending phrase these days, perhaps most notably for widespread speculations that robots will ultimately replace humans in the not so very distant future. In this post, we will discuss briefly with facts on how artificial intelligence is redefining the hospitality industry.
Let’s begin by quickly defining AI. In short, Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to the robot-like performance or the exhibition of intelligent behaviours and qualities by computers or machines.
The one definition of AI we love from Wikipedia is:
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer program or machine to think and learn.”
Although the term seems shiny and new now, the concept of artificial intelligence is not a new one at all. As a matter of fact, it existed as early as the 1950s.
Hotels across the globe have realized the importance of incorporating contemporary digital technology as a means of driving continued growth and revenue.
AI is being used in the hotel industry in the following ways and in future, the scope is just going to balloon further:
This is how AI can take customer service to the next level:
- Room service can be taken care of by Robots- In 2014, start-up Savioke piloted the robotic butler for the service and hospitality industry. This is set to get more visibility in 2019 and beyond.
- California-based Residence Inn LAX also introduced a series of robots tailored for the hotel industry. Several other companies have followed the trend and 2019 will see a rise of these bots.
- Real-time order taking and in-room services based on customer presences are now within reach.
- Automated features in the room and food & beverage services customised around individual customers is now possible.
- Think of the impact AI can play in your travel plans, booking system, aviation and so on.
- Use of Chatbots is set to become an impactful hospitality technology trend in 2019 and beyond. A lot of hotels have already started using it and this is set to cover more ground in the coming years.
Let’s have a closer look at how AI-based technology is redefining the hospitality industry.
1. Chatbots – In-Person Customer Service for Hospitality Industry using AI
Case in point, an AI robot adopted by Hilton that is known as Connie can provide guests with information that they need when they interact with it.
Connie is designed to learn and adapt to human beings so the more it interacts with people; the more effective it will be in the future.
There are a lot more Robots operating in the hotel industry already.
We have a post dedicated to the Robots in the Hospitality Industry to showcase how they will rock.
They would add value to the industry supporting human interaction, especially for services during odd time and services that require lifting weight or automation.
Image Courtesy- OTRAMS
Chatbots have been extremely useful when it comes to responding to customer complaints online, as well as chat services that deal with simple customer requests.
Chatbots can engage customers at any point of the day and this kind of response time is invaluable to customers.
These would add immense value to customer support in the hotel industry which has quite a few routine queries.
And, we must keep in mind that AI is different from Machine learning. These codes can learn and adapt and upgrade themselves. Indeed, AI has the potential to redefine the hotel industry.
2. Brand Management using AI
Artificial intelligence is set to play a huge role in brand management or reputation management of hospitality organisations.
The impact of AI on the brand management of various hotel chains is already visible. AI is helping immensely to help hoteliers in managing their brands.
Few examples are reviews, utilising customer feedback for benchmarking, managing social channels and reacting to it in real-time, screening negative reviews to make it easier for the customer service and more.
And this is just a tip of the iceberg. AI can do a host of other things to help enhance visibility and manage the brand of the hospitality organisation.
3. Improved personalised services to guests
AI can help in understanding the customer better. It can also decrease human-related errors.
Customer priorities choices and likes can not only be remembered but new choices for the delight of the guest can also be anticipated by the use of artificial intelligence.
Don’t be surprised to receive your feather pillow in the hotel of the same chain thousand miles away. And if you receive neck support pillow and your favourite herbal tea pack along with it, it’s AI in action for you.
From Food and beverage choices to linen; from favourite drinks to the favourite magazine; there is a lot of data to be captured for delighting customers.
Artificial intelligence can not only help hotels capture all these data but can also help in improvising service for better customer loyalty. That too when you pay peanuts for this added support of software. That’s the power of AI in terms of revolutionalising the hospitality industry.
Image Courtesy- Sandbotrobot
4. Managing backend operations with the help of AI
The hospitality industry meets customers tangibly and intangibly through various customer touchpoints. Artificial intelligence is redefining the hospitality industry by automating a lot of these operations.
For example touchpoints for the hotel industry guest would be something like below.
- Website experience/travel agency website
- Pre-sales chat support
- Booking email/ reminder email
- Value-added services reminder
- In house services
- Check out
- After-sales Support
- Customer loyalty programmes and promotion
AI and machine learning can help in automating a lot of these tasks especially those which are not customer-facing.
Artificial intelligence is a step forward from machine learning in terms of customer support through chatbots as it uses the accumulated information from customers to improve its answers over time.
Even check-ins and checkouts are being made automated using robots and that would have been impossible without the support of AI.
A lot of hospitality innovation is backed by AI and thus it plays a crucial role in improving and redefining the hospitality industry.
5. Increased Role Played by Machine Learning
Machine learning is simply a lower version of Artificial intelligence. At least in layman’s language.
When it comes to hospitality technology for restaurants, machine learning, and Big Data will help managers curb rising operation costs, offer better customer service, and stay on top of efficiency.
According to Research Nester, most of the industries would be using more and more of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning.
While Healthcare and Life sciences lead the pack, Travel and hospitality don’t lag behind by much.
Expect Machine learning to play a huge role within the hospitality sector in the future.
Artificial intelligence is redefining the hospitality industry in multiple ways. We have mentioned a few of the revolutionary changes that have been introduced in the hospitality industry by Machine learning and AI.
Along with cloud computing, data analytics and blockchain, AI is set to ensure the customers are the biggest gainers due to the advancement of technology.
Artificial intelligence is certainly the curator of a lot of the latest technology trends in the hospitality industry. Expect more welcome changes in the future riding on the innovation due to AI.
Technology is set to supercharge the hospitality industry in the coming years with AI leading the way.