Artificial intelligence is the hot topic of the year—and it’s disrupting each and every industry, from healthcare and marketing to finance and transportation. And now, AI is moving into the hospitality space, with new technologies changing the way that hotels are searched, booked and managed.
Considering how important human interactions are in hospitality, AI might not seem like a natural fit for this kind of environment. In practice, however, AI has the potential to upgrade every aspect of operations, and every part of the guest life cycle as a result. As AI technologies become more sophisticated, here’s a taste of what we can expect in the next year.
More Sophisticated Guest Profiles and Insights
Guest profiles give hotel staff an in-depth look at an individual guest, making it much easier to deliver an exceptional experience. The hard part is collecting data whenever and wherever possible, and then collating that data into a centralized and accessible guest profile. AI is great for this type of work because it is able to handle huge volumes of data at once. Where humans would waste time manually analyzing different data to find patterns, sophisticated algorithms can easily spot trends in booking and purchasing behaviour.
Detailed View of Overall Property Performance
The overall look and feel of a hotel property has a huge impact on a guest’s perception of that property. Unfortunately, trying to maintain every aspect of a large and complex property is an ongoing challenge no matter how many resources are available. AI is the ideal solution, because it is able to monitor performance indicators and identify anomalies with speed and sophistication. Using advanced algorithms that study both in-person and online behaviour across a near-infinite number of channels—from social media posts to TripAdvisor reviews to booking habits on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)—AI will be able to help hoteliers take both reactive and preemptive action to keep their customers happy. As highlighted by Forrester’s 2017 report on customer service trends, AI will be able to “anticipate needs by context, preferences and prior queries and will deliver proactive alerts, relevant offers or content.”
Faster, Seamless Front Desk Service
There is no replacement for a human concierge who knows a city like the back of their hand. But imagine how much more accessible, accurate and up-to-date concierge services would be if they were enhanced with AI. Digital assistants like Alexa or Siri already perform this type of role, and this technology is being adapted for hotels to connect guests with information and assistance on-demand. Rather than having to call down to the front desk, guests could communicate with AI chatbots that provide consistent, immediate answers and are programmed to contact the appropriate human employee if they cannot personally answer the guest’s needs. With flawless customer service, AI will help hotels gain loyal customers and repeat business.
Automation of Manual Tasks
We are already seeing some hotels make novel use of robots in place of bell hops or room service attendants. As these technologies become more widely available, AI will increasingly handle more manual tasks. Robots are a natural fit for everything from housekeeping to security. With some of the menial daily tasks covered by automation, human staff will be freed up to focus on going above and beyond for their guests where it matters most.
We should not expect to see hotels filled with R2D2-like robots in the short- or even long-term future. Rather, we should expect to see hotels run by service-oriented professionals who rely on smart systems to aid with every aspect of property management. It is both ironic and exciting that the more automated hotels become, the better they can serve each guest.
RoomKeyPMS is at the forefront of hospitality technology, and we are developing automated applications that are both advanced and intuitive. If you’re ready to learn more about what is already possible, contact RoomKeyPMS for a free consultation.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Olena Yakobchuk