In this blog, we will discuss everything about AI! This is a blog-series and will consist 3 parts to understand the topic better. This first part is all about -- how AI can improve the guest experience in the hotel. A fact to be told, more number of hotel and tourism chains across the world are embracing new and advanced technologies to offer their guests a better experience & to provide greater insight into their operations that will improve efficiency and reduce costs. In case of the hotel industry, automating the guest booking and room allotment process has increasingly become a necessity as more and more people are staying at hotels for different reasons. Check-in/out in hotels has always been a blue-situation for all the hotel managers and finally, it can be solved with AI-enabled chatbots and automation. According to a report by Statista, the world’s hotel industry’s revenues grew from $227 billion in 2001 to nearly $365 billion in 2016. And the tourism industry, especially the full-service chains, is also joining the digital revolution to boost sales and enrich the customer experience. Now, with more than 929,000 restaurants worldwide, a growing number of hotel operators are using cutting edge technologies from data-driven marketing strategies to traditional full-service hotel offering delivery amenities and services.
According to Intelenet Global Services, today’s innovative technologies, such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, mobility and other next-generation solutions, unleash revenue generation potential for hotel and restaurants. This is being accomplished, in part, by allowing them to focus more intently on giving their patrons the best ever guest experience possible which, in turn, is carefully designed to create repeat business. For example, it has become more commonplace to see automated check-in kiosks at hotels, allowing the front-desk personnel to concentrate more on other priority tasks. Hotel chains are also using mobile apps for check-in kiosks, offering guests everything from making reservations for meals to a quick scan of local concerts, plays, sporting events and other activities.
Hilton Worldwide started offering this kind of innovative technology when it introduced digital check-in and room selection to all of its properties a few years ago. The hotel chain’s digital platform allows guests to check in and select their rooms from digital floor plans, as well as giving guests the ability to customize services, ranging from providing upgrades to making special requests for items delivered to their rooms. Since, we are talking about AI; let’s start with chatbots!
In the last few years, there has been a noteworthy uprise in the processes that simplify manual tasks and the answer is AI! Artificial intelligence (AI), through features such as machine learning, has enabled hotels to grow in business. It has ever since been rapidly evolving and is already making a huge impact, with technology enabling AI to integrate into everyday life. By using AI, hotels across all industries (travel and tourism) are now able to use available data more effectively to complete the tasks. Chatbots are the most ideal stuff for customer centric-businesses and destinations. A conversational bot can serve as 24/7 front-end customer care specialist & they are capable of totally transforming visitor servicing in destinations after hours. Frequently asked questions and inquiries can be answered any time of the day or night, including when travelers are arriving at a hotel and the visitor information centre/welcome centre is closed. With chatbots, the check-in/out is a cakewalk because you don’t have to wait for the staff to solve your query and you can employ them for better human touch whenever required.
Chatbots can render hyper-personalized recommendations based on a guest’s behavior and preference by promoting relationship management and taking your hotel bookings to a whole new level and boosting your revenue. This may sound as a contradiction, but bots are really great at managing relationships with human beings. With thoughtful pre-programming and applying the latest NLP norms to build a bot, a chatbot can supplement the entire travel/stay experience in a hotel, beginning with automated pre-arrival reminders, to suggesting nearby entertainment spots and transportation facilities at destination. Do you know about the best part of employing chatbots- they stays with the guests right from the pre-booking/arrival stage to post-departure and can automate your customer service so that a hotelier can manage your time effectively and efficiently.
Artificial Intelligence in Hotels
As hotel managers prioritize not only in capturing the market share but making sure their existing customers keep coming back; a heightened level of personalization emerges as the critical factor for both hotels and guests. Via AI, machine learning have the ability to help a hotel collect data to make specific recommendations, suggest trips, or upsell & cross-sell additional services – and teach & train itself how to enhance a visitor’s experience. It does through the tracking and analyzing of data across hundreds of properties, based on geography, guest history, booking preferences, interactions on site, conversions and more. It has now become not about greater choice, but about the perfect choice specifically for that individual.
The use of machine learning allows hoteliers to automatically build up a 360-degree profile of each guest, enabling them to generate a unique journey and curate some more unique experiences. This heuristic approach to customer behavior, allows a bot to create a unique conversation between a hotel and the guest by leveraging AI at the right moment; and the sophisticated recommender engine moves the booking journey away from the one-size-fits-all model of today by making it dynamic and relevant, allowing them to find what they are looking for easier and faster - which will likely ensure a stronger emotional connection with the hotel, and increase the incentive to book directly.
The Proof of Concept can be seen in the next generation booking engines for hotels and accommodation providers which are powered by artificial intelligence. These focus on driving direct booking and guest loyalty by orchestrating better online interactions between hotels and guests. Such platforms are able to curate relevant options based on demonstrated guest behavior and optimize the journey to guide potential guests to book directly with the highest booking value possible.
How AI is improving the existing guest experience
Artificial Intelligence in hotels and the hospitality sector is changing the way booking inquiries are handled and visitors are converted into patron customers. The front-desk hotel staff which is normally liable for conducting booking-related queries could well be replaced with conversational bots (it’s not that bad!) These intelligent chatbots are programmed to create simulated conversation through natural language processing and natural language generation(voice/text) in native language, enabling controlled, concise, and efficient interactions between humans and computing machines (chatbots).
Interactions for hotel booking that are enriched with intelligent chatbots offer immense convenience to customers: 24/7 availability, hasty delivery service along with several custom options for booking room services. Built-in combination with call center agents, conversational AI in hotels will fuel digital reservation process helping hotel businesses upsell relevant services (such as spa, body care treatments, dinners and bars reservations, etc.)
Hotels need precisely crafted, strategic process automation of its internal and customer care services to reduce service cost and optimize the operational cost. Machine learning capabilities make the integration of artificial intelligence in hospitality more beneficial both for hoteliers as well as guests. For this to become practically possible, hotel marketing and sales system need to integrate chatbot software to first learn everything about the existing offers, changing customer tastes, behavioral pattern and convincing responses.
Machine learning in AI tends to observe the shifts and consistency in trends along with delivered responses of previous agent conversations before it begins to produce its own accurate responses, custom offers and hyper-personalized suggestions that complement the lifestyle and several other choices of travel planners. Thanks to widespread adoption and advent of IoT, we see almost everyone with wearable devices now, measuring their body temperature, energy level, cardiovascular and respiratory activities in minute detail in order to get customized health solutions. You can now juxtapose something very similar with the latest incipient revolutions materializing in the world of the hotel industry. With the help of IoT you can easily connect and sync these smart wearable devices with the hotel during your stay.
By establishing artificial intelligence in the hotels a hotelier can create more serious opportunities to deliver excellent guest-friendly services ranging from matching guest preferences, suggesting books or music, nearby sports club to complement customers’ taste, all the way to automatically alerting hotel staff for personalized meal choices, special privileges and complimentary services, etc. Through interconnected devices, sensors and machine learning, hotel operations system can interact perfectly with the physical world, empowering guests with a highly personalized customer experience. Hotel rooms can leverage the existing network of technologies in combination with virtual assistants to further enhance the experience to the next level.
Also, hotels could potentially use systems like Amazon Echo to create skills aimed at specific guests, depending on the information they have about them. The speaker could inform the guest of these skills when they arrive in their room, much like how a butler might inform a guest of the personal services they offer. From restaurant bookings, to suggesting cultural events, to setting room temperature and lighting, AI allows the hotel to perform actions that are informed and specific to the individual guest.
So, now you know how Artificial Intelligence is transforming the hospitality industry and assisting the hotel managers to improve guest experience. This is the 1st part of the blog and we will have release the other parts of the blog soon! Do you also wish for a better guest engagement in your hotel? It’s not too late! Schedule a demo and we will tell you more about AI-enabled chatbots and how can you utilize them to bring in more guests and redefine your customer experience and take it to a whole new level.