No sector of today’s economy is more focused on customer experience than the hotel hospitality industry. It’s no wonder the hospitality industry was eager to adopt modern technologies that improve the customer experience. Whether it’s personalizing the experience or empowering self-service, artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning are transforming the customer journey.
Empowering Hotel Management Self-Services
Growing numbers of tech-savvy customers are showing a preference for hotel management self-service options when it comes to guest experience. A recent survey found that two-thirds of consumers would rather use self-service options than speak with a human. About 60% prefer to use a company’s website to find a way to resolve a problem, rather than speaking with a customer service agent.
Hotel management self-service allows users to access information and perform routine tasks without human intervention. That includes consumer activities, such as paying a bill online, booking a hotel or arranging a tour. If we think about it, there are lots of self-service activities we perform every day, because we want the convenience of doing these taksks when we have the time for them. So, how does hotel artificial intelligence help guests perform more self-service tasks?
Artificial intelligence is one of the emerging technologies in the hotel hospitality industry. It refers to the evolving ability of a device to learn from past experiences or interactions so that it can perform more complex tasks over time. That means, AI can move from simple order-taking tasks to more complex and personalized functions such as meal recommendations and wine pairings, over time. In the hotel industry, self-service tasks could let guests:
- Order meals or drinks
- Make meal reservations
- Control room temperature and lighting
- Arrange transportation
- Locate local sightseeing attractions
- Book tickets to local events
Instead of calling the front desk or standing in line to speak with a concierge, hotel guests can plan their experience from their room, the hotel bar, or the foyer. Whether the AI appears as a robot in real life, or as an app on a smartphone, that’s up to the branding guidelines of the hotel. Importantly, it will improve the customer’s self-service experience. A real-life example: Wynn Las Vegas, in partnership with Amazon, is putting Echos in every room to help guests with self-service requests such as adjusting the room temperature and lighting or ordering room service.
Before setting foot on a hotel property, guests can have a more personalized experience. Many travel sites already offer personalized services, such as making recommendations based on collected previous guest-activity in the vicinity. Every time a consumer interacts with an organization, more information becomes available to the AI, which in turn improves the personalized experience. Just like when you shop at Amazon.com and are shown what others have bought who were browsing/buying the items you are interested in.
The Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas introduced Rose, its personality-laden chatbot, in 2017. Using real-time texting, Rose arranges for amenity delivery to guest rooms, recommends one-of-a-kind cocktails and even plays games. Upon launch, Rose was able to answer 80% of the guests’ questions. Important to note: Guests spent an average of 30% more while on the property and were 33% more satisfied with their experience. What hotel would you not want a share of this?
The hotel has released a new version of Rose that integrates artificial intelligence and natural language processing into its platform. Rose has learned to understand the context and can even read sentiment to detect if a guest is upset or agitated. If Rose detects a problem, she contacts a Guest Service agent for resolution. The guest may not even realize that a resolution has been requested. If you have a minute now, why not can try out IBM’s Tone Analyser demo? Type in a typical hotel complaint and see what the AI thinks of it!
Because Rose is connected to the casino’s loyalty program and the hotel’s guest system, she has access to enterprise-wide data. Integrating data collection, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, Rose can personalize experiences, identify potential customer issues and contact guest services for resolution. She provides a seamless and personalized service, 24/7
Never-ending Customer Service
Customer service encompasses a range of activities, from answering a simple question to resolving a complex customer issue. Using technology means offering hotel guests solution to address their concerns any time they surface. Sometimes it is a mobile app that helps the guest navigate a city or just to request an extra towel. Other times it is an in-room smart speaker that can respond to commands.
No matter the technology in use, it never has a bad day. It doesn’t matter how many guests have asked the same question in the last hour. Technology will answer it without a hint of irritation. It doesn’t matter that the guest in room 412 has called five times to complain about something. Technology will address each call as if it were the first. That ensures a positive customer experience that can impact customer loyalty.
Another example of how AI is being used to extend customer service is Hilton’s Connie. Connie is an AI robot that provides customer service to guests. Connie acts like a personal concierge who is always available. Because Connie is able to learn and adapt from interactions with people, her ability to provide better customer service increases daily. Deploying a modern technology to address the routine services in this way means freeing employees up to handle more complex problems, which can also help improve the customer’s experience.
Future of Hotel Artificial Intelligence
Research published on the World Travel Market shows that the personalization of AI can increase hotel revenues by over 10% and reduce costs by more than 15%. The research estimates 73% of manual activities in the hospitality industry can be replaced with technical solutions. The underlying research at Colliers International suggests that AI, machine learning and the predictive analytics of big data will be widespread by 2025, and the hospitality sector is one of those most likely affected.
Based on the success of Cosmopolitan’s Rose and Hilton’s Connie, deploying the right technology can increase customer satisfaction. That’s the value of advanced technologies. They are able to empower self-service, improve personalization and provide never-ending customer service, all of which lead to a superior customer journey. The protel PMS system can help take your hotel through the digital transformation journey, making the most of emerging technologies just as they become mature enough for operational duties in the hotel sector.