The Future of Hospitality

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The Future of Hospitality

05/09/2017
As hotels and restaurants grapple with how to differentiate from the competition through smart innovation, a couple of technologies have made recent headlines. Here Hospitality Technology highlights two areas gaining traction and how they are shaping the hospitality industry of the future.
 
While using social media as a marketing tactic is no longer new, the latest application making an impact is to utilize the technology as a way to communicate directly with customers. From ordering food to reserving a hotel room, the industry is finding new and creative uses for this particular platform.
 
Subway announced the launch of a bot that will allow guests to order sandwiches and salads from more than 26,500 restaurants in the United States. To use the bot: Guests would launch the Messenger app, visit Messenger.com or visit Facebook.com/subway and tap 'Start Order.' The bot will ask for the user's location to find the closest Subway restaurant. Then, the user is guided through the order process. Users choose their payment method: Facebook's payment system or Masterpass, a digital payment service from Mastercard, and the order will be ready for pick up in 15 minutes or less. Read about it here.
 
Meanwhile The Venetian Las Vegas said it launched one of the hospitality industry’s first Facebook Messenger direct booking channels – and the first for an individual hotel – offering guests the opportunity to book directly and securely through social messaging. The Venetian’s direct booking channel provides guests with real-time rates for desired dates, details on resort amenities and also suggests relevant activities and offerings. The app is designed to evolve through interaction, constantly creating a more seamless guest experience over time. The Facebook messenger booking channel was developed in partnership with Let’s Rally, a Las Vegas local digital marketing agency that specializes in supporting hospitality clients with innovative product development.  The platform utilizes Microsoft Cognitive Services, which includes the LUIS natural language processing engine.  By automatically analyzing and learning the guests’ conversational patterns, the application will continually improve its vocabulary and functionally to serve the guests. Read about it here.
 
HT also found that the industry is making strides with its use of robotics: from hotel employee to marketing guru, artificial intelligence is becoming more integrated within hotels and restaurants.
 
Tokyo-based Bespoke, Inc. is launching Japan's first artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot concierge BEBOT in two historical hotels of the Aomori prefecture: Tsuta Onsen and Hotel Jogakura. The innovative chatbot works through a combination of human chat services and AI that presents information for all of Japan from its many exclusive databases. This way, tourists needing help or inspiration are never left completely to their own devices. And if BEBOT cannot answer a question, an English-speaking human is available to answer the question in real time. On top of the local recommendations, BEBOT is uniquely tailored to each of the exclusive hotels to answer frequently asked questions (FAQ) – e.g. check out time – or make simple requests to the front desk. All one needs to do is check in at one of the select hotels, and receive the token to activate the personalized concierge. Read about it here.
 
Meanwhile, SoftBank Robotics America (SBRA), the North American arm of SoftBank Robotics Group, announced the release of the first of several out-of-the box software solutions for Pepper, the humanoid robot. The suite launches with Promoter, a content management solution for marketers, which was developed in partnership with Solstice Consulting. Promoter and all products in SBRA’s new software suite will be designed with the non-technical user in mind and will let businesses customize Pepper without the need for expensive technical overhead, development or prowess. Read more about it here.