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Hotel Teams Demand Virtual sidekicks

As the hospitality industry evolves, hotel staff are increasingly calling for AI tools to enhance their work and service quality.

The drive to improve service and experience in hotels has, so far, been largely driven by guests. This is particularly true with messaging, where guests are eager to communicate with hotels in the same way they communicate with friends, family and other businesses.

It is very much the case in luxury travel, where the profile of guests has changed: 81% are under 41 years old and 75% are highly educated, with a master's degree or higher and they prefer to use their smart phones to communicate with service providers.

The shift we have seen towards technology as adoption has increased and we get deeper into the sector is now coming from team members, who are increasingly educated about what is on offer and want to use it to make their jobs more fulfilling. We even are starting to hear this being brought up in interviews; after all, no one goes into the hospitality sector so that they can spend their time standing behind a screen, they come here because they want to create memorable experiences and they want something which can help them achieve that.

We recently held an education day at Les Clefs d’Or International congress in Bali, working with world-renowned concierges to help them understand not only what some of these AI-enhanced products can do, but also what they are not there to do. 

Our CEO and co-founder, Tristan Gadsby, emphasized that these are tools to help you work better, to help you achieve more than you could alone, not something which is going to replace you. They can be your sidekick; crunching data, helping you understand the guest, helping to curate their stays. And, importantly, you remain in control, this is not something which is going to act independently and damage those important relationships. 

We spent the afternoon holding practical workshops which helped to bust some of the myths around generative AI and use of digital, so that the concierges could see this was augmenting their knowledge, elevating it and helping to deliver it to the guest in a practical, useable way. 

We gave each group a fabricated hotel with a fabricated hotel directory, a selection of on-property activities, restaurants and bars, and a number of vendors. We also gave them full profiles for the guests who they were curating for, which included preferences, previous stays and historical conversations. The technology can then use this to help create itineraries and make suggestions - it can read 17 pages of chat history far faster than a human - this is then overlaid by the individual’s real-world experience and knowledge.

At the start of the session, we had asked how much people understood about AI and how prepared they felt for it in the workplace. They shifted from the majority in twos and threes and a couple of fours out of five to the majority in fours with some threes and fives. We really shifted the dial in terms of people's comfort and preparedness and understanding.

Everything we do has to be about how we get the best of what people bring into hospitality and complement it with evolving technology, evolving digital assets. None of this is about replacing people, it’s about finding ways that computers can help us get to the best level of service we can, better or quicker. It means that the concierge, the front desk agent, the receptionist, the F&B manager can deliver that quality of service which can only be delivered by a person much more efficiently. 

All this means that, alongside guest experience, you’re lifting up staff experience and helping them spend more time doing what they joined hotel to do and this is what we are hearing from team members as the words spread about what is possible. 

And for hotels looking to compete effectively when attracting the limited talent out there, why wouldn’t you want to offer the best facilities to help your team excel? After all, we all work better with a sidekick.

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