How AI & Automation Can Improve the Customer Experience
More hotel and restaurant chains across the country are embracing new and advanced technologies to offer their guests a better experience and to provide greater insight into their operations that will improve efficiency and reduce costs.
In the hotel industry, automating the guest booking and room allotment process has increasingly become a necessity as more and more people are staying at U.S. hotels. According to a report by Statista, the country’s hotel industry’s revenues grew from $115 billion in 2001 to nearly $200 billion in 2016. And the restaurant industry, especially the full-service chains, is also joining the digital revolution to boost sales and enrich the customer experience. With more than 620,000 restaurants nationwide, a growing number of operators are using cutting edge technologies from data-driven marketing strategies to traditional full-service restaurants offering delivery 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 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 on other 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.
Hotels and restaurants adopting automated scheduling tools are reaping the benefits of making it easier for management to get a better handle on staffing issues while making it easier for employees to closely monitor their work schedules.
Using predictive data analytics can mean greater profitability for the hospitality industry. For example, data on guests’ spending habits allows hotels to customize their marketing and services to the different types of guests booking rooms. This would enable hotel management to gain a better understanding of various categories of guests and how best to service them, creating a favorable experience for them and driving operational efficiencies that will lead to greater profitability. In addition, industry sources predict that more hotels are using analytics to get a better handle on peak, or optimal, pricing times for rooms by taking into account the weather, events and other factors.
While there have been reports that the hospitality industry wasn’t as quick to respond to adopting new technologies as other industries, that is no longer the case. The enormous impact the digital age has had on our society is now clearly evident in hotel lobbies and restaurant dining rooms nationwide. But the one constant in this ever-changing industry will be the need for innovation to help restaurant and hotels capitalize on the opportunity to gift their guests and visitors with an enjoyable and relaxing experience.