Businesses across the globe have realized how important it is to include contemporary digital technology to drive constant growth and revenue. One of such compelling technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Often thought to be a replacement for human power, the concept of AI as a technological aid is much larger, wider and pervasive. It has created greater trust, however, for the hospitality industry, it shows the promise of transforming its processes, services and facilities through AI-powered robotics. Today, the hotel industry, where comfort-defining advancements are most rapidly incorporated, has sophisticated its entire system with the adoption of many innovative methods used for providing satisfying customer service.
This article from Maruti Techlabs discusses how the hotel industry leverages Artificial Intelligence to deliver an awesome user experience.
The idea of erecting intelligent hotels
Hospitality leaders often want to offer guests an intelligent hotel that surpasses customer expectations. This concept becomes viable when adding AI-powered care, support and service. There are certain essential elements that make hotels intelligent. Some of which are:
- Concierge robots
- Digital assistance
- Voice-activated services
- Travel experience enhancers
- Automatic data processing (machine learning)
AI robots not only diminish the human involvement with its voice-activated assistants but also smarten the way hotel guest service is delivered to customer’s satisfaction. From a customer’s personal choices to their smallest of needs, AI-enabled hotel concierge bots can offer minute service and careful assistance.
Artificial intelligence entering the hotel industry
Apple’s Siri is often credited with beginning the era of voice-activated assistance. Amazon Echo and Alexa have also become popular, creating a richer, more delightful customer experience using the power of machine learning of AI software.
Ever since the artificially intelligent system has crept into the hotel industry, the hospitality sector is abuzz with AI’s ability to learn about customers using its data analytics platform that helps hotel staff create a better frame of customers. Utilizing the full potential of AI software, they can capture a gamut of information about:
- Customer Purchases
- Travel choices
- Journey patterns and itinerary
- Location preferences
- Hotel rating inquiries
- Payment methods
The knowledge gathered thus can further be translated into providing insightful experience to hotel guests as they travel, inquire, stay and enjoy the luxurious hotel amenities.
AI-powered concierge for exquisite customer service
More and more hotels have come to realize that in-depth customer service with properly harnessed customer insights are the best keys to increasing brand value. This is leading to a rise in mature-service hotels where customers are not only regaled with a hotel’s interior charm but are also equally satisfied with a real-looking AI robot concierge service.
In last few years, we have managed to feel comfortable with voice assistants on the go as well as at home, bridging the gap between machine and humans and making humans more willing to interact with robot concierges.
Take an example of Hilton Worldwide Hotel and its new AI-based concierge Connie. Connie is said to be the first ever AI-enabled robot with two-feet of height. Performing just like a human concierge, Connie can assist arriving hotel guests at front desk standing on its bipedal support.
Connie has the following attributes:
- It relies on IBM’s Watson AI for computing intelligence
- Uses travel database WayBlazer
- Gives real-time recommendations for visit-worthy sites and attractions
- Answers customer queries on the spot
- Learns from frequent customer interactions to refine its responses
- Provides excellent care and support as a robotic concierge
Exhaustive care with mobile apps
People love absolute control and flexibility and feel attracted to securing their comfort level at hotel premises. As a part of special privileges, a good number of hotels treat customers with smart controls as they arrive. A dedicated mobile app empowers customers’ stay, giving them the luxury to unlock their room, adjust room temperature, and operate curtains, order drinks and many other things using their smart mobile phone.
Here, AI-driven chatbots intervene as a vital key to customer service. Hotel guests can use hotel’s special mobile device to interact with chatbots to perform all relevant tasks including:
- Ordering meals or drinks
- Suggesting special dishes
- Controlling room temperature and lighting
- Scheduling dinners/lunch
- Managing evening reservations
- Taxi booking and itinerary planning
- Recommending interesting sightseeing and visits
- Answering critical queries
Through virtual interactions via mobile app, chatbots can bypass hotel staff and be a service representative just like a human at the other end.
Intelligent Travel companions
Travelers have evolved lately and desire a great mixture of high-grade personalization and exceptional service standards on the go. On the other hand, hotel operations often get complicated due to heavy amounts of data about visitors and hotel staff, resulting in critical challenges related to flawless customer experience. This is where intelligent travel phones can come to assist.
As soon as a guest enters their room, they can avail AI-enabled phones that offer amazing features such as:
- GPS capabilities
- Gamification and amusement
- AI-powered in-built hotel app
- Access to unlimited data and international calls
- Handy travel guide to city attractions
- Promotional offers
- Return travel booking services
- Quick access to hotel service assistants
Recently, Signature Lux Hotels in Gauteng has claimed to be the first one to furnish incredible guest experience through such digital travel companions that offer intelligent voice-activated apps.
Knowing your customer
In order to serve customers better and create a superior guests experience, it is vital to first gather a great deal of knowledge about potential customers. The better you know your customer ahead of time, the better you will be able to exceed their expectations when they arrive.
Potential customers first interact with a hotel when booking online and the hotel can benefit from using AI to ensure the transaction lives up to their expectations. For instance, it can offer:
- Fast online assistance
- Personalized options and recommendations
- Saving user preferences and page visits
- Travel bookings and safe routes
- Advanced meal/drink preferences
- Room booking and reservations
Big Data powers Artificial Intelligence and AI's information classification and management system helps hoteliers learn a great deal about a customer’s behavior. AI can then use the wealth of data to address individual needs of customers and offer custom guest service.
Amazon’s Alexa for interactive experience
By now Amazon’s AI-based software service Alexa is visible in the online store. It is a cloud-based service which software developers can custom-build unique voice-enabled experiences for customers who want an effortless and intuitive way to interact with everyday technology. Alexa has immense potential to change the future of hospitality industry with its powerful voice services.
With Alexa playing the central role in connecting hotels with guests, it becomes easy for users to make requests to hotel staff using only their voice as a major command. Via Amazon Echo, guests invest the minimal human effort to have their request delivered to respective hotel staff.
Even though AI is regarded as the emerging technology trend, the hospitality industry has already experienced incredible benefits and a wide impact on their business momentum. From the front desk where an AI-powered robotic concierge service stands to the hotel rooms where voice-activated assistants accelerate customer experience, Artificial Intelligence is seen successfully driving the hotel industry today.